How to develop a strategy for a race and set goals.

When approaching a race it is important to have goals and to set a strategy. You must make your goals challenging but attainable. I encourage runners to set levels for their goals.

Level 1

A goal that is well within your reach. If you have run 1:45 for half marathon an appropriate level 1 goal would be sub 1:42.

Level 2

A goal if training is going very well and you are having great workouts and long runs. For the same 1:45 individual a good Level 2 goal would be sub 1:40.

Level 3

A goal that seems a very challenging. If all things are going great and you are having an incredible training cycle. For the 1:45 half marathon runner a great Level 3 goal would be sub 1:35.

Why Goals Are Important:

If you start a program with these three levels you have plenty to work for. After you have achieved any of these levels after a big race, you should re-evaluate and always set new goals. It is always important to dream big. Far too often people subscribe to the belief that; “I couldn’t do that” and then it becomes a reality.

“Do or do not there is no try” -Yoda

“Whether you can or can’t, you’re right” -Henry Ford

There can be many different kinds of goals. You must always keep resetting your goals. Never settle. Far to often people go about their life without a sense of purpose. If you don’t have a purpose how can you succeed? With running you must have a purpose. Every step has a purpose. You have to ask yourself why? Why am I doing this? What do I hope to accomplish?

It is easy to be fired up at the start of a training season.. But every part of the training plan is important. The recovery run is making you better and stronger. It is easy to be fired up for the workout but it is all the little things too. Consistency is key to success as a distance runner.

Race Day Strategy 

When making a strategy for a race it is important take your goals into consideration. It is very tempting to take off fast when the gun is fired. This will come back to haunt you in the second half of the race.

When starting out at the beginning of the race aim for your Level 1 goal. If you have run 1:45 (8:00) pace start out with a 7:50 pace or slightly slower. If you are feeling great at the half way mark you can attempt to pick up the pace. It is always better to negative split a race than to go out too fast.

In training, I like to have my runners do a series of progression runs and pace work at the goal pace. It is key to find that race day pace and learn to feel ‘easy’ at the goal pace.  It is also important to train your body to run faster than the goal pace. A good coach will be able to develop a training plan keeping these factors in mind. Having a plan that incorporates these factors into training is key to success.

Remember to have fun and enjoy the process.

Written by:

Coach Ben Jacobs

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