1. Endless long slow junk miles, done day in day out without any variation in speed or terrain, intensity or distance, will perhaps get you there but it won't help you do it efficiently, it also won't help you improve your times and it definitely won't lead to optimal health and performance. Swap some of the mileage for mobility and strength and conditioning workouts - some high intensity others really easy. Vary it always. No one ever won a race by winning on strava etc. Just collecting miles isn't the best way to improve.
2. One for the ladies. Especially for ladies who are vegetarian or vegan or who have heavy menstrual cycles. Make sure you get regular iron and blood levels tests done. Many female runners have some degree of anemia which can really sap your energy and kill your performance. If you have trouble keeping the levels up take an iron supplement preferably an easily absorbed one and add some vitamin C to help with the absorption.
3. Don't forget to do a good taper. You can't get measurably fitter in the final couple of weeks before a race but you can overcook and overtrain yourself and do more damage than good. Don't try and catch up on missed training sessions by making up for all of them in an all out, last ditch effort in the final three weeks before the race. Forget it, move on and understand this. Sometimes I have raced my best races when my build up has been less than optimal and I haven't had all the miles in the legs that I wanted.
4. When setting yourself a big challenge, release yourself from the outcome. By that I mean, you can't control all the outside variables that could happen, life is life. However what you can control and what you should concentrate on are the habits, rituals, behaviours and attitudes you need to cultivate to get you to your goal and when the day finally arrives to run that race, release yourself from the consequences. Don't think about them as they will just cause you anxiety, stress and add to your pressure and can often cause you to perform below your abilities. Accept you have done everything you could and now your only job is to concentrate on sticking to your strategy and putting one foot in front of the other. Don't think just do.
5. Don't get caught up in the rush at the start of your big race. any pace will feel easy when the adrenaline is coursing through your veins and in the excitement of the start but therein lies the danger. Don't be sucked in by all those runners rushing past you making you feel like you are the slowest turtle on the planet. Concentrate solely on your race strategy and your pacing plan and stick with it. Your legs will thank you for it later.
6. Never try out a new food, pill or training gear on race day. Everything you have on, eat or drink should have been tried and tested 100 times in training and in all training distances and intensities. Your gear should be looking a little worse for wear come race day. Broken in and comfortable.
So there are just a few quick wins. If you enjoyed this check out my goal setting ebook Goal setting ebook.
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