iSportsAnalysis are serialising “Running Sussed”, a book by ex international runner Julia Chi Taylor. In today’s chapter Julia will be talking about “Racing”. Thank you Julia Chi for sharing your wisdom and insights.
It is a book to open people to the ‘how to run” aspect – or “how to become a runner“ and yes, definitely those who haven’t run much and a interested to follow a path of least resistance
But – it also has a philosophical aspect that means that people who have run for years can get something from it – some deeper insight or connection to themselves through the art of running.
Julia has been running all of her life, it has informed how she has chosen to live from a very young age and has been the bedrock of her ‘practice’ both physical and spiritual – in fact it has become her spiritual practice through the mirror of seeing herself reflected back in her running endeavours.
Julia achieved her first international vest at the age of 19 and went on to run at international level for the next 13 years.
Her most notable achievements were winning the Dublin City Marathon, being placed 7th woman in the London Marathon (3rd British) in a time of 2.36.31 and competing in the Commonwealth Games Marathon in 1986.
Chapter 16: Racing
How to prepare
There is a mental and physical element to preparing to race. If you are using racing as a social event – or as a hard training run, then this has a different preparation to a race that you have put there as a place where you will find out “the meaning of all the training”
If you have a more relaxed approach and like to take part and be with your friends, then the preparation will be little different to a training run.
However if it is a race you have trained for, then there will be a ‘readying’ within – if it is a shorter race then you might take an easier week, back off the miles and the intensity and allow your body to prepare for a harder effort.
It can help to use the visualisation and affirmation techniques and especially deep breathing and relaxation to keep yourself present, an ensure that anxiety doesn’t spoil the experience.
Take deep breaths in – and on the out breath say What the heck’… it is after all simply a ‘foot race’ – however it does hold within its hands, a place of truth, of facing yourself out on the road and seeing what is within you.
So, you are rested, ideally have slept well, although this isn’t always possible with travel and sometimes, the excitement of the event prevent good sleep!
Be conscious to eat well, your same diet, but with the rest, the carbohydrate stores will increase and favouring a little more carbs will help prepare the muscles for the extra effort.
Write a check list for things needed to race – your kit, your number (and chip if needed) safety pins, Vaseline to put on areas that might chafe, loo paper in case the loos have run out of it (it happens!) pre race sports drink ( if this is what you would do – it works for me) shot bloks or gles to take during the race – post race recovery food, maybe a protein bar and a banana , water.
Make sure you know where the race is and get there in plenty of time for a good warm up.
Apart from marathons and long endurance events, when too much warm up can take energy needed for the race; I suggest allowing 40 minutes to warm up.
This gives time to jog for 20 minutes or so, then stretch, then perform some relaxed strides, change into race shoes ( if you’re not already) and then keep warm, with kit on, till 5 minutes before the race.
Resist going off to fast
Have an A goal, one that is the dream goal, everything going to plan and that little bit extra emerging and a B goal, something that you pretty much are sure you can achieve. This way if the A goal starts to slip away for any reason, then you will be able to adjust to the B goal and keep relaxed.
Do keep relaxed as you run, if you feel something tightening up, relax it as you run, whilst still moving forward.
If you are hurting in your body, (this is different to injury pain) this doesn’t mean you can’t go on – keep focused and allow any negative thoughts to simply pass through
Enjoy the experience
Here you are, alive and healthy and doing what you love, appreciate the experience and you as you run
If it doesn’t go to plan, there is always another race!
Where to race
Race wherever you want! There are now races all over the world. If travel excites you, there are tours that will organise everything for you. You can race on the road and on the track, over the fells, up in the mountains, cross country.
Talk with others and see what excites you
Follow your heart and then the race itself and the journey to it will be something that enriches and enhances your life!
Sometimes watching races can inspire you to want to do it yourself. Some people prefer doing that watching – I am one of those folk! But races do inspire people, the people running them grow and develop through the endeavour and those watching can gain insight and inspiration.
The world of racing competition
There are many running magazines on the shelves now and on line websites, so you can delve into a whole new world of racing and discover more about others and yourself in the process.
About the Author: Julia Chi Taylor
Julia is an ex international distance runner.
In the late 70’s all through the 80’s and into the early 90’s she competed regularly for England and GB at distances from 5k to Marathon. Some of her best performances include winning the 1985 Dublin Marathon and finishing 7th woman (3rd British woman) in the 1986 London Marathon in a time of 2.36.31 where she was selected to run in the Commonwealth Games.
She still competes now as a master over 55, regularly winning her age group in races around the world. She’s was also part of the winning team for the national master X country championships in March this year, 2016. Julia has coached and mentored others to achieve their dreams in sport and life for the past forty years!