For today’s newsletter, Coach Sandi Nypaver is going to walk you through some of the lessons she’s learned over the years for why it can be helpful to use a race as a training run leading up to your “A” race.

Lesson 1: Mental Toughness 🧠

Racing isn’t just about physical exertion—it’s a mental game, too. By approaching a race as a training run, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to strengthen your mental fortitude. No matter how hard we train when we’re by ourselves, there’s nothing can compare to the mental toughness needed to push your limits during a real race. Embrace the challenge, stay positive, and practice mindfulness both on and off the trails. You’ll be amazed at how this mindset shift can enhance your performance on race day.

Lesson 2: Race-Day Routine Refinement 🏁

Using a race as a training run allows you to fine-tune your race-day routine. From pre-race fueling to post-race recovery, pay attention to what works for your body. Experiment with different nutrition strategies, pacing techniques, and mental preparation rituals. Now is the time to make mistakes and try things out! You do not want to be experimenting with any equipment or nutrition the morning of your race. By the time your goal race rolls around, you’ll have a tried-and-true plan in place for success.

Lesson 3: Physical Limit Exploration 😮‍💨

Pushing your limits in a race setting can reveal valuable insights about your current fitness level. Racing as a training run gives you the freedom to test your boundaries without the pressure of achieving a specific time or placement. Pay attention to how your body responds to different terrains, distances, and pacing strategies. Use this information to adjust your training plan and set realistic goals for future races.

Lesson 4: Recovery 😴

One of the most important lessons from using a race as a training run is learning to prioritize recovery. Listen to your body and give it the rest and nourishment it needs to bounce back stronger. Whether it’s taking a rest day, incorporating active recovery activities, or simply getting extra sleep, honor your body’s signals and take care of yourself. Remember, recovery is just as crucial as training when it comes to achieving your running goals.

Lesson 5: Perspective and Gratitude 🙏

Finally, racing as a training run reminds us to appreciate the journey as much as the destination. Embrace the opportunity to run alongside fellow athletes, soak in the beauty of the trails or roads, and celebrate every milestone, big or small. Running is about more than just crossing the finish line—it’s about the friendships forged, the challenges overcome, and the moments of pure joy along the way.

So, the next time you’ve identified an “A” race for your schedule, consider adding in a race part way through your training block to help dial in your routines for the big day! Embrace the lessons learned, cherish the experiences gained, and keep chasing those goals. Until next time, happy running!

  • Coach Sandi Nypaver