Thursday, May 5, 2011

R.A.C.E.


Whether you are a seasoned runner, an occasional jogger, or still in a comtemplative place...you might feel like you are stuck in a rut- it happens to everyone! So what can you do when you find yourself in this state of ambivalence? 

R.A.C.E 

Recognition- Like anything in life, the first step in moving forward is recognizing where you are moving forward from.  Specific to runnning, what is your current status? Is Sedentary the best way to describe your recent level of physical activity?  Do you have a nagging injury?  Can you go out and run 10 miles any day of the week, but are feeling disenchanted?  No matter what you do, you just aren't getting any faster?  Most of us fit in one or between any of these descriptions, but it doesn't mean we have to stay there!  Choosing a race to do is one of the best ways to motivate and get yourself in gear; speaking like a true procrastinator, there's nothing like a deadline to make you get your work done.

Action-  How can I get out of this rut?  What can I do to switch things up? Alleviate a bothersome knee?  Train for speed?  Here are a couple of tips:

~Make it social.  Whether you recruit a friend, or join a local running club; accountability,  collectivity, and comraderie are just a few of the benefits of running with others.

~Ask your doctor or physical therapist about that bothersome injury.  You can usually get a PT evaluation without a referral, but will need a physician's referral in order to initiate treatment if necessary.  

~Consult with a coach or personal trainer to discuss your race goals, and to develop the best (and safest) way to improve your race-day performance.
  
Condition- There is no way around this one...!  Once you decide to sign up for a race, there is work to be done.  If you are starting from a sedentary state, start gradually and be sure to pick an event that will give you ample time to bring your mileage up safely.  If you are already a runner/competitor and looking to set a new PR, then you will have to integrate high intensity (at or above race pace) run workouts into your training program.  Simply put, train for your goal and remember not to go out and do too much too fast.

Execute- Alas, you made the decision to complete an endurance race, you stuck to your training plan, and now race day is upon you.  Regardless of the distance, enjoy every minute of the event!  Chat with the strangers next to you at the start line (you never know when you might meet a new training partner), smile when you pass your friends and/or family, and be sure to pass along a couple of "you're doing great!" cheers when you see someone who looks like they need it.  Most importantly, follow your race plan and don't try to switch things up last minute.  If you happen to fall short of your goal, don't stress about it; in a big city like Chicago there is sure to be another race coming up soon!

Here are a few early season races I have put on my calendar to help keep me on track for my big race at the end of the summer:

Y-me? 5k- May 8, 2011, Chicago, IL
Bolder Boulder 10k- May 30, 2011, Boulder, CO
Elkhart Triathlon (olympic)- June 11, 2011, Elkhart Lake, WI

Happy Racing!
-S.H.M.