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#RnRSEA Week - My "Injured Runner's" Race Day Strategy

Posted Jun 19 2012 7:55pm
I feel a bit silly talking race day strategy when I've run fewer times in the past month than I have fingers on my right hand!  But after feeling discouraged about this for so long, I think that strategy will be even more important for this race than others.  I know I can get to the finish line, so maybe with the right strategy I can maximize whatever training I have left in me and have the best race possible given the circumstances.

I have never been one for big time race strategies, but I do usually like to have a time goal and like to have a few ideas in mind of what I can do to try and achieve it.  And here they are...

Time Goal:

I was hoping my goal for this race could be 2:15 or better.  However, given my recent injury I just don't think that will be possible.  On top of that, although they say they changed the course to be less hilly this year, to me it still looks kind of hilly

And instead of hill training like I had planned, I have been couch training, er, I mean resting.  I have not been very strong on hills this year anyways so I know they are going to give me a run for my money.

I came across the TazRunning website via the #RnRSEA Facebook page and they not only create pace bands to print and pace band tattoos, you can customize the pace band to reflect the exact course you're running.  Given the hills I see at #RnRSEA, I think this is pretty cool.

I checked it out for a 2:15 time goal and setting it to reflect being slow on the uphill, it gave me mile splits mainly in the 9:00/mi - 11:00/mi range (5:39/km to 6:54/km).  I just don't know if I can keep up at a 5:39/km on the flat/downhill with my newly healed right leg, especially if any of the hills really kill me and I need to make up time.

I checked it out for a 2:20 time goal and the splits seem much more reasonable given how I felt on this weekend's long run:

Mile splits of 9:31/mi to over 12:00/mi on the hills seems doable (approx 6:00/km to 7:30/km).  I think I will do a multi-goal pace band with 2:20 and 2:15 and then if I'm feeling good on race day I can adjust to a faster goal time.  Although it is quite shy of my PR, I would be very happy with a 2:20 finish.  This race is by no means a PR attempt and all I really want to do is the best I can and enjoy myself doing it.

Beyond the Paceband:
  • I plan to try and use the hills to my advantage.  I know I'll be slow on the uphill but what goes up must come down and so there should be some pretty wicked downhills out there.  Hopefully I can speed up on the downhills as much as is safe and make up a bit of time.  
  • As for my Garmin, I think the tunnel will affect how I use it for this run.  I have to read through the manual but I am assuming that even if it loses satellite signal, the overall run time should continue?  I'll have to keep in mind that my overall average pace will be skewed with that missing chunk of distance in the tunnel...  
Anyone have experience with their Garmins and tunnels or losing signal for a portion of their run?

On-Course Nutrition:
  • Since I am less trained than I ideal, I want to try and glean any extra energy I can from my race snacks.  For Seattle that will mean a package of Power Bar Chews before the start and then 2-3 chews at each walk break.  I will take additional chews at the half way mark for an extra boost and will take regular water in my fuel belt and I'll drink the Gatorade they supply on course.  
  • I really want to take nuun along because it tastes so yummy but I find whenever I use it, it seems to leak more than I sound totally crazy saying that?  It's almost like the viscosity is different and it seeps out of my bottles more than water...
  • And while it's not exactly "nutrition" I'll be adding a little extra something-something medication-wise on race morning to help manage my back pain.  I deal with accident-related back and hip pain every day but I find my long runs are just a little bit easier if I'm a bit more proactive in the pain management department.

Yes, race day music is DEFINITELY part of my strategy.  I find music to be incredibly motivating.  I'm pretty sure this course will be motivating enough with all of the bands and spectators but I'll be spending some time updating my playlist to make sure I've got lots of wicked songs to keep my feet moving if the going gets tough!

Odds and Ends:
  • I'm going to try bringing along some BodyGlide because it looks like the temperature could create those perfect conditions for underarm chafing, ouch!
  • Of course, I'll also have my phone along so I can take lots of pictures during those walk breaks and keep Hubs updated on where I am.  They have runner tracking available but it says for US cell numbers only.  Boo.
So yeah, that's about it for my "Injured Runner's" Race Strategy!  Nothing too tricky or complicated.  My number one goal is to enjoy the experience of an RnR race and just keep my feet moving until I cross the finish line and get my hands on that beer!
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