Learning through bad races can be a bit overwhelming and might lowered the morale or motivation for your next race. I summarized five lessons that were very important for me during my running career. Every race teaches me something. Let me share them with you.
Lower the bar a little bit.
Undesired outcomes teach you about goals. Do you set goals that are way out of reach? Ambitious goals are good. However, not being able to reach them most of the time can be discouraging for any athlete.
Be realistic about how much time you can spend training. Be realistic about your abilities. And finally be realistic about the results but always add a dash of optimism!
Learn how to adapt the training plan according to your needs.
How you react to failure identifies you not only as an athlete, but also as a human being. Do you give up? Do you get angry? If you do, try to react differently. Learn to adjust the plan as you go. There is a reason why it is written with a pencil and not with a pen! Instead of throwing in the towel and blaming everyone around – change it. If you planned on running 5 times a week but realistically can commit to only 3 times or less – change that! In this case, you can increase the intensity and duration of the plan. Spice it up with cross training where needed.
The end of a race is a start of a new training regime.
When planning the race, take into account the race course, reviews from the previous years and starting time. Is it a morning or an evening race? Hilly or flat? Trail or road? Adjust your plan if needed. If your race is in the morning, and you always train in the evenings – work on adding at least one morning run a week. If the racing course is hilly and you train on the flat terrain – time to spice things up! Include some quality hill work. The more your training resembles racing day, the better.
Support is key.
Having a running group or a buddy is a good way to observe your training with another pair of eyes. You can help each other with some coaching tips, record a video to check each other’s gait, meet at the gym to do strength training and so on. The accountability factor is the most important aspect of training with the group and you get to train with people faster and better than you, making you faster and better too!
Respect your body.
Everywhere we see motivational quotes “Push the Limits”, “No pain, No gain”, etc. People are trying to set new limits, challenge themselves and break records—which is great! This is how one becomes better. Being in a highly competitive environment surpasses the mindfulness of your own feelings. Try not to lose it while chasing ambitious goals. Listen to how your body feels. Listen to how your knees react to the increased mileage. Listen to how your sleep pattern changes when intensity rises. If there’s pain, then it’s a sign to take a break for a week or two.
Don’t deny pain. When you accept it, you will be able to improve. Ignoring the body signs can cost you a lot of money at the doctor later. It can prevent you from doing the sport that you love. Or both.
Instead of running, you can go to the gym, focus on strength, cross train and still maintain great shape without provoking any injury.
A race below expectations is discouraging and can put any runner on the edge. You trained so hard, spent so many mornings running instead of cuddling with the best half in bed, yet here you are, DNF on the race day. But there is always more behind the tears and DNFs and unsuccessful finishes. There is always a lesson. Which one you’ve got?
Coach Olya Kudryavtseva
“I count my blessings every Sunday night, sitting on a small balcony overlooking the beautiful neighborhoods in the greenest area in Kuala Lumpur. I plan new travels almost every day, as the world is such an amazing place if you were to see through its beauty. I consider myself a lucky person and am convinced I did something good in my previous lives.“I count my blessings every Sunday night, sitting on a small balcony overlooking the beautiful neighborhoods in the greenest area in Kuala Lumpur. I plan new travels almost every day, as the world is such an amazing place if you were to see through its beauty. I consider myself a lucky person and am convinced I did something good in my previous lives.
Running and yoga are my two biggest passions. I am the happiest person to have a full-time job teaching it and sharing what I learned over the years.
I am the head coach of Skechers Running Academy and a freelance yoga teacher.
I am driven by my students’ success and honored to contribute into the health industry in the country I call home for 4 years now.