How often does everything fall into place perfectly for a race?
Sadly, that’s probably true.
And it’s also probably true that the odds of everything being even close to perfect for race day aren’t great either.
So when the stars seem to be more or less aligned as race day approaches?
It might make sense to swing for the fences.
A Tale of Two Races
I was recently on a consult call with a runner that has had a run of bad luck on the training front of late.
Illness. Terrible weather. A bit of life thrown in for good measure.
Anyway, this runner has a marathon coming up and a solid enough base that there isn’t any real concern about running the 26.2 miles.
But going for a PR? Probably not a realistic option.
So we were discussing different strategies for the race and I made a comment saying that basically any option short of a PR attempt was doable.
Run it for fun? Have a time goal, but not one that would be overly stressful? Run it as a workout, maybe a fast finish?
All were viable in my opinion, none of them better than others.
Which is quite the contrast from a previous call I had with this same runner.
In that instance, everything seemed to be lining up as close to perfectly as possible.
Training was spot on. The little things had been done. The weather forecast was predicting near-ideal conditions.
This was the race to throw caution to the wind and be aggressive, in my view, because these types of opportunities are rare at best.
When Opportunity Knocks…
So am I trying to convince you that the only time to go for a PR is when the stars seem to be aligned?
You know as well as I do that PRs and strong races don’t require everything to line up perfectly.
If you like racing hard and things are gone well enough in the lead-up to the race? Then, by all means, go for it!
And when things are something closer to a hot mess ahead of a race? The right call is probably to adjust the expectations in a way that makes.
But if you’re fortunate enough to have a near-perfect scenario? With both the controllables and the uncontrollables seem to be working out in your favor?
It might just make sense to go for it.
Is there a chance you’ll blow up and stagger across the line a with less-than-great finish? Sure.
But there’s also a chance you’ll exceed your previous expectations by a wide margin by taking advantage of an opportunity you might never be fortunate enough to experience again.
I think for most of us, some race day risks probably worth taking.
Are You Willing to Take Big Race Day Risks?
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