Tag Archives: race day

Racing 101: Get Marathon Day Ready

Running a marathon is tough.  Racing one is even harder.  Whichever path you chose to cover 26.2+ miles you need to be prepared for the long journey.  Getting marathon day ready is more than simply logging those training workouts.  Making sure you’re prepared for race day is an important part of any well rounded training plan.  Here are four things every Team ECRP knows before they toe the line at their marathon.marathon day

Test Nutrition.  Everyone has to have something to eat or drink while on the marathon course.  While most of us won’t get designated bottles we can still control what goes into our bodies.  Find out what they’ll have on course for hydration and fuel then practice with it.  It might work for you and it might not but marathon day is not when you what to find that out.

Train in Bad Weather.  Not only does training when the weather’s crummy, not dangerous, make you a bad ass, it prepares you for the unknown you’ll face on race day.  It’s tough to get out there when it’s cold or raining but it’s also very important.  Determine what conditions you could face on marathon day and train in them.  Run in the cold, rain and snow and your finish time will thank you.

Wear Your Gear.  We all have favorite pieces of gear.  That pair of lucky underwear or special pair of bright race day shoes is a must for marathon day.  Those pieces are likely well broken in but that doesn’t mean our socks, hats and sports bras are.  Never wear anything new on race day especially holds true when you’re covering 26+ miles so make sure whatever you’re going to put on has been worn on at least one or two long runs during training.

Plan for Logistics.  Marathon day can be a nightmare even if the start is right outside your front door.  There’s traffic, stressed out runners, confused spectators and that guy with a dog on too long a leash.  Know where you’ll park, where the start and finish are and where you’ll meet your support afterwards.  Having a plan will eliminate race morning stress and help you perform the best you can out on the course.

Use these tips to create a plan that works for you and you’ll ace any marathon day test you face.

Coach Meredith

Taper Week Tips for Your Next PR

Taper week, or weeks, can be challenging.  You’ll feel stir crazy without your normal work load.  Your legs will feel weak, maybe even jelly like.  You’ll be exercising and eating less to maintain your ideal race weight.  The taper crazies are a marathon staple and while they’re almost taper weekunavoidable, you can use these tips from Team ECRP to keep them at bay the best you can.

Get intense.  Running fast is fun.  Speed work should always be a part of your training plan and the week before your goal race is time to ramp it up.  You’ll decrease your overall training load but more workouts will include serious speed and intensity.  That means more fun.

Stay calm.  It sounds silly but staying relaxed during the days leading up to your race is very important.  You want to keep sleep quality high, stress low and your diet the same.  Develop a flexible plan for race day that accounts for potential weather, parking and clothing mishaps.  The more prepared you are the less likely you are to let something get in the way of your performance.

Trust the plan.  You’ve put in the work.  By the time taper week comes around any workout you do won’t give you major gains anyway.  While that increased intensity will help get your nervous system in order, it can take up to six weeks for other workouts to have measurable benefits.  Believe in the work you’ve done.

Find an alternative.  With all the extra taper week non-workout time you’ll have, grab that book you’ve been looking at longingly for the last 10-15 weeks.  Binge watch that show you’ve been hearing about (we might recommend Game of Thrones).

The two most important things during taper week, however, are to keep focused on your goal and trust your training.

Coach Meredith

4 Favorite 5k Race Week Workouts

Race week is stressful.  What’s the weather doing?  How early do I need to get to the start?  Is there parking?  It’s even worse if you’re traveling.  Will my flight be on time?  Does the hotel have an airport shuttle?  Is parking free?  Luckily having a solid week leading up race day can help race week workoutsease some of the race day stress.  These are some of Team ECRP‘s go to race week workouts to ensure a stress-free morning and successful race day.

Best done two or three days before race day, these short repeats focus on form and quality.  Race week is for sharpening up your body for hard work, not for making gains.  Throwing short bursts of speed into your otherwise lower mileage week maintains your fitness without additional stress.

400M Repeats – After a full 2 mile warm up complete 4 x 400M repeats at 2k pace with 2 minutes of very easy jogging or fast walking in between.  Running this workout faster than 5k pace will make your race day pace feel like a breeze.

Short Sprints – This is one of our favorite race week workouts because we still get to cover some miles.  Performed at faster than race pace to keep those strides long and powerful, these 30 second efforts are tons of fun.  Run your normal full 2 mile warm up then complete 8-10 repeats of 30 seconds at mile race pace with 5 minutes of easy jogging.

Alternating 200s – This workout alternates 200M of work with 200M of very easy jogging.  Complete a full warm up of at least 2 miles before starting 8-10 repetitions of 200M at 5k pace and 200M at recovery pace.

Easy Run – No matter what workout you choose to do, you’ll need an off or rest day before your race.  A shakeout run the morning before you toe the line is a staple for most runners.  It allows you run easy while getting muscles moving and blood flowing without depleting any glycogen stores or extra energy.

Mix and match these race week workouts for each 5k you’re tackling or find one you like and stick with it or mix it up each time.  Either way, make sure you have fun and remember to save it for race day.

Coach Meredith


When It’s OK To Quit a Workout

We’ve all had bad workouts.  We’ve all wanted to walk away before finishing workouts.  A lot of times, however, our competitive and training focused natures won’t let us.  Luckily, there are definitely times when we should quit a workout.  And there are times we should push through.  These are some basic guidelines from Team ECRP you can use when things aren’t going you way to decide what to do.

You’re hurt.  Even if it’s only a twinge, calling it quits on a workout isn’t the end of the world.  It’s much better to be cautious then run yourself into a serious injury.  Listening to your body quit a workoutcan be hard but it’s something you have to do.  If something feels funky or your gait is off, walk away and figure out what’s wrong before you come back.

It’s dangerous.  Did it start down pouring a few minutes into your trail run?  Is there a pop-up thunderstorm just overhead?  Is the sun going down in a strange neighborhood?  Are the heat and humidity oppressive?  Any of these can be a solid reason to quit a workout.  Finding a treadmill or waiting until later is always a better answer than injury.

You don’t need it.  Maybe you’re bumping up your mileage this week or taking a recovery run instead of a swim.  It’s OK to quit a workout when it isn’t a super important one.  If you can easily sub another type of session to get the stimulus you were looking for on that day, go for it.

It’s hard.  That’s how we get faster and stronger.  If we never pushed ourselves to perform a a higher level, we’d never get any better.  Finishing a challenging workout is its own reward, and helps us hit that next PR, if we can do so safely and injury free.

You’re tired.  There are lots of things that can cause us to lose sleep.  Working out can help relieve stress and release endorphins that improve mood.  Staying awake for 24 straight hours just to get a workout in is definitely not the answer but even a quick jog can shake off the cobwebs and put a smile on your face.  It’s also good practice for race day.  You never know who might be partying in the hotel room next door.

The weather’s bad.  Bad weather and dangerous weather are different.  If you quit a workout because it’s cold or raining, how does that help you?  Conditions on race day are mostly unpredictable.  To prepare for the unknown, train in every environment you can.  Learn how to handle wind, rain, snow, heat and humidity.

Use these guidelines to loosely determine if you should quit a workout while you’re ahead or power through like the champ you want to be.

Coach Meredith

4 Reasons to Race (Medals Not Included)

Of course we all want that race day bling.  But there are lots of other good reasons to race that make it great whether race medals are hanging at the finish or not.  Here are four good reasons Team ECRP likes to show up at the start line when there isn’t something shiny.race medals

Give back.  There are two ways you can give back to the running community through a race.  You can volunteer before or during the event or run it for charity.  Heck, you could even do both.  There wouldn’t be any races if it weren’t for volunteers.  They provide everything from packet pick-up to water stops and handing out those precious race medals.  If no one volunteered, paid help would sky rocket the costs for both participants and race directors, making it so expensive most of us couldn’t afford to race.

Another great way to give back is to run for charity.  Usually you’re able to make a donation at the end of your paid registration but at lots of events your registration, and maybe some other goodies, are comped if you raise a certain amount of funds for a designated charity.

Test yourself.  Even if you aren’t running for a PR, racing is a valuable training tool.  The excitement and atmosphere of race day push you beyond your normal workouts.  It’s a good way to check in on how your training is going and if you’re getting more fit.

Make friends.  Runners come from all over to run all kinds of events.  Thousands of them are trying to run a race in each of the 50 states (and collect those race medals).  Races are a wonderful place to make local or far away friends.  From finding yourself paired up next to someone running the same pace to standing in post race party beer lines there’s always someone new to chat with.  Because, of course, runners love to talk about running.

Change your scenery.  Roads close for races and if you ever want the chance to run down the Las Vegas strip without getting run over, you’ll need to sign up for this race.  With roads shut down or usually private property opened up for racers, participating in an event can give you special access.  Some of the views and scenery are definitely worth the price of entry alone.

Coach Meredith

How to Run Your Best Race

We all want every one to be our best race.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen for most of us.  Bad races happen.  Sometimes we’re running a training race just for fun and other times our day goes completely off course leading to results we’re not happy with.  No matter which one your event is, here are some of Team ECRP‘s favorite ways to make any one your best race yet.best race

Practice.  Replicate every part of race day you can before hand.  Get up and eat like you’ll have to that morning.  Test out different nutrition strategies for during the race on your long training runs.  Then practice messing it all up.  Run in any kind of weather you can while making sure none of those winter layers chafe.  Race day is unpredictable and the more prepared you are for the unknowns the closer you’ll be to having your best race yet.

Focus on you.  You’re trying to run your best race.  Not another runner’s.  Don’t worry about how fast the people around you go out or what they’re going to do later on.  You’re only in control of your own performance.  Pushing too hard early will cost a lot towards the end.  Stick to the plan you made during training and the rest will fall into place.

Have fun.  Getting tense or stressed out in the middle of a race is a sure fire way to perform poorly.  We run because it’s fun.  Let’s keep it that way.  Stay loose, smile at the water stop volunteers and say ‘thank you’ to the course marshals.  It’ll keep you happy, positive and well on your way to a wonderful finish.

Use these tips and you’ll be a few steps closer to having your best race day yet.

Coach Meredith

3 Comeback Tips for a Bad Race

Having a bad race is pretty much the worst.  Yes, there are horrible things going on in the world but the moment you cross that finish line after a less than desired performance can get emotional.  With fall race season rapidly approaching it’s important to remember that bad races happen and don’t mean the end of your running career.  Look how gracious Meb was after a bad racenot-so-wonderful Olympic experience!  We’re not all that talented but we work hard for those PRs and it hurts to miss a goal.  Here are 3 ways to bounce back after a challenging race:

Vent:  Be angry.  Be sad.  Be mad.  Feel all of the feelings.  Let it all out so you can move forward.  It might take one beer or four days but failing to move on will impede your next training cycle by lowering your confidence and sucking up your motivation.

Your pre-race ritual:  While you can’t go back and change anything that happened during the race, you can change what happens before.  Did you eat right the nights before?  Were you sleeping enough?  Was your taper adequate?  Did your travel plans give you time to adjust to the altitude and time difference or recover from flying?  Each of these factors can change your body’s ability to perform at its best.

The Weather:  There’s only so much anyone can do about weather.  Which is a whole lot of nothing.  High winds, freezing temperatures, loads of humidity and heat waves can all have a major impact on your performance.  Sometimes a bad race isn’t all your fault and remember, everyone else out there had to deal with it, too.

Your goal:  Was your goal really reasonable?  Aiming to shave 30 minutes off a marathon over one season is noble but probably not attainable.

Your training:  How did your training go?  Did it include enough speed work?  How about a long enough base phase?  Did you train for the terrain you would be racing on?  Take a good hard look at your journal while examining what workouts were good and which ones weren’t.  Most importantly, make sure you weren’t overtraining or pushing through an injury.

Move on:  At the end of the day, OK, it was a bad race.  Was it the worst race ever in the whole world?  Probably not.  Look at all the things you learned!  Focus on positive parts of the event, make sure you’re emotionally ready then sign up for another.

Coach Meredith