Your race day is almost approaching and you know you haven’t done the work. Maybe you’ve fallen ill, maybe work or family life has gotten in the way or maybe you just haven’t been motivated enough to commit to your training properly. So how do you get it done when you know you’re under done?
It can happen to the best of us and if you run for long enough you are bound to reach a time when you just haven’t done the training and you get to a race under trained. This doesn’t mean you can’t get the best out of yourself on race day, but it does mean you have to mindful of your fitness level.
When you line up on race day under done it’s natural to have some anxiety about your race. The anxiety will be on whether your race will be compromised by your fitness, or it could even be whether you’ll get to the finish line.
Regardless of the distance of your race if you are underdone you should run conservatively from the start of the race. You should understand that your fitness level is likely going to compromise your race in some way and conservative pacing should be your strategy.
On the flip side a conservative pacing strategy is usually a winning strategy when you are fit and well trained. If you usually race too aggressively from the start being under done and forced into a conservative strategy may be a blessing in disguise. Being mindful of your fitness may lead to better pacing overall, a lot of time can be gained by smarter pacing.
If you are mindful of your fitness and start conservatively you can run yourself into the race later. In a marathon or longer there is plenty of time to race hard of and when you feel ready later on. Start conservatively and stay conservative in your pacing for as long as necessary.
When you go into a race under done you may need to lower your performance expectations. Being under done is certainly not a guarantee of a bad race but it is an indicator that you aren’t ready to run your best race. If under training was a strategy for personal best times than running would be a simpler sport for most of us.
If you go into a race with fewer expectations you may put less pressure on yourself to run your best. Going into a race without pressure from within to perform at your best should mean you enjoy the race further and are more awake to the atmosphere on race day.
Take each mile as it comes and enjoy the experience of being on the start line. If your lower expectations mean you pace your race better and enjoy the run more then it’s hardly a bad thing. If this means your race goes well then you can adjust your expectations during the run and have a great race.
Prepare your Mind
When you go into a race under done you can most certainly still run a strong race. By lowering your expectations and racing conservatively and strategically to your fitness you will give yourself a great chance of doing well. But the mind will have to be on its game.
Prepare your mind to be ready to race. If you are under trained physically you need to be in the game mentally. When you get to race day you need to be aware, ready and prepared for the suffering that may exist later in the race. A smart pacing strategy will get you a long way but at some point in the race it’s going to hurt and your mind needs to be ready to keep you going.
Your mind has the ability to push you further than most us think possible. Be patient in your race strategy but when it starts to hurt, accept it and let it hurt. Be ready to give your best in these moments.
Overall there is no substitute for getting to the start line trained well and ready to race your best. Sometimes it doesn’t happen though and getting the best out of your race is still possible when the training hasn’t gone to plan.