Rebecca is a strong athlete with a lot of experience but in the past year has had a calf injury to work through that kept her off the starting line of several events. Around the Bay 18k was not Rebecca’s main goal race as she is heading to the Boston Marathon in a couple weeks. Even though this was not her A race there were still several goals and objectives we had for this race.
First and foremost we wanted her to push but run smart and in control. We wanted to see if we could find that pace she can start at and still run strong the last miles of this race. Of course all of this while saving her legs for Boston. It takes a lot of mental work to let other runners go at the start and not run as hard as maybe you can so she had to walk into this with her “eye on the prize” - Boston.
Rebecca likes to cook, she eats well and fuels well but when it comes to longer races she is still working to find the right fueling plan. So for this race the goal was to pay attention to the before, during and even after fueling so we could see what worked and what did not.
Thirdly we wanted to work on the mental skills that need to be trained to be able to use on race day. The goal was to notice when her mind wandered what those background conversations were and how she might turn them around or use them to her advantage.
It was fun to hear Rebecca’s questions around all of these things and to work through it all with her to come up with her plan.
Practice Makes Perfect
How did all of Rebecca's goals play out?
Rebecca smartly paced this race by aiming for a solid pace and keeping very even pacing all the way through even once on the notorious hills that come late in this race. It helped that she has run this course before and knew a little more first hand what to expect and we used this to talk about how to keep effort even and use a course profile to your advantage. She was able to let others go out ahead of her and not get sucked into a harder pace knowing hills were later. This ability will serve her well for her A race, Boston!
In training we worked on her pre and post fueling and making sure she was getting in carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Yes, we need all of them! We are very impressed with Rebecca’s attention to detail in figuring out what foods work well for her. She had a solid fueling plan starting in the days before the race, the hours before the race and during the race. She also set up her fueling plan for after the race which will help jump start her recovery as she tapers for Boston.
In training, we worked on her fueling for during the actual race. Sometimes athletes don’t take in fuel very often in training as it is inconvenient or we just don’t think about it at 5am. That being said, it’s important to train your body to take in the fuel it needs for longer endurance efforts so that it knows what to do with it. When first working with Rebecca her fueling was a bit sporadic and a bit under what she really needed to keep her energy strong throughout the whole run. By practicing and trying several things over the months she was able to find fuel that worked for her and maintain solid energy all the way through the race. Well done!
The Next Level
What really stands out for Rebecca’s race is her well focused mental skills that she used to work through the race. This is an area many athletes don’t know much about and it is finally being talked about more with coaches and groups. The mental skills are very important for athletes to practice and develop!
Rebecca describes some examples of her visualizations:
As a coach, I am very proud of Rebecca and how eager she was to learn and how well she implemented many of the things we talked about so quickly. I appreciated the questions, the updates, the details and the post race report.
Many things went well and Boston will be a chance to work on a few more. As a runner it is fun and important to know that part of what brings many of us back to events is to continue to learn and grow.
I am excited to see how Boston goes and what we can learn there too. No matter what the day brings it is only about doing the best one can do on that given day!
Congrats Rebecca and Good luck in Boston!
We are cheering for you!