Running Made Simple: Racing and Speedwork

A third short cluster of tips on how to keep your running a refuge from life's complexity... and maybe even run better in the process


Posted: 18 May 2005
by Mark Remy

Racing

You've trained for months, so don't blow it: race smart
"The strategy that applies to almost any race is to run with your head for the first two-thirds of the race and with your heart for the final third," says coach Jack Daniels. Running with your head means not going out too fast; running with your heart means seeing what you have left towards the end."

Make a list - and check it twice
Even if you're not normally a list-maker, having a pre-race checklist is a tangible, foolproof way to reassure yourself before a big event.

Write up the list a week or so in advance, before the serious jitters kick in (consider it a note from your calm self to your nervous self). List every item you need to take to the race, the things you need to do the night before and on the morning of the event, and so on. Then check off each one before you leave for the race.

Speedwork

Use an '800' number
Yes, even a task as daunting as marathon training can't be simplified by doing Yasso 800s (a regime developed by RW US race and event promotion director Bart Yasso) This 800m speed session is based on your goal marathon time. If you're aiming for a three-hour marathon, run your 800m reps in three minutes. If you're aiming for four hours, run them in four minutes, and so on. Start with four to six reps, and work up to 10 by about two weeks before your goal marathon.

Listen to your body
How much recovery time should you give yourself between reps in a speed session? Ask three coaches and they'll give you three different answers. A simpler alternative is to follow this advice from physiologist Jack Daniels: rest until you feel ready to run again.

Ditch the watch
Sports watches are invaluable during a race or speed session, but on easy runs they can become just another stressful distraction. Leave yours at home on your next easy run (and the one after that...).

The full series: Training, Nutrition, Racing and Speedwork, Gear, Gym
Plus: Ten Things You Don't Have To Worry About


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RW's 60-Second Guides: Marathon Running
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After Your Marathon: Ready For Anything!

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