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Why runners should schedule a time trial

The case for putting a time trial on the calendar

Canadians are entering some of the best running months of the year. With spring in full swing and summer almost upon us, most runners are getting excited about hitting the track, road or trail in shorts and feeling the sun. If you had a spring or summer race on the calendar that has since been cancelled, motivation can run low (even with the nice weather), but the sheer terror of doing poorly on race day can really kick you out of bed in the morning. If you find yourself wishing you had an immediate goal to work towards, consider scheduling a time trial this spring.

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The pros are doing it

Natasha Wodak, Sierra Boucher (Nick Willis‘s wife) and Leah O’Connor are just a few pros who are testing their fitness on the roads. Wodak was scheduled to do the Vancouver Sun Run on Sunday, and instead went for a 10K, which she finished in 33:47. Willis’ wife, Sierra Boucher, went out a ran a 5K personal best by 30 seconds while her kids napped and NCAA mile champion O’Connor ran a 15:44 5K on some country roads.


It can be a family project

If you’re struggling to come up with new activities for your kids, consider choosing a time trial distance that the entire family can do together. If you’re used to training for a marathon, this is a great time to choose a shorter distance that your kids can be successful at, too, and work on your speed. Schedule a family 5K or mile time trial and see how everyone stacks up.

The other benefit of a shorter distance is that it can be completed in your neighbourhood, so you can avoid veering too far from home.

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Manage expectations

Time trials are supposed to be a way for runners to get excited about races to come, not discourage them. If you’re planning a time trial, make sure you remember that this isn’t a replica of a race. There’s a magic energy you get on race day that’s difficult to recreate outside of that environment. Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re not running a personal best in your neighbourhood TT. But if you do, big kudos to you.

It’ll get you excited about hitting the start line for real

Running either your desired race distance, or even an off-distance, can help get you excited for future start lines. Treat your time trial day like a race day. Set a gun time, have your cheering crew present and plan a post-race party (with the people you live with).