Like the difference between successful CEOs and average business people who always struggle, professional runners do things differently than the rest of us.
Learn how to log your workouts, hydrate and study like a pro so that you can take your training to the next level. By incorporating the habits of professionals into your own running lifestyle, you can head into race day with the confidence that comes from complete preparation.
Log Like a Pro
Most professional runners keep detailed training logs so that they can track their progress, look out for warning signs, and notice patterns. Logging your training can be as personal or as public as you wish.
While some pros enjoy the old-fashioned pen-and-paper training logs, many choose to log their workouts online so others can view and offer feedback on their training. Don't just log your daily mileage; remember to also include how you feel from day to day. Using a scale can also help you notice patterns emerging in your training.
Rate your daily run on a scale of 1 to 10, from a completely terrible run of 1 to a absolutely perfect run of 10. If you have too many low-number days in a row, it can indicate that you may be overtraining or on the verge of illness and need to back off.
Hydrate Like a Pro
Pro runners understand that preventing dehydration in a long-distance race is a difficult because we lose water through sweating more quickly than what we can replace by drinking. It's critical to ingest the right amount of fluid, particularly if a race lasts longer than an hour and 20 minutes.
Professional runners don't wait until race day to fuel; they practice it beforehand.
It can take time to master the skill of drinking while running at a fast pace. Set up a small card table with a line of paper cups to practice grabbing and gulping on the go. This will help you hit the race day fluid stops with confidence.
Most big races have information on their website about the location of fuel stations. If you plan on drinking Gatorade on race day, make sure you practice drinking it beforehand. Your stomach handles fluid differently when it's under the distress of a hard pace; practice ingesting fluid during faster workouts to simulate how your body will handle fluid on race day.
Study Like a Pro
You have to race smart, not just hard, to be the best runner you can be. Professional runners are familiar with their strengths and weaknesses and work to improve their form based on the feedback from coaches and trainers.
Pro runners race are mindful of how they expend their energy. Before race day, you should know when to change gears in a race, when to engage your finishing kick and how to tuck behind others on a windy day to save energy.
Pay attention to your strengths and weaknesses. Do you have a strong finishing kick or are you able to grind for a long time in a lower gear? Are you motivated by passing people at the end of a race or fired up and ready to fight when someone passes you? Play to your strengths in a race and keep your arsenal of racing tactics in mind when you step to the line.
The best runners in the world waste as little energy as possible by keeping their form efficient and smooth even when they are hurting from the strain of a fast pace. Have your running gait videotaped and analyzed to unearth any flaws in your form you may not be aware of. Gait analysis is not only a way to become more efficient, it's also a way to help figure out what kinks along the kinetic chain may be causing repeat injuries.