So, ‘member when I complained a couple months ago that I was suffering from goal overload leading up to the Bolder Boulder 10K and the 4.4-mile Great Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim because I’d failed to consider how much time I’d need to train for both events, plus continue my post-ACL PT routine? And ‘member how last month, I was all self-congratulatory about my advance-planning skills, having plotted my race calendar for the foreseeable future to avoid another training crunch?
I’ve been looking forward to the Rockville Rotary Twilight Runfest 8K for months, so it’s unclear how it crept up on me. It’s like when you forget a close friend’s birthday—you know their birthday is on June 1, or whatever—you just didn’t realize June 1 is TODAY. I knew the 8K was at 8:45 p.m. July 16. I just didn’t realize July 16 is next week. Oops …
What have I been doing instead of running since the Bolder Boulder 10K in May? I did the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim. I rested. I focused on strength and agility, knowing my knee still isn’t 100 percent. I backpacked for three days. I traveled. I skied.
It’s too late to go back in time and add a few miles to the easy, 3-mile trail runs I’ve been doing a couple times per week. What I can do at this point: manage expectations, and focus on not judging where I am at this moment in time. Last year, I remember being kind of disappointed in my finish time of 41:12, which meant my average pace was something like 8:18. This year? I’ll be lucky to cross the finish line without walking, and that’s OK.
So my goal for the race is to chill out and go easy on myself. I’m going to run through the sprinklers, high-five kids on the sidelines and eat my weight in watermelon at the post-race party. It’ll be like the Earth Day 5K, which I ran weeks after being medically cleared to run again—I’ll jog and chill out for most of the run, and “race” the last mile if I feel like it, or just keep jogging if I don’t feel like it.
How do you approach races you haven’t trained your hardest for (or simply haven’t trained for at all)? Do you shift your time-based goals to process-based goals? Abandon all goals? Fill your CamelBak with beer and try to forget the fact that you ever had goals? Let me know by posting a comment below!