The Purpose of a Race

 

On Sunday I ran a half marathon in Dallas in place of my twelve-mile training run for the week.  I’m in the taper (backing off the mileage) phase of my marathon training plan, so this was a “short” run in comparison to past weeks.

 
As tempting as it could have been to try to set a new PR (personal record), I had a different purpose for this race.  
 
My purpose, other than receiving a shiny new medal with the added benefit of having traffic stop for me, was to pace myself for the marathon I’m running in less than two weeks.  This pace is about 45 seconds per mile slower than what I averaged in January when I ran my best half marathon.  I love to see how much faster I have become, so it was different for me to run this way.  Oh, and have I mentioned how much I love to compete against myself?  That could be an entire post on its own.  Even up to the start of the race, a friend and I were discussing our intended pace.  I briefly considered going faster than planned, but I knew that I had not fueled properly in the days prior, and my legs were still pretty tired from gardening the past week.  
 
I decided to stick to the purpose of running my marathon race pace, and I did okay until the last few miles.  Then I steadily increased the speed to the finish.  It was not an easy run by any means (at what point does 13.1 miles become easy), but I’m hoping this plan will increase my confidence for the marathon I’m running April 29th.
 
I also found a few unexpected positives along the way.  I spent more time enjoying the scenery, the smells of spring, and appreciating the spectators and volunteers.  I crossed the finish and was pleased with the result.  
 
When you plan a race, do you have a purpose beforehand – even if it’s just to have a good time?  It’s a good idea to know why you’re going to run.  You’ll know what you’re running for, and it will build your confidence when you achieve that purpose.   
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One thought on “The Purpose of a Race

  1. It takes so. much. self control to “train” a race. I’ve only done it once, in an 8-mile relay portion of a half marathon the weekend before a full marathon. It was so frustrating to join thousands of runners seeking a fast time, knowing I had to forcibly dial it down and take it easy. Well done in that regard — I’m not sure I’d have the necessary discipline to keep such a level head during an entire half marathon …

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