Thursday, November 3, 2011

Are we nervous yet?

My friend Tim Richter has started a new running blog. So far it's got just one post, but it's a good one, offering a frank discussion of pre-race jitters, which for him start several weeks before a race.

I was one of the people he asked about getting nervous, and I told him that I felt more "determined" than anxious. I haven't yet gotten butterflies in my stomach as I prepare for Richmond, and I don't typically get them for races until right before the starting gun sounds.

That doesn't mean that I don't have trouble sleeping the night before a big race, but even then it's typically due to being energized, rather than anxious about the race. Indeed, I often have trouble sleeping on ordinary nights, so there may be no relationship whatsoever between my sleep (or lack thereof) and pre-race jitters.

But even though I'm not nervous about the race, I still worry about it quite a lot. What will the weather be like on race day? (So far it's looking like 44 and Sunny at the start.) What if I catch the flu three days before the race? (Cry?) I spend way too much time with pace calculators, trying to figure out the optimum splits to help achieve my goal. Plus I write this blog, which, while it does have a bit of a following, certainly isn't attracting any sort of widespread notice. What other reason could there be for writing it than simply to have a place to vent my concerns about the race?

Speaking of which, you can find details of today's workout below.

Today was one of my last speed workouts before Richmond. We're now just 9 days out, and in serious taper mode. The workout schedule called for a much easier version of a familiar workout: Short tempo runs with even shorter breaks between. But instead of starting with a 22.5-minute run, today was just 4 X 9-minute tempos. Tommy, who will be running his first marathon in San Antonio the day after I run Richmond, joined me for the workout.

As expected, it was considerably easier than those other workouts, but probably because Tommy was running with me, we took them much faster than the planned 7-minute-mile pace. 6:36, 6:44, 6:32, and 6:41. The route was on a relatively-flat greenway, but legs 1 and 3 were slightly downhill, while 2 and 4 were slightly uphill, so I'd say we were running pretty close to equal effort the whole time. We were winded when we were done, but unlike in the past when I struggled on the cool-down run, today the cool-down felt nice and easy. We're on our way!


  1. Dang Dave, preparing for a sub-3, are ya? I read this before my morning run today for which I was supposed to 4 miles at race pace. I was thinking, "Dave did them for me so I can go back to bed." Heh, actually you helped motivate me so I got out and did them. Good job.

  2. Thanks Matt. Some of us are legitimately preparing for a sub-3. I will be ecstatic if I finish at 3:24:59 or better!