Quick Tip: How to Prepare an Appropriate Race Plan for Your Goal Race

After weeks and months of logging miles in preparation for your race, the big day is almost here.

What do you do in the days leading up to a goal race?

Hopefully, you’re respecting the rules of the taper.

Also hopefully, you’re not dealing with a case of the taper crazies.

One thing that you should be doing in the days leading up to your race is to put your race day plan together.

The Importance of a Sound Race Plan

You do know you need a good race plan, right?

Ok. Maybe you don’t “need” a plan for your race. But having one isn’t a bad idea.


Because having a plan to follow will help you stay on track during your race.

And if you can stay on track with your race plan, you are putting yourself in a very good position to nail your goals.

So yeah, having a plan in place is a pretty good idea.

But now for the $1,000,000 question: how do you actually put a race plan together?

It’s as Much Art as It is Science

A lot of runners think that having a race plan is as simple as figuring out what pace you need to run each mile in to hit your goal.

If only it was that simple…

In truth, creating a good race plan requires that you blend a mix of art and science.

Yes, you need to know what your overall pace needs to be in order to reach your desired time goal.

That is the science part of the equation.

But like I said, it’s not that simple.

You also need to create the plan that you’ll follow in order to actually get you to the finish line in the appropriate amount of time.

And that is where the art is required.

Tips to Help Color Within the Lines

While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to creating art, there are definitely some guidelines that are followed to help the greatest of artists to create their next masterpiece.

And the same applies to you while you’re putting your race plan together.

There are no hard and fast rules, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind to help you create the right plan for you and your goals.

How Did Your Training REALLY Go?

Odds are, you started training for your race some 4+ months ago.

And when you put your training plan together, you did so with an eye on being ready to achieve your goals for this specific race.

But rarely is it the case that a training plan goes as designed.

So before you create your race plan, you’d be wise to take an honest look at how your training actually went.

Do you get most of your workouts in? Did you hit your paces for the various workouts?

Analyzing your training will give you a better idea of if your original goal is still possible, out of reach, or perhaps no longer challenging enough.

Before you start actually writing your race plan, it’s a good idea to look at your fitness to help you with your planning.

Double Check the Course Layout

If this is your first time running a particular race, you’d be wise to check out the course profile before you start writing your plan.

You may know the basics of the course, but your expectations may not always be the same as the reality.

Some races, such as Boston, are a net downhill course but have some serious hills that you must climb.

Lots of races advertise themselves as “flat and fast” but usually have a small hill or two that must be navigated.

Knowing where you’ll be able to open up the throttle and go, versus where you must keep things a bit more under control, is helpful in putting your race plan together.

Avoid Overplanning

While not having a plan at all is a bad idea, having a plan with too much detail isn’t good either.

While you’re out there running a race, the last thing you really want to do is have too many thoughts rattling around in your brain.

So keeping your race day plan as simple as possible is ideal.

Everyone Has Plan Until They Get Punched in the Face

Odds are something is going to go off the rails at some point and you’ll have to change it on the fly.

With that in mind, you might think that putting a race plan together isn’t worth the time or the hassle.

And you’d be wrong.

Having a race plan in place is helpful not only before the proverbial punch hits you in the mush, but it also helps you get back on track after the unexpected happens.

A Final Word…

Ultimately, a good race plan won’t guarantee that you’ll reach your goals on race day.

Likewise, not having a plan doesn’t doom you to race day disappointment.

But we all know that the shortest route between two points is a straight line.

Having a specific plan for your race is akin to said straight line.

It helps you know what you need to do in order to get from the starting line to the finish line in the desired amount of time.

Then it just comes down to you and how well you can execute your plan on race day.

Originally published at www.dizruns.com on September 28, 2018.