Psychology of Race Day
One aspect to running is the ability to understand your fitness level when you toe the start line. The number of days until the race are dwindling down and your training should be more about fully recovering than inducing fatigue. During your training some people have experienced new levels of fitness, some people have become injured, some people have fallen in love with running. You've most likely, at some point, been too tired to stay up late with friends, too tired take a shower after your run, and too hungry to eat just one slice of pizza. All of these experiences will culminate on Saturday, June 25 and your job is to now decide what all your training experiences add up to. For the majority of first time half-marathon and marathon runners the goal is going to be to complete the distance. Some runners will be in it to complete it with friends, other runners will be out on the course to soak up the sideline parties along the route, and then you have the racers, the runners that are going out to leave everything they've got on the course.
Categories aside, each runner wants to be successful and appropriately judging your fitness level with your race day running intensity is going to help lead you to an enjoyable and successful 2011 Rock-n-Roll Seattle. So, which category do you fit into: Completion, Soaking Up The Fun, or are you going to be Racing? Pick your category and below are some race day strategies things to focus on during the race.
Completion - Whether it's by yourself or with friends, race day needs to be about staying in a comfortable intensity during the entire race. Starting out too face will turn your race into an all out effort during the closing miles. Avoid starting in the front of your corral, if you're nervous about starting to fast set a run walk time limit (Run 5 minutes, walk 2 minutes, repeat) Take your time at the water stations. This is your chance to take in your water, sports-drinks, and gels to fuel the rest of your race, no need to rush it.
If you're running the marathon and your training hasn't gone as planned and you don't feel confident enough to complete the course, it may be better to switch to the half-marathon and save the risk of injury for another marathon. Half-marathoners it's a little more tricky, but don't force yourself into something you're not ready for. There'll be more races.