Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Cherry Blossom Season

It is that time of year again.  It is Cherry Blossom season.  Washington, DC is a huge attraction to tourists this time of year, with people coming out to view the Cherry Blossoms in peak condition.  I love this time of year in DC.  Particularly, because one of the best races in the country is run right in Washington, DC- The Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run.  This race is special because it is professionally done, attracts famous runners, nearly 20,000 people run it, and the course is right in the heart of DC.  There are all kinds of runners who do it-elite, competitive, fitness enthusiasts, first time 10 milers, and so on.  Everyone running may have different goals, but everyone also has the common goal of reaching the finish line.  As I have run this race year after year, many of the mid pack runners have cheered for me DURING the race and I always feel bad because I cannot glance to see who they are or call their names(because of the speed I am running), but it is really cool to hear-so if you are on of those people-thank you!!  It helps!!  What I enjoy doing immediately after finishing or as soon as I can catch my breath, is to cheer for runners/clients I coach or know as they approach the finish.  It's a really nice thing for me after I'm done racing to focus on someone else's race other than my own.  (You can get so caught up in your own head after a race!)  Since 2010, I have done this race every year.  One very cool thing I found out this week is that Meb Keflezighi is running.  I hope he races, which I would guess he is.  Whatever he ends up doing, it's cool to have him in the event this year.  He is certainly one of the most inspiring runners in America today.  He made the Olympic Marathon Team-and he is nearly 41 years old!

Below I give some tips on the race:

*Run your OWN race.  Meaning, focus on what YOU know works for YOU.  Don't let others dictate how you run your race.  If they start out too fast for you, let them go.  You'll run better at the pace that works for you.  Run by what feels right.  So don't get too caught up in numbers.  It's not uncommon for runners to surprise themselves by running a quicker pace than they thought they would-the key is as long as they feel OK.  If it's the other way around, slow down and pace yourself!

*Take advantage of the many people around you(especially if you are in the mid-pack), and use them to help you run your goal pace!  Cherry Blossom is a unique race where there will be many running the time you are trying to run.  Out front it is less opportunity to do this.  If you are trying to run 8:00 pace(and that is a realistic goal for you), find others shooting for the same.  Working together will help you achieve your goals.

*Run the Tangents: Tangents are the shortest point from a certain location on the road to another.  Watch the road you are running on and look ahead at the curves to run as straight of a line as possible.  That will get you quickest time.  One runner I coach, Tracy, followed this advice and improved her 10 mile time from 1:17 to 1:16(she was also in better shape, so she beat her time by well over 1 minute, but running the tangents certainly helped her cut even more additional time off).

*Visualize your race before.  Practice meditation as to how you will run your race and what you will need to focus on to achieve your goal.

*Bring sunglasses!  Sunglasses help the face stay relaxed while racing.  When you are squinting, your face tightens up, as well as your body.  You will run more smoothly, which will help your muscles move better!

*Don't think too much.  Seriously.  Don't worry if some of your splits are off, just run by feel and go for it.  You will get a lot more out of your race and yourself if you do this.  Think of a race as getting from point A to point B as fast and efficiently as you can.  Don't rely on your GPS watch(they aren't 100% accurate!) because the mile markers are what counts in the race.  Look at those around you and tell yourself who you can catch.  I think it is ok to race with GPS watches, just remember the course is layed out and measured-so that's what will count, regardless of your GPS beeping before you cross the line.

GOOD LUCK to all racing and running Cherry Blossom this weekend!!

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