10 Top Tips For Race Success In 2017
Get to the start line of your running race by avoiding these common hurdles! Ever wondered why so many people sign up to running races, yet not all of them end up standing on the start line? Avoid these common mistakes and be one of the success stories!
Imagine the scene: you sat down with your clean, new 2017 calendar. Looked online for the races and running events which excite you in the year ahead. Put the date in your diary, sent off your entry and paid the fee. What could possibly go wrong? Well, plenty actually. But none of it will happen to you with Running4Women’s list of potential pitfalls to avoid!
1. Be Realistic
Challenges are great, but they need to be realistic. Make a running goal too big, and not only could it overwhelm you but the rigours of training for it could leave you exhausted or even injured. So make your 2017 race goals realistic for your fitness levels and capabilities. And make sure you leave ample time to train, so you don’t end up rushing a training plan and cutting corners.
2. But Challenge Yourself
To follow on from point number one, do make sure your running race goals challenge you on some level. Make a mental checklist of areas you’d like to work on, then ensure every race you do ticks at least one box. Extend your race distance? Work on race pace? Challenge for a Personal Best? Race on new terrain, or perhaps in a new part of the world? Whatever your personal goals are, make sure each race you do moves you towards at least one of them.
3. Get Support
One of the main reasons female runners fail to make it to the start line of a race is lack of support. It can be so difficult to push through a training programme and stick to your goals if you lack support at home or – worse still – if those around you are actually trying to dissuade you or sabotage your efforts. So, before you sign up to a race, make sure you have all the support you need. Are your nearest and dearest, your partner and kids, work colleagues, best pals all on board? Then you’re good to go. You don’t need their permission, but you will need their encouragement.
4. Be Accountable
Once you’ve signed up to your race, make yourself accountable to friends, family, online buddies or Facebook groups and forums. Accountability is a powerful tool which will help keep you going through the toughest training programme.
5. Buddy Up
Find a training partner or even an online buddy who’s running the same race, and you can motivate each other. Running forums are a great place to start, or try the Facebook pages of the running event or race promoter. Keep each other on track, support each other, and even partner up for those challenging sessions like long runs, hill reps and sprints.
6. Stay Injury Free
It’s an obvious point, and easy for us to say, but do your best to stay injury free throughout training. This means a sensible training plan, no last minute panics, plenty of rest, and listening to your body.
7. Periodise Your Training
A good training routine will not just help you build the fitness and speed you need to tackle your race, but will help you avoid injury too. If you’re part of a running club, ask one of the coaches for help. Or ask online for experienced advice from runners and coaches. A good training plan shouldn’t overwhelm you but shouldn’t leave you under-trained, either. It should take into account your real-life circumstances and be adaptive enough to get you to the start line whatever life throws at you.
8. Stay Motivated
What motivates you? It could be connecting with others in a running club environment, using online and social media, blogging, using visual motivation like mood boards, or setting up a countdown on your phone. Use whatever motivational techniques work best for you to keep you connected to your goal throughout training.
9. Don’t Rush Or Panic
With the right training routine, you should peak just in time to stand at the start line of your race fresh, fit and ready to go. Make sure you have enough time built in for all the long runs and other key sessions you need. Take into account rest and recovery periods. And don’t rush, panic or try to catch up if you miss a significant part of your training plan. Either consider backing off and taking part to get round, or choosing another race a few weeks later.
10. Last Minute Details Matter
Finally, don’t forget those last minute details which can make or break your final few days. Nutrition, hydration, planning, logistics, travel plans, race kit, sleep, managing your stress levels… they’re all just as important as the weeks of training you’ve done to get to this point. Pay attention to the little details now, and you’ll stand on that start line confident that everything has gone to plan!