Friday, August 6, 2010

Common rookie mistakes and how you can avoid them

Too fast, too furious.  For every second you go out too fast in the first half of your race, you could lose as much as double that amount of time in the second half.  During my first 5k fun run, I went out too fast in the beginning of the race.  I was keeping up with the pace of the other runners.  Big mistake.  After the first 2 kilometers, I was breathing heavily and couldn't make another stride.  Felt like all of my stored energy was depleted.  What should you do?  Do not line up at the front.  Best you stay somewhere in the middle or at the tail end in the assembly area.  This way, you will be forced to slow down.  Or have the discipline to properly pace yourself in the first mile then picking up your speed after.

Nothing new on race day.  A running buddy of mine wore the event's singlet without trying them on his practice run.  What happened?  The singlet chafed the area under his arms.  This affected his 21k personal record.  What should you do?  Stick with your tried-and-tested running apparel and gear that you know are comfortable.  No to new singlet.  No to new running shorts.  No to new running socks.  No to new sports bra.  No to new running shoes.  No to new hydration belt.  No to new food/breakfast.  No to new sports drink.  Nothing new on race day.  I hope I made myself clear
Lining up in a race.  Find the right spot by knowing how fast you intend to finish the race.  Faster runner in front, slower in back.  Unfortunately our local road races do not post pace signs so you can properly line up in the assembly area.  This will help a lot so you don't start your run on a pace that is too fast for you (see: rookie mistake #1) or need to weave through a crowd of slower runners
For all distances, if you can run 5 mins/km or faster I suggest that you stay in front (or near)
This is where you rub elbows with the likes of Coach Rio, Cresenciano Sabal, Eduardo Buenavista, and other Pinoy elite athletes.  This is also the place where you'd be able to run alongside with the Kenyans
Using the rough guide below, if you see yourself running at this speed, I humbly suggest that you stay at the end or near the end.  This has two benefits: (1) you will not be forced to run at a pace faster than you intended, (2) safer road race as there will be fewer people who need to weave through other runners
  • 3k race: 15 mins/km or slower
  • 5k race: 12 mins/km or slower
  • 10k race: 11 mins/km or slower
  • 21k race: 10 mins/km or slower
  • 42k race: 9 mins/km or slower

Carlo-loading before a race.  I was told that I needed to take in a lot of additional carbs and calories the night before a race.  Since this advice came from a running buddy of mine, who has joined several races already, I religiously followed it.  In reality, if you are running 10km or less, there is no need to load up on carbs the day before the race.  Our body will most likely have enough stored energy without having to carbo-load.  BUT!  Do not skip breakfast.  You'd still need some energy to burn.  I normally eat my breakfast at least 2 hours prior a race.  My breakfast consists of a cereal bar, banana, and a chocolate drink.  Stay away from food that are rich in fat or fiber.  As these will give you stomach problems


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