Difficult race day? Focus on competing

THIS is racing!

This past weekend, both my daughter and I ran races. We both had in mind times we thought we could hit and wanted to target. However, as race day neared, it became clear that the conditions were going to be challenging. Because of that, I repeatedly reminded both of us that we shouldn’t worry about our times. Just compete.

At any race, I’ve found that it’s best during the late stages of the race to ignore the watch and just compete. You’ll usually get more out of yourself by trying to beat your fellow competitors than by trying to chase a time on the watch. This is why most of us run better in races than we do in solo time trials or the virtual races many of us did last year.

If the conditions are challenging, this can be true even earlier in the race. It was warm and humid this past weekend. How much should we expect that to affect our times? How should we adjust our goals? It’s hard to say. In fact, some people might be affected by it differently than others so there is no magic number or formula that applies universally. So we’re better off focusing on the competitive aspect and letting the time take care of itself.

As for my daughter’s and my races, we both battled through. I held off someone who tried passing me in the final 1/2 mile. My daughter got passed with about 100 yards to go but responded and, in an incredibly hard fought duel over the final straight, she passed her competitor back and pulled off the win by a step.

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