Cramming for race day

Oh, how I wish this title referred to the way I sometimes study course maps as if they contain the code to a safe full of money, and not just the route for a 10K!

Instead, it refers to the fact that, as previously discussed, I’m not exactly trained for this for the Daiquiri Deck Tropical Splash 5K swim on Oct. 1. I’m not *untrained*, which is something different (I’m looking at you, 2006 Gate River Run 15K). I’m in perfectly good shape, swimming-wise and other-wise, and feel confident I can cover the distance. But I haven’t been in the pool a ton over the past few weeks, and will be spending the next two weeks (gah! only two weeks left!) cramming for a race I feel only partially prepared for.

Cramming is such a widespread phenomenon, Runner’s World had a story within the past year about how to “train” for races of various distances in a week. They weren’t encouraging people to skip the “couch to 5K” program, but instead to do what I’m doing: Sharpening the edges around a reasonably fit person to ensure you’re ready for an event that took you by surprise.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I would have included the link to the aforementioned story. But I couldn’t find it within 30 seconds, and, as evidenced by the fact that I’m posting this at 4:30 p.m., and by the fact that I’m writing about the swimming I haven’t done, it’s been a crazy-busy day. My apologies.]

So here’s my cram-tastic training plan:

  • Get to the pool three times per week leading up to the race. Continue to run on non-swim days so I don’t end up cramming for the Marine Corps 10K as well.
  • Swim the distance of the race, 5,000 meters, at least once, preferably twice, before race day.
  • Temper expectations now. Treat the race as an especially scenic workout whose time doesn’t matter. Practice blaming the fact that I was slower than last year on unbelievably strong longshore currents in the Gulf of Mexico on race day.

Sounds good, right? I’m not going to make the rookie mistake of overtraining to compensate for training I simply didn’t do—my opportunity to gain real strength and speed has passed, so my goals are gaining confidence (pre-race 5K swim) and sharpening the edges.

Have you ever crammed for a race? If so, what was your strategy?


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2 responses to “Cramming for race day

  1. Fortunately, its much easier to cram for a swim race than any other. Your plan sounds good to me. Have fun!

  2. I usually don’t cram, I just think “well, being well-rested is good, right?”

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