Yes... a race can be an enjoyable experience!
With Billie Gordon – intraining Runners School Member
“I never thought one could feel so good after a strong race, normally I’m totally wiped out.”
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed the recent Brisbane Half Marathon. It was my fourth!
Apart from a few nasty hills, we had perfect conditions, a crisp morning with blue skies and not a breath of wind. I treated this run as training for GC mara (my first one!) and wanted to trial nutrition, gear, pace and test my niggles. My pace was conservative and still managed a PB by 50 seconds, from a flatter course nearly 2 years ago.
On Friday night, as I was pulling together my race plan, I took the pressure off the finishing time. I decided that my focus was on giving everything I had learned in intraining Marathon School a proper go including nutrition, pace planning (and sticking to it), hydration and mental strategies. I carb-loaded well on Saturday all day, deliberately avoiding heavy protein (similar to carb-loading plans I followed before my long runs), and had hydrolyte and plenty of water and herbal teas during the day. My dinner of choice that evening was homemade gluten-free pizza.
Because my pace was conservative, I didn’t worry about it the night before, so I slept really well. In fact, I slept much better than I ever have before an event.
In the morning I was so excited about the race. I went through all of my usual running activation exercises that take about 10-15 min. Then I had a light breakfast and more water and was ready to go. My superstar husband dropped my friend and I in the city, and we walked over to the intraining tent, where we met all the other excited runners. I had a gel about 15 min before the race, took one last pic with my dear friend and lined up.
The race began.
We all started meandering through the city, first km a bit faster than my planned pace, second a bit slower (it was hard to get a GPS read in the city), but from there I pretty much stuck to the planned pace. I was mentally prepared for the 3 big hills (Ivory Tunnel – Story Bridge, Kangaroo Point cliffs – top of Story Bridge and Bowen Terrace). The second one really wasn’t as bad as I thought and probably could have run it a bit faster but continued sticking to my planned pace. The last hill took me by surprise, as we were exiting Howard Smith Wharves and getting into the city, that was around 20km, really didn’t need that hill! I remember hearing some people cheering us all on, someone might have called out my name, and there was no way I was going to walk it now when I didn’t walk the other big hills. While I slowed down a bit for that hill, from there on I ran like hell, finished strong and felt good at the end.
I never hit the wall during the race, and never felt a single niggle. This was one awesome training race! I never thought one could feel so good after a strong race. Normally I’m totally wiped out.
I’ve finally become a lot more confident
I’ve been running for a decade, read multiple books, articles, done a number of training programs. I run for my mental health and that became obvious last year when I got injured and couldn’t run for a number of weeks last year. At that point I told myself that no pace and no race was worth having an injury that puts me out of running. That mantra has guided me since.
I’ve learned much more about running over the past 3 months in the intraining Marathon School than I ever imagined I would. I’ve finally become a lot more confident with my pacing, I’m trusting my judgment, slowing down and taking care of my niggles when they come up. Seeing that I could control my pace in a race has given me extra confidence to tackle the GC marathon, for the first time.
At some point later this season, all going well, I think I’ll give a half marathon distance another go, with a slightly more ambitious pace, but will look for a flatter course.
intraining Runners School member
Trains with intraining’s Wilston Running Group
Way to go, Billie!!!
Love your big tips to:
- Do a pre-race prep
- Plan your nutrition
- Follow your race plan
- Believe in yoursel!!