Race day effect?

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Jan 2016
12:34pm, 27 Jan 2016
409 posts
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larkim
We all know the feeling (I hope!) - you turn up on race day and perform above the level that you are able to perform at in training, whether that be a 800m specialist or someone who specialises in longer distance stuff.

How do you factor this into training plans etc? e.g. Hal Higdon HM plans talk about race pace runs in the few weeks prior. But in all honesty, I might not be able to hit that race pace for 4-6 miles, even though on race day I'll go through those distances at faster paces and feel comfortable.

And what causes those race day blips - is it just the singled minded focus on the race, different preparation in terms of food etc, running on someone else's heels etc etc?
Jan 2016
12:42pm, 27 Jan 2016
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Bazoaxe
I get this all the time and almost always find more in a race, even a weekly parkrun, than I can in training.

I think it mostly comes from having others about you that you can run with or chase down (or keep ahead)

Also for bigger races I think the culmination of training and a proper taper also have an impact. I know for some marathons I have stood on the start line like a coiled spring ready to be let loose. The challenge with that though is exercising early speed control so you don't blow up.

Based on all the evidence I have I tend to pick my target and set my plan, but as recently as last saturday where I PBd at parkrun something just clicked on the day. I was hoping to duck just under 19 mins and was planning even paced of just above 6mm. Mile 1 5:55 and in the past that has led to a blow up especially as there was a 2nd half headwind to look forward to. Mile 2 was 5:58 and I realised that I was handing the headwind and decided just to bury myself. Just before mile 3 when I was at 5:58 pace I slowed and that mile ended a 6:03 but I picked up to about 5:40mm pace and finished in 18:38, a time that I have never been near and never shown any indications of running. I was in groups and catching people throughout and that kept me motivated

Not sure that helps really....
Jan 2016
1:02pm, 27 Jan 2016
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larkim
I'm trying to keep the mystery mysterious a little for now, but it would be interesting if there was any science in it. Of course, the aim of any training plan is to culminate in the best possible performance on the day, so to an extent we shouldn't be surprised if we are at our peak. But that doesn't go to explain parkrun mid-training performances for example, as you suggest Baz (congrats btw!)
Jan 2016
1:14pm, 27 Jan 2016
11,278 posts
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Dvorak
The collective excitation of the noosphere causes stimulation of the Bose-Einstein condensate in the individual, enabling quantum level augmentation of performance.
Jan 2016
2:02pm, 27 Jan 2016
287 posts
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tonyp2604
Don't know - maybe more adrenaline in a competitive environment? Out on your own, no one is overtaking you - generally. Different mindset during a race I suppose.
Jan 2016
5:52pm, 27 Jan 2016
613 posts
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jdarun
Taper, drafting, but also motivation/adrenaline must play a big part for me (even for a minor race that I'm not really bothered about). I find I can't get my pulse up anywhere close to race levels when training solo.
Jan 2016
7:17pm, 27 Jan 2016
414 posts
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larkim
That's the oddity that I found at Helsby - whereas getting close to 7min/mile in training was taking me up to my usual threshold of 170bpm, I sustained 7min/mile at 164bpm at Helsby and felt reasonably comfortable.
Jan 2016
8:24pm, 27 Jan 2016
9,561 posts
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Bazoaxe
I've seen my hr really high. Above 100 standing on a start line. Nerves ?
Jan 2016
8:27pm, 27 Jan 2016
37 posts
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thing
Adrenaline would do that, Baz.
Jan 2016
9:57pm, 27 Jan 2016
4,172 posts
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Wooters
I find I just run as fast as I can till it fucking hurts then carry on till the end. Sorry this don't help much but that's how every race feels to me. Train as I might it's always the same, I manage a racepace I could not do in training just cos it's a race.

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