Posts Tagged ‘pace for a race’

Tales from the finish line

February 17, 2014 at 2:43
Posted by Rachael Woolston


You may have read a million and one articles about how to prepare for a race but the best way of knowing what to do, and what NOT to, is from those who have just finished a race. Congratulations to our first and many-time runners of the Brighton Half Marathon, and here’s THEIR tips from the frontline…



Eat right

‘This is the first race where I haven’t been sick, had to rush to the toilet or  be helped to my room after the race feeling ill. The reason? I finally got my race nutrition right.

I had a small amount of porridge two hours before, avoided all sports drinks and stuck to a few sips of water at each refreshment table, plus jelly babies after one hour.

Plus, I paced myself instead of going off like a bullet and getting carried away by the excitement of it all. I slowed every time my pace went over what I am used to and stuck to my own race. ‘ Lisa Burstow

What we say: Nutrition wise, you really DON’T need to carbload for a half marathon contrary to popular expectation. Your body holds 90mins of fuel in the muscles, which for most people is most of their race time. It therefore stands to reason that lots of sugary sports drinks may hinder rather than help a recreational runner’s race experience. But it is alo a case of experimenting with what works for YOU.

Think smart

‘My eight half marathon and my most comfortable to date.  I ran at all times without ‘puffing’,  smiled the entire time & high fived everyone with their hands out, and mentally broke each section down in my head. I’ve only got a park run to go, I’ve swum pier to pier so I can easily run this.

Another change to my usual route was NOT listening to music. It meant I stayed focused, and although I finished a minute off my personal best, this was my best race to date. I ENJOYED it.’ Tanya Taylor

What we say: Over 50% of successful racing is mental strategy. You may have done all the training in the world but if your mental strength crumbles, you can feel like you’ve never run before.

Breaking down a race into managable chunks, rather than thinking, ‘Oh no, I’ve still got ten miles to run,’ makes each step seem achievable. And while we know many of our runners enjoy listening to music, when it comes to race time, it’s good to be in touch with your body and surroundings. It will help keep you focused.

Focus on technique

‘It was my first ever half marathon and didn’t know what to expect and was very nervous. But I focused on positive thoughts: the weather is perfect, just enjoy it and I kept reminding myself of just how far I’d come since I started training.

I also concentrated on everything I have learned in training, good posture,  and keeping to the correct pace for my race which I checked at each kilometre interval. Most of all, I felt confident after all my training and I kept repeating a mantra, ‘You can do it, keep moving that ass, girl.’ I loved it.’ Irene Maluda

What we say: Having a clear idea of  your race strategy can make for a stress-free experience. You know what you’ve got to do, you stay focused, and this puts you in control. Result? Less stress, more enjoyment.


Gallop out of the starting blocks

‘I learned that if you run too fast at the start it can ruin your race. My legs literally ran out of energy after 5 miles!

Considering, I’ve been running more than 5 miles on a regular basis it was a shock.  I know this is what everyone says NOT to do but I felt it 1st hand today, and I just got  swept away with the fun and excitment of the race. Plus, I entered the wrong starting pen so everyone was running faster pace than I’d planned.’ Jan Dupree

What we say: Going off too fast is one of the most common mistakes that those new to racing tend to do. It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement, and at the beginning your legs can feel good. But trust your training and the experience you have built up over your training as to what pace you should run. If you’ve not run 7min miles in training, you WILL hit the wall if you try it. This is why having a training watch, is really useful. Training watches are not just for the pros. And yes, we’ve done it too.

Allow boredom to take hold

‘My first half too and I loved it. I felt confident because I knew our Sunday runs were over and above what we needed in order to achieve the half marathon.
But I have speed issues with hills and boredom and my pace dropped whenever I got to a long boring stretch or a hill.
As soon as there were only 3miles left (a Parkrun distance), I put my head down, started breathing properly and had a mantra ‘one foot in front of the other‘) and I was over the finish line, even with a little sprint.‘ Caroline Kotze
What we say: Boredom and difficulty with hills are something that we all face but it is the mental approach that makes the difference between it affecting your race and not. (Or booking up to a Girls Run the World trip so the route is new and fresh!).
Break down each montonous section into a technique workshop. For the first one kilometre, I’m going to focus on swinging my arms correctly. On the second section, I’m going to think about how my foot lands underneath me and so on. It can help prevent the boredom and speed up time.

Forget to drink water

‘I realise I need to work on my hydration as I didn’t drink enough the day before, and then drank too much on the day and had to stop twice to go to the toilet during the race. But on the plus side, keep smiling at the crowd as they smile back and it helps push you through.’
Rehanon MacKenzie
What we say: Water, not sports drinks and gels is one of the most important, pre-race strategies, not just race day strategy. The body is made up of 70% water, so it stands to reason how vital it is for the working of the muscles, not to mention the brain. You should be aiming to hydrate well throughout the week before a race, not chugging back a bottle on the start line. Particularly on the start line…you all know how bad race line toilet queues are!

Congratulations to all our amazing runners yesterday!

If you would like to join us in training for your next race or simply learning how to run for the first time, check out our sister site with all the details of our courses which start this week.

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