Friday Five – What I Learned from RnRDC

Since crossing the finish line of Rock ‘n’ Roll DC earlier this month, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection as to what worked for me last training cycle and last race and what did not.  Obviously, things did not go as I had hoped on race day even though I had overall had a successful training cycle.  After doing a lot of reflection, I’m taking away from the experience a number of lessons that will help me as I train for and run future races.

1.  Plan for the unexpected.

It doesn’t matter how much you plan, unexpected things will always come up.  During my ten weeks of training for DC, both little man and I were sick at various times.  My mommy duties had to take precedent over training on a number of days, especially on days when I received the call from daycare that little man was sick and needed to be picked up.  My grandfather also became ill and very unexpectedly passed away at the end of January.

2.  Flexibility is one of the keys to success.

Piggybacking off of planning for the unexpected, you also have to be flexible and be willing to shift things around as needed.  Depending on what else is on my calendar, I usually plan to complete my weekday training runs on Mondays/Wednesdays or Tuesdays/Thursdays, and my long runs on Saturdays.  I can’t always 100% follow my training calendar, especially when my mommy duties call, and that’s okay.

My little running partner is worth any and all changes that I have to make to my training

3.  Sometimes you won’t complete every planned run, or all of the miles that you had planned on running.

My last double digit training run for RnRDC is a prime example of this.  I had planned to run 14 miles two weeks prior to race day.  However, between recovering from having been sick, as well as running on a hilly route and battling high winds, my body was screaming for me to stop.  So after running 12 miles, I had to call it quits.

4.  I am stronger than I think I am.

There were a number of times last training cycle that I completely surprised myself with my pace.  On days that I felt great, I pushed myself as fast as I could, and proved to myself that I can run faster than I think I can.

5.  You can’t control the weather.

This has been the hardest pill to swallow since my last half marathon.  Everything can go just “right” up until race day, and then the weather gods decide to present you with completely unfavorable weather conditions.  Running a half marathon with a wind chill in the teens, coupled with strong winds, on a hilly course, is far from ideal.  The weather conditions definitely got the best of me two weeks ago and made it difficult for me to reach my race goals.

Trying to warm up post race

QOTD: What lessons did you learn from training for and running your last race?

I’m linking up for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup.  Many thanks to the wonderful ladies at Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for hosting!

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40 Responses to Friday Five – What I Learned from RnRDC

  1. kookyrunner says:

    I think it’s awesome when you can look back at a training cycle and come away with a bunch of insights. The weather is the one thing that drives me nuts because it can’t be controlled!

  2. Most of these lessons apply to motherhood as well!

  3. It was SOOOOO cold – we deserve points for just showing up! 😀

  4. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says:

    You have some great takeaways from your race experience. Life always seems to throw us some surprises either while training or on race day. At RNR DC I definitely learned that I need to get my fueling strategy back on point. I’ve also learned that I underestimate myself sometimes and look forward to seeing how much more I can push myself to be faster and stronger.

  5. Ana says:

    I just went back and read your race recap. You did amazing!! Great job!! it was a little cold, but you still rocked it!

    You are right, there is many things that one can’t control during a race, or on training for a race. and you did the best thing, you kept going along with training and still did the race! Congratulations on that!

  6. Lesley says:

    I think flexibility is key. Life throws crap at us, and we need to adjust. If I can’t get a long run in when I want, I need to back off, let my body recover, and try again. I know I get so focused on a routine, but I need to adjust when I have to.

  7. You should still be so proud of your time and what you have accomplished. Even at the time you finished, you’ve improved so much from many of your previous races and of course not every race is going to be faster than the last.

  8. MB Jackson says:

    The weather is a hard one for sure! All your training runs can be 50 degrees and here the race temp may be 75 with 95% humidity- it is tough! But we are stronger than we realize- that keeps us moving!

  9. The weather has gotten me quite a few times, but that medal isn’t just for the race, it’s for all the training you did! The important thing is that you did it!

  10. SuzLyfe says:

    Great lessons and take aways. and I second what Nicole said–take great price in your training! You are doing amazing!

  11. I have learned all of these lessons, numerous times (and they always take me by surprise LOL).

  12. Marcia says:

    Any way you slice it, bad weather is a deal breaker and there’s not a thing you can do about it besides roll with it.

  13. angela@marathonsandmotivation.com says:

    It sounds like you took away a lot from this race! That is one thing I always think after I have a bad run is it makes me appreciate the good ones 🙂

  14. I find that every race I run teaches me something new. And no matter what I plan for, something new comes up!

  15. Rachel says:

    You did an amazing job at RNR DC. You should be proud. Having said that, you definitely can’t control the weather and a little flexibility does go a long way. You’ll crush your next race.

  16. Nice reflection on training-I think it’s really important. Training for any race is hard because life happens and because there are things like weather that can’t be controlled on race day. Being flexible and working hard is all you can do!

    http://www.breathedeeplyandsmile.com

  17. Coco says:

    Great “lessons”. Running teaches us so much.

  18. Juliana says:

    Sadly I’m the queen of bad weather (7 marathons and I have 1 freezing one, 2 with finish temps over 90, 2 with finish temps in the 80s, 1 humid one and one part of my first Dopey) and I’ve learned to embrace it. I can control what I can (getting my runs in when I can!) but if I get sick or the weather sucks,’I just try the best I can

  19. My worst race experience ever was the Tunnels to Tower run in NYC where it rained the entire morning. Cold, wet and miserable …shivering for hours before the race even began, I was exhausted by the time we even lined up at the starting line. Thankfully it was only a 5k (but one of those big ones that has like 20k participants). I’ve often wondered what I would do if it rained like that for a half marathon I was scheduled to run. It’s like you said, you just have to roll with it and do the best you can.

    Flexibility …the key to all aspects of life!

  20. MCM Mama says:

    I’ve learned that I do better slightly undertrained. Sometimes hitting all my runs results in an exhausted, over trained me.

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