I have recently done a 6K road race (The Sessay Swift 6K).
The pace was fast, each K seemed quite long and to be honest, I felt as though I struggled. Having said that I came 4th and was the 1st woman back for the club which is fantastic news. So why did I finish the race feeling a bit down in the dumps? Usually, after a race, you’re on a high…
It was because there were a few obvious things that I didn’t do correctly. And so, as soon as I’d crossed the finish line (as well as feeling very faint) I was immediately annoyed at myself thinking – why an earth did I do that?
We must remember that not all races will go smoothly. We make mistakes – we’re only human. We must think calmly about these mistakes and then take it as positive – we now know how to make the next race better. These ‘down’ feelings should then subside and we should be excited about our new learning experience and excited to see ourself improve, because we know that we can.
The analysis of my performance was that firstly, I set off too quickly. For the first 300m or so I was the woman in the lead. I then had three women pass me and to be honest, every person that strides on past feels a bit like a kick in the face. From this, I have learnt to hold back slightly at the start so that I will be the one passing, not the one being left behind.
Secondly, my mindset wasn’t thinking of it like a race. I was simply thinking ‘just keep going.’ That would have been great if it’s a charity fun run but when it’s a race, I think your mind constantly needs to be thinking about how you’re going to either stick to / catch up with the person in front of you. I needed to think more about the present situation AND the outcome, rather than just the present.
Finally, I know myself that I should eat two hours before a run. I have figured out my own body’s needs throughout training. Any more than two hours and i’ll be hungry. Any less than two hours and I’ll get a stitch / feel sick. So WHY, why oh why did I eat a big bowl of porridge only an hour before? I was clearly too cocky, too confident that I could handle it even though a few years of training has told me differently. It still baffles me why I thought that would be ok. But anyway, I learnt the hard way because for the last K I was constantly burping and swallowing back down nasty lumps of porridge and having visions of me vomiting onto the back of the man in front of me. Not nice. Not attractive. Never again.
So there you have it. Take a bad race and learn from it. I feel that I was very lucky getting the place that I did seeing as I had so many mistakes. The trick is to be inspired by your mistakes, and imagine how great you could be if you didn’t make them. Suddenly, running has just got very exciting…
Speaking of exciting, I’m about to put my little blistered feet up on the sofa and indulge in the box of chocolates that I won. Happy days.
Run to get faster, run to get fitter, run to feel happier.
All the best,