I love running but generally do not race much. I am not very competitive, and not very fast either !, so racing never appealed to me. What I do like is the atmosphere, the people, the sense of camaraderie so I usually do 3 or so a year, with colleagues or my brother in law.
Well as I have signed up for a big race, Paris Marathon 2016, I figured racing more regularly would be a good idea. Not only will it add variety in my running / training schedule, but I think it will build experience.
So far, here is what my race schedule looks like (so far) for the next few months :
- May 30 : La Marollaise 10K, recap
- June 7 : Vincennes Castle race 10K
- June 21 : Paris 12th arrondissement race (12 arrondissement but it takes place in the Bois de Vincennes) 10K
- July /August : vacation months in France so very few races. Trying to find one near where I will be vacationing.
- Sept. 13 : La Parisienne 6,7 km. A race I do every year with colleagues.
- Oct 11 : Nogent 10km
- End Oct/ beginning of Nov : half marathon, there are several to choose from
I will schedule another half marathon probably at the start of 2015.
I am hoping racing will help me in several ways :
Manage the weather : I have mentioned in the past, I hate to run in the rain and have even backed out of a race or 2 if it was pouring. However, if I sign up for the Paris Marathon, I am not going to back out, so I figured having some experience in wind, rain, humidity… will help me build character.
Sitting in the car drinking coffee at a rainy race last year :
Learn to fuel : most of my race distances are 7 to 10 K, one 20K and one half marathon. It is quite easy to fuel for 7 to 10K but for longer distances I have not tried anything more than dried fruit or a protein bar here and there. If I am going to run 42 km, I think I need to learn how to feed my body for that distance, so signing up for races will allow me to experiment. Gu, here I come !
Manage the crowds / people. The marathon is really crowded and not all of the races I run are. Some have had 30 000 people and some have had 200. I think learning to run with so many people can only be beneficial.
Learn how to dress appropriately. As I don’t know what the weather will be, I do not know what I will be wearing, so I figure I can use races to experiment with different materials, socks, gloves, etc. whether it be raining, below zero or hot. I am always so scared of being cold that I usually overdress.
Learn to pace: I always start out really slow. Too slow ? Not sure but I know I need to work on this.
What was the most important thing you have learned when racing ? Any advice ?