Learning From a Bad Race

This past weekend, I ran the Four Courts Four Miler with Mike’s coworker Colleen, and while I had a great time getting to know her and the race was very well organized, my performance was disappointing given how much I’ve been training (I ran it in 39:15, a 9:49 pace – much slower than my 10K pace).

No one runs a perfect race every time, and I don’t think there’s any point in dwelling on a bad experience – there’s always another race, and holding onto your misgivings about a previous race can ruin or slow you down in the next one.  Running is a hobby for me and I want to enjoy the races I pay and sign up for, right? So I’m going to go over what I can do better next time, and forget the rest :)

Here’s what I learned:

Eat more before the race. All I ate on race morning was a mini-bagel with almond butter before I left home.  This would have been plenty for a normal 4 mile run, but the race didn’t start till 2 hours later, at which point I was pretty hungry. Next time: pack a granola bar or something to eat while waiting to run.

0314150709

Dress better for the weather. I knew I was in trouble when we stepped outside a few minutes before race start, and I realized I should have brought my rain jacket. My teeth were chattering in minutes, so I ran inside to grab the thick, waterproof jacket I had left at bag check (much too warm, but would at least keep me dry). As a result, I missed the race start (thanks for waiting for me, Colleen!) and felt mentally unprepared when we started running. Next time: pay more attention to the weather, and bring whatever clothes I think I’ll need (can always leave whatever I don’t use at the bag drop).

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Run outside more. I’ve been running inside for the majority of my training the last couple of weeks to avoid the weather, but there’s a big difference between treadmill surface and road! My legs and feet could feel the difference immediately as we started running. I’m going to transition back to running outdoors as much as possible, which shouldn’t be so hard with weather getting nicer.

Adjust expectations for race conditions. While wearing the right clothes would have helped, I just don’t like running in the rain, especially after my feet get wet (which they did within the first mile). It’s okay to change your race expectations/ goals if you realize the conditions are less than ideal! Run the best race you can for that day, and know that there will always be another race.

The race itself was well organized (as are all Pacers events), with a fun atmosphere – there was even a bag-piper at the after-party! 0314151020 As for the perks, Colleen and I enjoyed our free beers at the Four Courts after the race:
1378And they gave out a great tech tee! I love race t-shirts :)
0314151110 My original plan was to run a half marathon this weekend, but I think I need a little more time to train (and forget the last race), so I’m going to train hard the next two weeks and run a short race in two weeks instead.  I’m hoping to gain back my racing confidence and go on to run a half marathon PR in April.

What’s one thing you’ve learned from a bad race?

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4 thoughts on “Learning From a Bad Race

    1. Dawn H.

      Oh, I’m intrigued! Sigh, I’m just not a fan of running in the rain, but it sounds like the socks would make it a bit more bearable. Thanks for the tip!

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