I learned so much at the Road Runners Club of America coaching certification and made tons of notes. I’ve been sharing things periodically in posts, but this idea of “Goal Pace versus Race Day Pace” keeps popping in my head so I wanted to interrupt my regularly scheduled programming to chat about it.
Unless you are Kara Goucher or Ryan Hall you should probably set your race goals based on YOU. 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, marathons… what you can do at those distances is based on your body, goals, effort, priorities, time, etc.
It doesn’t matter that your best friend can run a 4 hour marathon – you should do YOU.
Okay. Now that we have that settled – you can set a race goal.
Your goal should take into account your body, training, previous race times.
Ha! I put in my PR and the calculator said it was unrealistic. Thanks for being honest!
Walk it off, Monican, walk it off.
You can use a tool like the ones above to give you an idea of your goals or potential, but the computer doesn’t know you like YOU know you. Keep that in mind when goal setting.
Now. You have your goal! That is awesome.
First let’s address Personal Record (or personal best) Goals – PR goals are often based on all the stars aligning, perfect weather, feeling great, no stomach issues, no sunblock in your eyes, 16 weeks of pain-free training, open course where you don’t have to play ‘dodge runner’ for the first 3 miles…
If you are not ready to hit your ‘Ultimate Goal’ time it’s a good idea to set a “Race Day Goal”. This is a goal that is based on a specific race. It’s a goal that you will be happy with until “Ultimate Goal” time arrives.
Since I am running so many races these next two months I know I need to set race day goals instead of BIG goals. I know this because I know myself and I realize:
I do best at races where I’ve felt ‘under-trained’ (this probably means that I wasn’t too tired).
I need a good amount of recovery time to bounce back.
Travel takes a lot out of me and the time change is going to be hard on my body.
Psychologically, setting an unrealistic goal is going to hurt my self esteem and it will be hard to continue to the next race with that mindset.
I don’t know how I’m going to feel on race day until about mile 7 of any race. Seriously. At my half marathon PR race I just kept checking in with myself after each mile. I thought I was going too fast so I slowed down smidge. Then, at mile 8 I was still feeling great so I said, “All right chica, you think you have it today? Hang the hell on!” And I kept going.
I have to be flexible with my race goals. I have to keep checking in with myself as the race goes on and tweak it based on how I’m feeling. I never know which Monican is going to show up to the race until I’m there.
So, it is a good idea for me to set ‘race day’ goals that will be different for each race. I’m starting to think about this and will be setting goals based on these factors…
Setting Race Day Goals – Keep in Mind:
- Course – is it hilly, flat, lots of turns, filled with Zombies…
- Weather – Perfect race weather is 55 degrees. Add or subtract 20 degrees and allow for it to be 10% harder for your body.
- Your training – how did this training session go? Are you showing up to the race 110%?
- Other – what else is going on with you / the race that could factor in to your goal?
My up coming races are about me experiencing a new race and new locations. I haven’t been training specifically to rock a certain one of them. Mostly, I’m excited to share my thoughts on these very popular races with you. I want to capture a lot of pictures / video at a few of them too – so I am keeping that in mind for my times. I don’t plan on winning any of them, so what’s the rush?
Before you get to your race make sure to think out your goals. If you are unsure set an “A” goal, “B” goal and “C” goal. This way you finish feeling good either way!
Example: Marisol is running a marathon this weekend. Here are her goals:
A. PR with a 3:59:59 marathon.
B. Focus on good form and finish the last 4 miles strong. Cross the finish feeling good.
C. Don’t barf on my shoes at mile 24.
See? All respectable goals. And ones I can relate to…
Question: What are your goals for this weekend?
Running or not – set a goal!