Not blogging of course doesn’t mean that I haven’t been running or racing. In fact I already have three races under my belt this year and more lined up.
It is having done these three races that has made me reflect on what type of runner I am in this 3rd season of my running career. In my first season everything was new and I had nothing to compare with so there was no pressure on me to perform. I was just setting my benchmarks.
However, last year (my second season) I got it into my head that I needed to improve on every race and time. I ended up placing very high expectations on myself and being hugely disappointed when they didn’t come off. My first race of the year was an 18km stretch in a team marathon event and it was excellent but after that all my races did not meet my expectations at all.
I was setting myself goals based on race distances and not the course, therefore, not taking into consideration a hilly course v a flat course etc. I was also setting off at a pace much faster than I could maintain and ending up finishing slowly.
It took me until November to realize that this approach was not working. To distract myself I wore my heart-rate monitor for the next half-marathon race I was taking part it. My thinking was to calm myself down for the first half of the race by having to stick to a certain heart-rate. This resulted in my being slower and therefore less tired after the first half and being able to finish stronger. I was even able to start overtaking other runners on the second half of the race which I had never been able to do before and which is an addictive feeling!
The other amazing thing was that I managed to finish this race 6 minutes faster than my last half marathon race. Since then I have run every race with my heart-rate monitor to ensure that I don’t go out too strong and blow the race by half-way.
This year I am focusing on setting myself more realistic goals eg, run the best you can on the day. If this results in a good time then all the better but if not then I move on to the next race and hope, but not expect, better.
This has also resulted in my becoming a much happier race runner. Who’d have thought!