Race Your Way There + Weekend Review!

I hope you had a great weekend!  Here are a few pictures from our weekend!

We went to church on Sunday.

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We spent hours on the trampoline because it was 50 degrees.

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We had snack plates and stayed in our jammies for a big chunk of Saturday.

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We read books.

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My mom had a bday party for me and my dad complete with lasagna, french bread and salad.  Andrew made this gorgeous dessert full of angel food cake, homemade whipped cream and strawberries.

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Celebrating our bdays together since the very beginning!

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And here is what last weekend looked like!

Monday: 10.1 miles @ 8:42 average

Tuesday: 8 miles @ 8:08 average

Wednesday: 11 miles @ 7:07 average with a workout in there.  1 mile @ 5:51 (downhill), 2 miles @ 6:41 average (uphill) and 3 miles @ 6:23 average (some up, some down, some flat)

.5 mile recoveries after each interval

Thursday: 8 miles @ 8:11 average

Friday:  10 miles @ 8:31 average

Saturday:  9.2 miles @ 7:47 average.  I planned on going longer but decided 9.2 was just the right amount.

Sunday:  Off!

56.3 miles for the week!

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Now this might not be the answer for everyone out there so I’m just sharing from my own personal experience but I really do think this trick helped me to get faster last year (and have a lot more fun along the way).

One of the many things we did (I talk about all of them in this post) last year was RACE to our PRs.

In previous years of marathon training I usually did one half-marathon in my training block leading up to the marathon but last year I did seven races leading up to my marathon (the 1st race was in May leading up to my October marathon).

I went into training with Runner’s Corner a little naive to what was up ahead ha (ie the time my coach had us run 13.1 miles after racing 13.1 miles… didn’t see that coming) and I really had no idea we would be racing as much as we did but it was a blast.  Here are my reasons why I think all of the racing took us to a marathon PR:

*Races are the perfect dress rehearsal for our GOAL race.  When we do smaller/shorter races we really get to learn about what we like to wear/eat/do during a race and what we do NOT like to wear/eat/do during a race.  These races leading up to our goal race helps us to learn about how our body does with fueling during a race, what pieces of clothing/shoes make us feel fast and perform our best and how to pace to avoid flying and dying.  Experimenting in shorter races with no music helped me to learn that I actually prefer not using music when racing the marathon.

*For me personally, the shorter races make me more grateful for the longer races, ha.  So when I’m feeling terrible towards the end of a marathon, I can remind myself of all of the shorter distances I raced during training that felt way worse because 5k pace is 100385 times harder for me than marathon pace.

*The shorter races during training teach our body to have different gears.  Sometimes during marathon training my body really falls into two gears—> marathon pace and easy pace.  Sure there are some shorter interval workouts thrown in over the months of training but racing those 5ks, 10ks and 1/2 marathons are very beneficial for me on marathon race day because I learn to have different gears and that comes in handy big time during a goal race. I think having those faster gears from the shorter races helped us to switch over during the last 10k of the marathon to squeak in under 2:50.  And this can come in handy for whatever your goal race distance is so if the 5k is your goal race then maybe try a 1 mile race etc.

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*They are just really fun.  I love the racing atmosphere.  Everyone around you is just as crazy about running as you are and the air is full of adrenaline.  People are excited around me which gives me more energy and excitement.  Races build my enthusiasm for my bigger goals up ahead and it’s impossible to leave a race without being inspired by the other people there.

*Emilee and I didn’t race once in between St. George and CIM (because races pretty much stop in Utah during that time) and we always talked about how much we missed them.  They made training fly by and so much more fun for St. George training!

*You do not have to race an entire race!  The below picture was from the Indy Mini 1/2 that I ran with Tina!  We had a blast the first 9 miles as we gave high-fives, talked, kissed the bricks and enjoyed the atmosphere and then we made the last 4 miles a workout.  For where I was with my fitness at that point, I pushed myself WAY harder than I would have if I was just doing the same workout on my own or even if I was just with Tina.  The race scene is motivating and pulls you to new levels.  It sure takes a normal workout to the next level in terms of my speed and my the amount of fun that I have.

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*To go along with the above bullet point—> If my coach was to give me the workout of a 10k time trial I can pretty much guarantee that if I did the 10k time trial on my own or with a friend that I would be able to do it a minute or so faster if I did the 10k time trial in an actual race.  Having people to chase after helps me to go to the next level!

*How nice is it to not have to come up with a route, get handed water and have people cheer you on during your training leading up to a race.  After all of the miles on your own or on the dark streets, those races leading up to my goal races sure hype me up and break up the monotony that can sometimes happen during marathon training!

OH and having food handed to you right when you finish, that is just heavenly.

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*The bad races along the way teach us to bounce back.  The more races I do, the odds of having a bad race go up which means I get more used to them, less irritated by them and don’t get as down about them!  For every bad race I get to just think about the previous great ones that I have had which helps it to slide off my back easier.

*You get to meet friends!  Think about those local races… you are probably running next to people throughout the race that live near to you and are about the same speed as you= you can make friends with them and then boom—> TRAINING PARTNERS.

*The first race of the season last year = ALL of the butterflies and I didn’t sleep well the night before.  Those final races of the season = zero nerves but definitely still some adrenaline.   It was so nice to show up the morning of the St. George Marathon with excitement and not an upset stomach from being nervous.  I had raced so much leading up to the marathon that racing felt normal.  It felt more routine which made me feel less pressure. Sometimes the weekends that we didn’t race leading up to the marathon last year were the ones that felt weird ha.  The more we race, the less nervous we are about racing.

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PLEASE NOTE:  ADEQUATE REST/RECOVERY/LISTENING TO YOUR BODY is key to racing often!  We were very diligent with running our easy runs much slower, sleeping a lot, taking rest days when needed no matter what and fueling all of our racing with more than enough calories.  You can’t race often (or run often) without those key elements!

Oh and a big con of racing a lot is that it gets expensive but at least your money is usually going towards charities or supporting the amazing running community that we get to be a part of!

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What about you?  Have you ever included a lot of races leading up to your goal race?  Do you think it helped you?  Why?

What was the best part of your weekend?

What run are you most looking forward to this week?  What has been your favorite type of runs lately?

If you are racing this year… What race are you most looking forward to?

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19 comments

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I’ve found the more races I do, the more RELAXED I am . . . which is huge for me, both in performance and in enjoying myself! Just getting all the kinks ironed out and knowing what I need helps me so much.

I haven’t run for about a month after being sick–I think I’m about ready to get back into it! Definitely feeling intimidated by getting back to the routine and sad about all the fitness I know I’ve lost before my spring race, but trying to be optimistic!

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Oh I totally agree with you Kristin! It makes our goal races much more fun when we feel relaxed:) . Stay optimistic and you are in a new chapter… comeback after a terrible sickness! I am so sorry you went through that. Now is the perfect time to be coming back as winter is almost over wahoo! Let me know how your first run goes back. Thanks Kristin!

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So this has nothing to do with your post but those little milk glass bottles for your kids – I want those for my kids! Where did you get them?
Now, about the post – yes i would do more races for fun but we don’t have a lot near me and so because I race not very often I feel like I can’t ever do them for fun, I need to be racing. And so I feel like I get my money’s worth.

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Hey Mary! So a company actually sent them to me a few years ago and I can’t remember which company… I think it was General Mills? They really are so cute! Oh that is tough when you have to travel more for them! I hope you are able to find some that work for you this year:) Have a beautiful day!

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Not really relevant to this post, but for the last 10 months or so I have been trying to work on a more active lifestyle (cycling to work, I discovered bouldering which I love, etc.) and whenever I had a particulary active week I felt so inexplicably exhausted… After talking about this with a friend, I remembered all of your posts about needing to rest and sleepenough when you’re training, and now I definitely consider sleeping in on the weekends as much part of an active lifestyle as the actually being active part :D

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OH YES NINA!! Your body definitely needs more sleep with all that you are doing. I am SO happy that you have found things that you love to do and taking the time to do them. Have the most beautiful week and teach me how to boulder:)

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That strawberry shortcake looks AMAZING!!! Can you ship to me ASAP please?!! Lol!
When I had a coach she included races on the training plan to help me prep for race day and I believe it helped a TON! I still made rookie mistakes but I PR’d in a huge way in every distance that cycle!
Best part of my weekend was my trail run with friends yesterday. The weather was HORRIFIC – there was a storm that none of new about that caused it to torrential downpour, hail, heavy winds, branches breaking off and trees falling. We literally heard a tree crack then saw it fall fall and luckily it happened behind us but man alive did it scare us! My friend in front was yelling at us to run while the 2nd runner was watching the tree while trying to run and slid a couple feet down an embankment and as she was clawing and crawling her way back up she’s yelling on repeat “I’m ok I’m ok I’m ok”. As the 3rd runner was trying to help runner #2, I slipped on the mud and messed up my thumb from landing weird. Luckily were able to laugh at our ridiculousness until our stomachs hurts and move on. It was GREAT!
I’m looking forward to early bedtimes and good easy hilly (oxymoron much?!) runs this week! I won’t have it any other way!
The race I’m looking forward to this year is a 14 mile mountain summit in August. I’m already working on building those mountain climbing muscles!
Have a great day!

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Oh my goodness, that story about the trail runner… I cannot even imagine. Okay and your story from this weekend’s trail run… I’m so glad you guys are all okay! I’ll join you in the early bedtimes ha. Super excited for that mountain summit and I can’t wait to hear all about it please!

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I had not seen that, wow. My boss runs tons of trails around here (but mostly up around Bellingham).

He mentioned that guy needed one of these PLB’s: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/personal-locator-beacons.html

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Just looked up that PLB John, that thing is amazing! Hope you are doing well friend!

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This is way off-topic, but I’m wondering if you (and Andrew) could do up a post on the pros and cons of being self-employed versus an employee. You said in a former post (about blogging) that you felt less pressure now that Andrew had a full-time job with benefits which were a huge plus. I enjoy the flexibility that comes with being self-employed and find it more rewarding work, but often wonder/worry about the lack of benefits/vacation time/retirement plan.

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Oh I WOULD LOVE TO do a post about this! I have a million thoughts on this all so I’ll start working on it:) Thanks Jenni and hope you are having a great day!

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Well…It’s my birthday tomorrow and I’m pretty excited about it. I have done many races in a year leading up to a race. I don’t do that anymore because it is expensive and my children won’t stop growing and needing things. I am planning on doing the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase in Park City and one other race in the fall. The best part of my weekend, every weekend, is that I allow myself to sleep in until I naturally wake up.

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HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY tomorrow Megan! I hope you have the best day tomorrow and I’ll eat a donut tomorrow to celebrate your bday. I love what you do on the weekends, that is so so good for you! Well, that race sounds awesome… I want to come cheer you on! Hope your week is a fabulous one:)

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Looks like a great weekend you had!

I have definitely included races in my build up to a race – the year I ran a 2 day ultra, I raced 50kms on back to back weekends. When I say “race” I use the term loosely as I basically went out and had fun and did the distances. For me it was an easy way to get in the training I needed without having to plan the distances. I think I ended up doing like 7 races that year and 6 of them were training runs.

This year I am on the waitlist for 100 miles in the US, but I am also signed up for a 40km trail race with 12, 500 feet of gain (Squamish) , and a 110km (Whistler) with about 20,000 feet of gain. Gulp.

Best part of the weekend was being in a heap on Sunday because on Saturday my girl friend talked me into 14 miles (and I haven’t run that far in 5 months !). I literally went from napping on the yoga mat, to napping on the couch and my other half was trying not to laugh at me haha.

Have a wonderful day Janae!

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2 day ultra. I cannot even imagine! That is unreal:) SO excited about your year up ahead, it’s a big one for you. Umm 20,000 of gain. I am cheering for you big time. Let me know if you get on the list. Hahaha sounds like the perfect weekend:) Thank you friend!

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This week is my birthday (Thursday, I’ll be 35!) so I am celebrating on multiple nights!

That dessert looks yummy! I hope Andrew didn’t pull a Rachel and include a layer of beef sauteed with peas and onions!! (gotta love Friends!)

And the Olympic trials are this Saturday in Atlanta………..I am hoping some of the athletes come to Chattanooga after!!

Also, 13 days until my next half marathon (and 12 days until the 5k). This year is the 5th year of the Chattanooga race and they are doing the usual 5k on Saturday, full/half on Sunday and if you race both days you get the challenge medal………….and per my suggestion, you get a medal if you have run the full or half all 5 years! That means I’ll get 4 medals……………WOO HOO!!!!!!!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEEK! Loribeth, I am so glad that you are celebrating on multiple nights:) . Bahaha oh I forgot about that episode! Luckily he did not. Oh I hope you get to see some of the athletes out and about. Okay, I love that you came up with that idea and enjoy ALL OF THOSE MEDALS! How fun!

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