TT: What I Learned from my Best Race

Next week’s topic is What did you learn from your best race?

Ok, I am a week early (but my tips for using a treadmill are “go outside.” lol)

First of all, how do you define your “BEST” race?

Is it a PR?  Is it one that you ran as planned?  Is it one that you had the most fun at?

I am going to talk about my Half Marathon PR:

Steel Rail HM – May 2017

Here is what I learned from that race:

  • Rest Days during the week before the race are important.

In fact, I need two before race day and no shakeout run on race morning.

  • Running All the Miles on the plan is not always necessary.

For me, that is over training. I’ve done better when I skip some of my long runs or shorten them (and run a 5k race).

  • Elevation matters.

I prefer flat but not totally flat. Hills but not too many or too steep. I have run one downhill race and it didn’t turn out great.

  • Walking is Okay.

I usually just walk at the water stops but that depends on how often they are. If I try not to walk, my pace slows down…a lot. Of course, that means you can’t walk slow or for a long time.

  • What you Wear matters.

For me, everything must match. lol.

I cannot be over dressed. I’d rather be cold. (I run warm.)

a tank to run in but always have warm clothes for after the race

My feet have issues. So I need new(ish) shoes!!

  • I need to Fuel my Body.

During a half marathon, I eat a GU every 3-5 miles.  Usually 3 during the race.  Sometimes even one before (if my breakfast was more than 2 hours earlier.) When I don’t eat enough, I don’t have the energy to run well.

  • A Watch does NOT make you faster.

This PR was at a race where my Garmin kept re-setting after mile 6 and mile 12 so I had no idea of my time until I crossed the finish line.

When I ran by feel, I didn’t slow down worrying that my pace was too fast and I need to save my legs for later miles. I just ran … for fun! No pressure, I think that made all the difference.

  • A Positive Attitude is essential.

Mind over Mater, right?  If you go into the race thinking negative thoughts, it will probably not be a good one.

I knew that this race did not have a challenging course as half marathons go. I had run the same course 7 months earlier and did well. So I entered the race relaxed and feeling good.

  • Anything can happen on Race Day!!

All of the above could be in place and you can have the worst race ever.

Feb 2021 – 30 minutes slower

The good news is that hopefully it will not be your last race and your best race could be right around the corner.

Happy Running! What have you learned from your “best” race? Please share. 


Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

31 thoughts on “TT: What I Learned from my Best Race

  1. It would be hard to pick a best race. FL may have been it, not because it was my fastest — although it was my fastest at the time — but it was one of those rare races I was just in the flow state. I’ve had others like that, where I just knew I was going to do well — but as we know, they are rare.

    All the stars can align and sometimes it’s still not a good race. Or you do everything “right” and it’s still not a good race.

    I like new-ish shoes before a race. Doesn’t every runner?


  2. Yes to all your points, Darlene!
    For me, the mental aspect is quite important. If I have prepared well for the race and feel confident, that’s always a plus. I then need to make sure that I don’t put too much pressure on myself. Once I’ve hit that balance, a race will usually go well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have had a lot of good races–I guess my best race would have been that Chicago Marathon where it all came together. Last spring’s 20k in Madison was my best race in a very long time–I sure hope it isn’t my last good race!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i like your pointer that your outfit must match, ha ha.
    I guess my best race was where everything came together- training, weather, fueling… some of it is out of our control, so when all those things merge on the same day, it’s amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting post!
    I agree on everything but I think that running (almost) all the miles of the plan could be important to convince us, just in case of a crisis, that we can do it.
    I walked at the water stop during the marathons but only after the 25° km.
    My best race was not the fastest or when I won the a.g. but my first marathon 31 years ago: it was a special feeling, I didn’t succeed in believing that I did it!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. Most likely my one and only marathon was my biggest accomplishment.

      I do think you need to do all the long runs just not overdo it.


  6. My best race would be my second marathon. I haven’t attempted another one because I fear that it won’t be as good. It was cold and raining and I think that made the nerves go away. At that point I was just focused on finishing. My mindset shifted to having fun, enjoying the course and taking it all in. I felt great, I finished in a time I was proud of and truly the best day I could have ever asked for. Turns out I actually ran with an injury that I had no idea about until afterwards but even then, I still consider that my best race.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My first and only marathon made me the proudest and I hesitate to do another because it won’t be as good. I did have perfect weather.


  7. I think for me my best races are the ones where I feel strong and know that I pushed myself but didn’t crash and burn. I also think I run best on rolling hills. I’ve never done a downhill race but I’m sure it would be hard on my quads.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t really name a “best” race, but I’ve had several great races in recent years (for which I’m very grateful). I agree that all the variables need to come together (weather. terrain, fuel, rest, etc.)…BUT for me that all needs to spontaneously happen on race day. If I go into a race knowing everything has the potential to be great, often times I get over confidant. My half marathon, two weeks ago went well, and I attribute a great deal of that was from my watch malfunction (sound familiar?).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When I think of my best races, I think of how strong I felt running the race and if there was good energy in the crowds. I think having the right outlook on race day can make a big impact. When I’m worrying a ton, that can negatively impact my racing!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: TT: What I Learned From My Worst Race – My First 5K and More…

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