Top Three Reasons Why You Should Run A Tune-up Race!
A tune-up race is a race that you run a month or more before your goal race. This race should be shorter than your goal race. Let's look at the top three reasons why you should consider one.
3. To Go Through Your Paces
You should do a tune-up race to prepare for your goal race day by doing a "practice race". You can practice using the hydration drink, energy gel or even your race day outfit. Get comfortable with your pacing strategy and most importantly, you can practice preparing your mind to race your best. We all spend a ton of time training our body and mind throughout our training cycle and I think that there is a specific type of brain training to be done during an actual race setting. While you're in the tune-up race think about where your mind drifts during the different phases of the race. Pinpointing these types of things allows you to work on them. For example, are you really worried about if your friends and family watching are in the right spots to cheer you on or are you fretting about if you can hold the pace you're running? These are things you can try to come up with solutions to before your real goal race. Of course, you can't magically make yourself able to hold specific paces but you can come up with a mantra to tell yourself when things get tough.
2. Reduce Stress
Lets face it, doing something that you don't usually do can really stress you out. Running a marathon for the first time or running your first trail race can be new territory and there's a lot of logistical things that you can become more comfortable with. Such as, pinning your bib, dealing with parking and figuring out what time works best for you to eat breakfast. By getting experience in generally how a race day goes you'll have less to worry about on race day. Think about how much doing a test run of a work or school presentation has helped in the past! Calm those nerves so you will be ready to fly!
1. Supported Speed Work
Tune-up races are a great way to get in a quality speed work session while being cheered on by a crowd and supported by aid stations along the way! If you have a marathon coming up consider doing a half-marathon as your tune-up race as it would be a perfect way to get the training you need done and to have a ton of fun doing it. Use the energy of the race and people around you to really dial in and you'll be ready at mile 24 to blaze through the last few miles.