"Hey Tony! I want to tell you about my new race strategy!"
So began my friends detailed description of his experience at the Big D half Marathon in Dallas last weekend. Steve's distance is the half Marathon and he is always trying to improve. Steve is an accountant, a bean counter. He puts everything to numbers and is very precise about pace, splits, projected finishes, graphs, well, you get the picture.
Going into his latest race in Dallas he had NO EXPECTATIONS! He had been hurt for most of the last month leading into the race and felt he would just run to complete the run. Although Steve wore his garmin, he paid no attention to it. Instead He "Ran as he felt." Giving extra effort when he had it and easing off when he didn't.
Result? A PR!
As he later analyzed the data downloaded to his PC he said he would have panicked midway through when he was running an 8:15 pace. Instead he ran on effort and was more than pleased with the result.
I recalled my Marathon PR at San Francisco in 2007. I just wanted to enjoy the experience and take in the sights. I paused for a restroom break and took many pictures as I ran the 26 mile course. To my surprise I PR'd and had the most enjoyable road race to date.
My buddy Tom recently ran a 50K trail run and did not enjoy TRYING to run fast. He settled into a relaxed pace towards the end and savored the last 5 miles. It was not a PR or his best time, but he realized that running hard is not what It's all about.
Running in YOUR zone at the given time makes for a better experience.
And, a better time.