Running Q&A Part 1

I was surprised by how many questions about running I got.  Like I said, I don’t share a lot by I’m always open to questions.  I would apologize but (let’s be honest here) do you really live your life to learn more about me and my running life?  I don’y have any races anytime right now, so posting more facts about my running instead it is. 

Do you have a pacing strategy in races? How does it vary from race to race?

I actually don’t really have any pacing strategies at all.  This sounds corny but I normally get into my rhythm and keep on keeping on.  I have found that if I take 5ks out 5 seconds slower than I had been (for me) a *perfect* (which how many of those do we have?) 5k first mile has been 5:35 and then I’m able to bring it back about 30 seconds slower because I’m not as dead.  Weird right?

I’d rather not be dead at the end.

I haven’t run a tapered half in 8 months (last was my 1:27.19) but obviously I just run that at a slower pace than shorter races.  My normal race strategy is take it out slower than I’d like and have more energy to bring it back at the end.  I know that is most people’s goals, but it really stinks if you are dead by mile 1.  (mentally and physically).

What’s your favourite and worst training session?

My favorite training session…I’m honestly not really sure about this.  For me, I’m still really new to running as far as training and speed workouts and all of that goes.  Some people really like to do track workouts, well I don’t.  I’d rather just run high easy mileage all the time.  Right now that has been working for me…will it forever?  No probably not…but right now it does.   I’d rather run 70-80 easy untimed, not worrying about pace, then 40 miles that are speedy.  Maybe that will change but for now I like it.

My favorite speed sessions have always been tempo runs though.    5 mile tempo runs always make me feel powerful because I can crank them out somewhere around 30-35 minutes.  I don’t have to motivate myself for 2 hours of track workouts…  I don’t really like track workouts at all so I say all of those to my least favorites.

This half marathon 2 years ago ended on a counts...(the Run for a dream on W&M)
This half marathon 2 years ago ended on a track…it counts…(the Run for a dream on W&M)

What’s your “pre-race routine?” Eats, stretches, music, (prayers?! haha), etc. Is it the same? Strict? Loose?

My pre-race routine..I normally eat 3-4 hours beforehand.  Always…if the race is at 7, I’m waking up at 4.  I know so many hate to eat before racing…not me, I don’t race well if I don’t have something in my system.  But in all honesty, the same thing goes for running in general.  I run better if I’ve eaten. I would physically rather run after eating an hour before then run on an empty stomach.

Anyways-I also drink a lot of coffee to keep myself awake and to post coffeeaday photos….  I normally have 24 ounces (my coffee mug size…) on the way to race.

My warm up depends on the race distance…longer races=shorter warmup.  5ks I like to do about 4 miles.  Half marathons I’ll do about 1 mile if that.

I don’t listen to music during races or really before (maybe just I the car ride).  I’m not a prayer person before races either.  I know a lot of girls on my XC team were.  Anyways-as you can see I’m pretty casual with that sort of thing (something I could NEVER say about before a swim race).

If you have anymore questions: tweet, email, respond here…I always love responding.

Questions for you:

1.       Do you have a prerace routine?

2.       Do you eat before you workout? 

Categories: Tags: ,


  1. My pre-race routine is still a work in progress. I had it down to a science for swimming but running is a whole different entity. We wake up around 5 for most meets and I’ve been having oatmeal for breakfast which I can’t stand so that’s changing soon. I wish I had that kick at the end like you can do! I always have to take it out fast because I know that if I don’t, people with a bigger kick than me will pass me anyways later on so I go out hard and then try to hang on. I’ve never been able to use that stored up energy at the end to make me faster.
    And we all know how I feel about speed… can’t wait for those 60+ milers coming my way this summer.

    1. my swimming was far more strict when I was behind the blocks. I had a little prerace dance I did. LOL, I don’t ever take my races out fast and then have a built up kick. We are probably like opposites!

  2. I always have to eat a few hours before any sort of workout (2 if I’m lifting, 3 or so if I’m running/HIIT-ing). It gives me so much more energy vs. exercising with absolutely nothing in my system.

  3. I have the same racing strategy for the 10k, start a little slower and build (mostly because I’m not a speedster off the line) everyone I’ve ever discussed this strategy with thinks I’m nuts, but I’m so distance oriented, it’s what works for me. I have to approach the 5k as though it’s all out from the get-go, I run it completely different, and even find myself running with different form…I haven’t done very many 5ks so maybe that different form is normal?!
    and YES to eating before racing, I have to. and I prefer to eat breakfast before running, if I were only going out for a short run I could probably go on empty, but I usually never know when I’m coming back from a run 🙂
    I hope your week is off to a great start!

  4. I never have a pacing strategy either – I don’t look at my Garmin and generally have no idea how I’m doing unless there’s a clock on the course at various mile markers or the halfway point. I’m glad even proper runners don’t obsess over track workouts and glue their eyes to the Garmin the whole race (I never understand how people don’t trip over doing this…)

    Pre-race I have to drink at least three cups of coffee – I am so immune to caffeine that any less has no effect 😛 I don’t like eating before I run but for races I don’t have much choice – they’re never as early in the UK as they are in the US, so with marathons generally starting anywhere from 9:30am to 11:00am it would be pretty awful not to have eaten anything at all! Doesn’t bother me as much for 10Ks but I haven’t run one of those in ages (I hate running to the point of pukesville – I would much rather run further at a slower pace for sure!)


    1. A lot of my winter races start around 11am too which is lovely because then I wake up around 11. Where I have raced the past few summers in VA, it’s too hot to start a race anytime after 7 am. Amen though about longer races. 5ks are all about the vom train.

  5. I’m still figuring out pre-race routines for some distances, but I really envy how you can start out slow and get faster as you run- and I agree that it sucks if you’re dead at mile 1, especially in a long race! I start out way too fast in 5Ks and short distances, and half marathons I think I psych myself out with how long it will be and sometimes start slower, which isn’t a bad thing! Like you I also perform better after eating breakfast, at least for races.

    And yeah, if the race is at 7, I get up at 4. People are like “You’re so dedicated”, and I’m like nah, I just need time for my breakfast to digest so I can go to the bathroom before the race… LOL.

    1. LOL, amen to that. I actually think 5ks are the worst because they are painful to begin with then having to to be in more pain after .5 miles…oh my stars.

      1. Yeah, 5Ks are way more mental. If you want to pass someone, you gotta do it. You have to concentrate for the 3.1 miles and not let your mind wander, in a half you can get away with a little slowing down or mind wandering, but not in a 5K. And, a lot of times in a half, people will run out of gas at mile 10 or so, you just don’t have that long to spare in a short race like 5K!

  6. I have to eat before my runs, too. When I first started racing, I wasn’t as careful about fueling beforehand and would get really sick afterwards. I learned my lesson on that one pretty quickly and now I’m vigilant about making sure I’ve had plenty of water/food before my start time.

  7. I can’t eat a ton before a race but I always drink coffee. I either eat something very small or candy. yep candy, my best races have been started with a few sweet tarts popped.

  8. I am with you on going out a bit slower and having juice left at the end. I would be pissed if I went out too hard and bonked at the end so I just don’t put myself in that situation, lol. And yes, I need food before a workout…a Clif bar before long runs or oatmeal for semi-long runs…coffee before as well so I can crap in the comfort of my own home rather than in a bush.

    1. Exactly! And you and those ultras…I’m not even going to pretend I would know how that would feel like to be dead after a few miles…which a few miles would be like 10 LOL

  9. I don’t really have a pre-race routine. I need caffeine in some form (whether it’s coffee, tea, nuun with caffeine… etc.) but then I’m good to go.

    And I also have to eat before running. If I don’t then the whole time I’m running I just think about food, haha.

  10. I don’t like track workouts either! I’d much rather run a tempo than run laps around a track. I have to have something in my system before racing (and running in general). If I’m running long and I know I’ll have more than 2-3 hours between breakfast and the race (like Disney and Boston), I’ll also have a gel or a small snack right before the race. I do much better if I’m fueled.

  11. I’m prob the weirdest person ever, but I run better on an empty stomach… I think it’s cause I usually get naucous if I eat something because all I’m thinking about is food jumping around lol

  12. I have tried so many times to eat before a race and every single time I burp up whatever it is, even half a freakin’ banana. It’s annoying because it does feel better running with something in your system but my body just does not like to make it comfortable. I stick with coffee. Coffee is always the answer.

    I keep everything pretty casual, too. I barely stretch (which is known to be bad) and I don’t even do a warm-up run. Maybe that’s why I’m having so many surgeries. Oops.

    I hate running on a track. I don’t know how people do it. At least treadmills have a television but tracks are just boring.

    1. Eh I just think some people are more injury prone then others. That could be us. If you are too tight knit you are just asking to have a boring miserable real life…

  13. I don’t have much exact routine before races, since I’m still fairly new to actual races and carig about them lol. The worst part for me is eating before hand. I’m trying to find the best thing that works for me still. Right now I’ve been experimenting before my long runs on the weekend

  14. It was fun reading about your racing strategies! I generally eat a little something before my longer/harder runs so I don’t pass out or feel light headed since I generally run first thing in the morning. I don’t have a rigid pre-race routine, but I have been listening to the same song (it’s in German but it has a good beat to it) for about a year now as I’m in my corral to get myself pumped up.

  15. That was a fun! I like your approach, very laid back. Also I agree that the tempo runs make me feel like a boss. 6 is my happy place (1 warm, 1 cool) because I feel like 4 miles at whatever speed is doable! And then I can look back and say heck yes I just did that!

  16. Pre-race routine made me think of swimming. Crap my routine was nuts. Maybe that’s how I always worked myself up so much haha. It’s different with running though because it’s mostly just for fun! And so I don’t blow up like a balloon.

  17. I am so envious of runners who understand their pacing down to the second like you and many others. That is a big goal of mine to work toward this year. I doubt I’ll ever be THAT in tune, but I can vastly improve!
    Awesome post!

  18. Not going to lie – LOVE your running post mainly because I really look up to you as a runner. I’ll admit that I love running slower, long distances but sometimes kicking out a speedy run is just what I need for the day. Normally I don’t eat before I run because of bathroom issues (if you know what I mean haha) but before a race you best believe I suck it up!

    1. Really?! Because I absolutely love your running mentality. I always love reading your running posts as well. I totally get it though and I know a lot of people just don’t like to eat before they run…makes sense.

  19. Definitely with you on the tempo vs. speed work front. For sure!! And I also need to eat before I run. If not, I feel like I’m hitting a wall before the end of the second mile (well, that’s what happened the one time I tried it. Never, ever again). Currently, my pre-race routine involves asking where the start line is and in which direction we’ll be running (can you tell that I’m always super incredibly overly well-prepared and informed? yep. Not so much!). Not obsessing has become my new pre-race strategy. It’s working well so far!!

  20. Love hearing about your pre-race routine. Like you, I need to eat and have coffee beforehand–you can’t run if your still asleep, right? 😉

  21. I actually find people’s running habits/details fascinating so I’m glad you shared 🙂 I’m most curious about people’s pre-race/run routines because it’s been so tough for me to figure out mine. I absolutely cannot run on an empty stomach either but I also can’t run on a full one (holy heartburn!).

  22. I love reading about everyone else’s running. I also have to eat before races, so I wake up early, go to bed, wake up again to have coffee, then get going. I don’t warm up before anything other than a 5k, where I’ll do.. a mile. Maybe.

  23. WHOOOAA you ran that half marathon at W&M……… did I……and we didn’t know each other back then….CRAZY. anyway lol I hate track workouts too. And I also don’t have a pace strategy for races, I just kinda find my groove and check in every once in awhile. I don’t know if that would work for me in shorter distance, I haven’t raced a 5k in like….let’s not talk about it lol. I too have to eat before a race but usually I just eat my weight in pasta the night before and then have a small snack about 2 hours beforehand. Though maybe if I ate more the morning of I’d be faster….all things to think about! Love reading about your running, it’s like I get to run vicariously through you while I’m a gimp haha 😀

    1. I didn’t run it last year but ran it two years ago and might run it again this year. That’s my pacing strategy too…kinda check in and go with the flow LOL.

  24. You don’t listen to music?! That is damn impressive! If I don’t have music or a tv blasting in my ears I am way too conscious of my movements and breathing and I can’t get a rhythm.

  25. aw, I love track workouts! I feel like they really help me out. I used to be deathly afraid of the track, but I have gotten over that.
    As for eating before races, it really depends. For track, we have plenty of time so I usually just have oatmeal and banana, and if it’s even farther from the race, I’ll have a picky bar or another easily-digested bar. and allllllways coffee. If it’s an early morning road race I’ll usually just wake up in time to eat a picky bar (only takes me about 1-2 hours to digest) and it lasts me.

  26. So when I am a day behind on your blog (I know I know bad blogger… haha) There are way more comments. So I love that you are like me and eat before something like a race. For me it is no matter what I have breakfast. So I have a 6am lab meeting? OK I will still wake up earlier and get ready/eat. I think our bodies run better on fuel (actually from metabolic I know they do) and I sort of roll my eyes at the I can’t eat ANYTHING before running because I know that metabolically your body and performance will thank you later for eating. Thank you for being a laid back runner, you make it seem a lot less stressful than some which is why I have never questioned your enjoyment of the sport

  27. I always eat before I workout. I just have to! I think I have a stomach of steel in those regards from swimming. I used to eat dinner and jump in the pool minutes later LOL.

Comments are closed.