As runners gear up for their indoor seasons or winter marathons, personal bests are on the brain. The dream is for race day to go exactly as planned and runners to come away with a big shiny PB, but if that didn’t happen on race day here are some reasons why that could be.
You overcooked your training
Steve Magness highlighted in a story on Tuesday that when he was in the best shape of his life, during his senior year of college, he could barely run eight seconds off his 1,500m PB. “As I look back on my own training during this period, I think the culprit is clear. There was an insecurity that was filled by working hard. Because of several years of poor performance, I felt a need to prove that I was in shape. Every workout represented a test. Am I fit enough to hit my goal?”
Remember during your build that sometimes less is more. You want to finish very few workouts feeling completely wrecked. You’ve only got a few times a season that you can completely spend yourself–save one of those for race day.
You miscalculated the taper
Tapering is a delicate art: too much and you’re flat, too little and you’re tired.
For most marathoners the ideal taper length is about two weeks, but taperng involves some trial and error. Running is highly individual and what works for someone else may not work for you. This is why it’s so important to track you training, because if something didn’t work, having an idea of what you did is the first step to fine-tuning your process for future builds.
So if a two-week taper left you feeling a little sluggish, it’s important to monitor that and try something a little different the next time around.
RELATED: How to taper with Trevor Hofbauer
You’re too stressed out
Using too much mental energy can kill your legs almost as much as running a race before your race would. If you’ve been worried about this performance for days (or weeks) leading up to the event, you can reach the start line feeling flat.
If you find yourself getting a little too worked up ahead of the event, try and take some time away from thinking about running. Distract yourself, enjoy your taper–feeling relaxed is the best gift you can give yourself on race day.
You just had a bad day
Unfortunately, bad days just happen sometimes. There isn’t always a rhyme or reason for the days that don’t go to plan. Popular wisdom suggests that you’ll encounter a couple of these bad days every season. They make no sense, but they’ll happen to you.
Sometimes you encounter these days when you’re working out, other times it happens on race day. We know it won’t make the poor performance feel better, but you can’t hit it out of the park every day, and we promise this happens to every runner at least once.