What Did You Learn From Your Race?

Sunday's Broad Street Run is history and it was an outstanding day in so many ways. My clients, my friends and myself (go me!) all ran great races. Personal records galore! The weather was beautiful. There seemed to be more cheering along the course than I can remember. Yes, it was crowded, but spirits were high among the athletes and spectators. After each race it is wise to consider what went right and what went wrong. There is immense value in learning from your experiences and as long as you apply what you learn, you should perform even better next time.

In addition, after a day or two passes your perspective on your performance may change. Ever notice that? For example, while walking home from the race you may feel that you

“coulda-shoulda-woulda” run faster or beat your friend. Three days later you realize you did, in fact, run to your potential and did the best you could given your current fitness and motivation. Of course, sometimes it works the other way; you regret not having pushed yourself harder!

Ugh, I admit this almost happened to me this year. I had slowed in the final miles and was in danger of missing my goal time. I was 10 seconds slow at mile 9 and definitely NOT feeling any stronger with each passing stride. With a half mile to go I told myself to stop feeling sorry for myself, suck it up for 3 minutes and just get ugly. :-)

I knew that for the next year I would regret not pushing myself when I was this close to meeting my goal. So, I committed myself, relaxed (notice I didn't say “gritted my teeth” - tensing up is bad) and gunned it to the finish. After crossing the line 6 seconds faster than my goal time, I can assure you I felt deeply satisfied. No regrets!!

Here are a few other factors to reflect upon after a race:

Did your breakfast work for you?

How excited were you while standing on the starting line? Low, medium, high?

Did you execute your pre-race plan?

Did you HAVE a pre-race plan?

What did you do well?

What, specifically, do you need to improve?

So here's what I'd like to know from you: Would you do anything differently knowing what you know now? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I'm sure we'll all learn a thing or two from each other!

I'll start.  I learned to avoid the water from open fire hydrants in the first few miles.  Did I really need waterlogged shoes at that point???  Now it's your turn!