So this Saturday is my longest race so far: The Soldier Field 10 Miler. Race week has been a little rough because I haven’t gotten in many maintenance runs before race day. I was out of town Monday and Tuesday and didn’t get a chance to do my easy Monday run (I was stuck in a travel nightmare instead), but luckily I got 3.6 miles in yesterday. Hopefully my 16-week training is what will pay off on Saturday.
My SmartCoach training plan says I’m supposed to finish the race in one hour and 25 minutes (about an 8:30ish pace). Ha–I don’t know about that, but here are my own race goals for this weekend:
- Finish the race (in about 1 hour and 30 minutes). Since I’ve never done a race this long, my ultimate goal is just to finish it. I’ve done a couple 10 mile training runs so I know this is possible. I ran those training runs in about 1 hr. 40 min. (10 min. miles) so ideally I’d like to race it slightly faster than that by running about 9 minute miles. I’m not sure how I’ll feel that day so we’ll see how this goes (plus I don’t have a Garmin that will tell me my pace so I’m just going to have to gauge it myself).
- Listen to my body. Ever since I got myself a good pair of running shoes, I’ve been able to stay injury-free. I’d like to keep it that way. During the race, I’m going to be aware of what my body’s telling me. Hopefully I don’t actually get injured after all my hard training, but in terms of staying hydrated during the race too.
- Keep a positive attitude. They say running a race is 90% mental. Training was the time where it was more physical, pushing my body farther and showing it that it could do what I set out to do. I know I can do the 10 miles without stopping, so now I just have to keep myself going with the finish line in mind (and who wouldn’t want to finish on the 50 yard line at Soldier Field?). I like to break the race up in my mind (I did this in training too). I tell myself at 5 miles that I can do this…I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. At 6 miles, I remind myself of how I used to run 6 miles a day every few days last summer. At 8 miles, I tell myself that there are only 2 miles left. Then at 9 miles…well, how hard is it to run one more mile? It’s funny how sometimes I can be so tired after just running 3 miles but then I can keep myself going at a nice steady pace for 9 miles another day because I planned on running that far. Wherever you planned for the finish line to be, that’s where your brain tells your body it is. So it helps to play little mental games with yourself while you run.
- Have fun! Years ago I never would’ve thought I’d have fun while running. Yes, it’s hard. I sweat. I get tired. I want to quit. But there’s nothing like crossing that finish line and knowing I accomplished something and achieved another goal. Plus there’s nothing like running by the lake (which you don’t get to do in the suburbs much) and taking in all the sights and sounds of Chicago with it.
And as I wear that finisher’s medal proudly at the end of the race, grateful for my mom, dad, and Gerald who are getting up super early on Saturday to support me (and walk the Hut Hut Hike along with our pug), I can also remind myself that by 9:30 AM on Saturday I would’ve run 10 miles. That’s more than we can say for most people in the city.
Do you have any other good race tips or goals to share?