Thursday, August 26, 2010

Test Race Strategy With a Tune Up Race

This weekend I'm running the Annapolis 10 Mile as a tune up race for the Philly Rock N Roll Half next month.

A10evalvation
The elevation profile scares me a little

I've never really worked tune up races into my training before, but this race fell at just the right time (plus I really wanted to run a race during my birthday weekend) so I thought it'd be a good chance for me to test out my race strategy.

Per a great Pftiz article:

"A tune-up race is simply a race of lesser importance that you use to help prepare for your goal race. Tune-up races serve three purposes, they: 1) make you experience the nervous preparation for racing which helps reduce your anxiety before your goal race; 2) toughen you mentally and physically by taking you to your limit; and 3) provide feedback on your current fitness level."

I'd add a fourth thing. Tune up races also let you test out your plan for your goal race.

What you should test:
  • Your pre-race fuel. Figure out how it will sit in your stomach and if it fuels you long enough.
  • Your race day outfit to make sure it doesn't cause chafing.
  • Your fuel strategy during the race. How often do you need to hydrate and take more fuel and figure out what works. Water or Gatorade? Gu or Sharkies?
  • Your goal pace to see how it feels.

My plan for the race:
  • PBnJ has always been a pretty good pre-race breakfast. So I plan to stick with the tried and true for this weekend.
  • I'll be racing in an outfit I've been training in for weeks. You might recognize it:

BlogHer 5K

  • Take one Gu during the race, but carry another as back up and carry Gatorade to sip when necessary.
  • Walk the first minute of each mile and then focus on running hard the rest of the mile. I'm willing to switch that plan as necessary to accommodate water stops since I usually have to walk through them. So this will be a bit of a play it by ear type thing.

This is my first time every being so strategic going in to a race, but I really want to test my plan for Philly. I have my sights set on a half marathon PR and I'm going to use Annapolis to make sure I'm on the right path.

Do you use tune up races to get ready for a goal race?

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