iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston, Alberta

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott, Ontario

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas, New York

iRun because itís better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre, Ottawa, ON

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt, Halifax, NS

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan, Brampton, ON

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis, Ontario

iRun because itís fun when itís done Sue Matte, Ontario

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier, Gatineau, QC

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello, Ontario

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean, Ontario

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen, Manitoba

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail, Ontario

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua, Ontario

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker, Etobicoke, ON

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar, Saskatchewan

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan, Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott, Quťbec

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur, British Columbia

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk, Vancouver, BC

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent, Quťbec

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor, Saskatchewan

iRun because otherwise Iím grumpy Alexandre Charest, Quebec

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick, New Brunswick

iRun for me! Judi Wearing, Saskatchewan

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur, Quebec

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx, Ontario

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins, Alberta

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp, Ontario

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang, Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts, Ontario

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan, Ontario

iRun because itís a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney, British Columbia

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu, Ontario

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie, Yukon

iRun to my happy place and some days itís very Doreen May, Alberta

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton, British Columbia

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard, Alberta

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan, Ottawa, ON

iRun because Iíve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly, Ontario

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher, Alberta

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve, Ottawa, ON

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams, Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun for meKiza Francis, Ottawa,ON

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter, Clearwater , BC

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung, British Columbia

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde, Alberta

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle, New Brunswick

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua, Caledon, ON

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey, New Brunswick

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville, Ontario

iRun because itís like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson, Ontario

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour, Ontario

iRun because itís cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley, Stittsville, ON

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter, Alberta

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldnít Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall, Alberta

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith, Manitoba

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw, New Westminister, BC

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham, Avonmore, ON

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie, Ontario

iRun so I donít say never ever again Linda Klaric, Manitoba

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka, Alberta

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell, Quebec

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk, Calgary, AB

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes, Ontario

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer, Quebec

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey, British Columbia

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy, Ontario

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell, Quebec

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller, Laval, QC

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra, Ontario

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon, British Columbia

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird, Ontario

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza, British Columbia

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette, Carp, ON

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling, Ottawa , ON

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop, Yukon

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas, Ontario

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier, New Brunswick

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel, Calgary, AB

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell, Nova Scotia

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston, Nunavut

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil, Lombardy, ON

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson, British Columbia

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan, Brampton, ON

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava, Calgary, AB

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin, Manitoba

iRun because I canít dance Mario Javier, Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldnít Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby, Saskatchewan

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase, Nova Scotia

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris, Winnipeg, MB

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch, Ottawa, ON

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie, St-Antoine, NB

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh, Nottingham, UK

Cover photo from the current issue of iRun Magazine

Workout Wednesday

My Best Running Race

April 2013

Back to Table of Contents

The 'Oops' Factor

Ditch the excuses!

While walking around the finish area of a race, I often hear various answers to the inevitable question “How was your race?”

1. This injury or that injury has affected my training.
2. For this reason or that reason my race was affected.
3. I did or did not PB.
4. I think it was long.
5. I think it was short.

I rarely hear “I ran the best race I could today.” Or “I did everything right and am happy with my day.”

Anyone who knows a bit about goal setting also knows that goals have to be controllable. A person can only give 100% of themselves. As romantic as the idea may be, they cannot give 101%. It’s nothing personal, no one can, just like no one can really control the other competitors in the field. If they are faster, accept it. No one can control weather, either, or the exact course length (it is from the start line to the finish line, however accurately it is measured), or the crowd and the congestion it can cause. You can, on the other hand, control how you deal with the weather, how you pick your line through the crowd, and how you execute your fueling and pacing. These are pretty much the only things you can realistically control.

I can tell you the days where everything goes right – weather, course, legs, lungs, heart, equipment, interaction with the rest of the field – are very rare indeed. Savour them and learn from them.

Another thing you can control is your lead up to the race, and your expectations. What you do in the days before will affect your race day performance. They should also affect your expectations. For example, if your job requires you to stand for hours, then your legs will be more tired than if you were seated and relaxed in the days pre-race. If you know your best race day breakfast is oatmeal and you decide to go with bacon and eggs, that’s okay, but you should expect a different result than if you had your best fuel. Similarly, if the weather is not your favourite or conducive to fast times, lower your expectations.

In order to figure out what works for you, I suggest you try many things leading up to your less key races and when something works, do the same thing the next time.
• If that routine works again, then adopt it as a somewhat permanent routine to race preparation.
• If your routine did not work, then make note and learn from the experience.
• Change things up for the next time until you find a routine that does work for you and stick to it.
I like to use the analogy of a golf swing. Golf is a frustrating game when only about 5% of the shots in any one game are the ones that make you want to play again. All the others want to make you throw your clubs in the woods. And yet, all golfers do go back in the hopes of making 6% of their shots good ones.

Racing is the same thing: you can’t and won’t nail them all. Accept it, but keep trying. Focus on the good things, especially the good things within the not-so-good things. Assess the events in your race by what went right and how you dealt with what went wrong.

Okay, so that was more of a dissertation. What’s the Oops?

Well, in my humble opinion, the Oops would be ignoring this article.

• How was my lead up to the race: days before, breakfast, stress levels, warm-up?
• How well did I pace myself?
• How well did I deal with adversity?
• Did anything go wrong? How wrong did it go? Was it just a glitch or catastrophic failure?
• How much did whatever went wrong cost me? Anything less than 20 seconds is not worth mentioning, unless you missed your best time by 19 seconds. Someone in your way in the aid station is just bad timing or an elbow at the start is just part of the race. Forget about it and keep going.
• Was there anything I could have done to avoid whatever went wrong that would not have cost me time? (like look ahead or turn the volume down on the iPod so I could hear the people around me)
• When things got tough, did I crumble, or stay relaxed, fix the problem and move on losing little-to-no time?

• There are faster and slower race courses.
• There is such a thing as a fast day (reasonably flat course, fast field, windless and temps around 12 degrees Celsius) and there is such a thing as a slow day (small race, temps in the 30’s and maybe high humidity or windy).
• Injuries do affect results, but sometimes they help (more rested and inspired), so if you did not feel the injury during the race, you cannot claim it adversely affected you.
• Age and experience (or lack thereof).

Rick Hellard, head coach of Zone3sports in Ottawa, is a lifelong running addict. He’s also made or seen just about every mistake under the sun, making him a world-class expert in oops-prevention.

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