I've been thinking lately about the mental preparation one goes through as race day approaches. I was not able to go to the Chip this year but did read a number of blogs where people were discussing their race strategy. There are numerous ways to approach a race, I'll list a few that I can remember - it's a mix of strategies and race purposes, followed by my commentary:
"I'm going to run this race as a training run for..."
I tried this once, it can only work if you don't actually enjoy racing.
"I'm going to beat ......."
I tried this once, see below for issues.
"I'm not going to get beat by...."
"I'm going for a course PR"
All in the training, remember though, you are a year older.
"I just want to finish"
I have never entered a race I didn't think I could. Shame on me I suppose.
"I am going to run negative splits"
If you can let the majority of the people of similar ability out of your sight within the first half mile or so you can probably do it, and beat them - good luck with that.
Then some of the more muted claims and performance pre excuses.
"I don't really care what place I get"
It's a race, come on, be serious now.
"I'm not going to push my ....... too hard, I don't want to cause any serious damage.
This is actually mine, it's really lame. You'll run and it will hurt.
"I ran an ultra last week"
I know someone who did and won!!
"I want to run the best race I can"
For better or worse, that's what you'll do.
"This is my first Ultra, I don't know what to expect"
It won't be your last, and you will never know.
"I ran Grandma's in 3:30, so I think 4:20-4:30 is reasonable.
Add an hour or so.
My next race is the Superior 50K , May 16. I struggled with this race in '07 ,though I had a wonderful experience, and was not able to compete for nearly all of '08. I really love the North Shore and love this race. I am in the process of figuring out my race strategy.