Tomorrow is a big day many of our Run Club Members will be toeing the line at an Independence Day Four Miler. Whether its Arnold Mills in Cumberland or the Quonnie 4 Miler or the Little Compton 4.8 miler you'll be ready to rock I'm sure! Four Miles or 4.8 can be a tricky distance, especially for those of us who are used to the 5k distance. Run it like a 5k and you'll be sucking wind at mile 3, pull back too much and you'll be kicking yourself for having too much in the tank. I'll take you through my mindset during a 4 mile race in hopes that it will help give you a leg up on the competition this 4th of July.
before the race
Its always helpful to get an idea of what the course looks like before you run it. Where is that hill at mile 3 is it really that bad? Is the downhill finish really all that downhill? Answering questions like these are helpful and the best way to get those answers is to get out on the course beforehand. Preparing yourself mentally is always a good idea too, like I said in the intro the 4 mile distance is different know that when you hit mile 3 theres still a little ways to go.
"Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body" - Lynn Jennings, Three-Time World Cross Country Champion.
The first mile of any race is exciting. Its super easy to get pulled out with the crowd, be sure to know beforehand what pace you're comfortable at and stick with it. If you've got the Garmin going it can be super helpful in adjusting on the fly. When you get to mile 1 there are usually folks giving splits so listen for it and don't be deflated if you're too slow or get too nervous if you're too fast. Stay cool you've got a little ways to go.
Mile 2 is where the rubber meets the Rhode we've gotten through the first mile and whether we were on pace or not we now know what must be done. We've either got to reel it in a bit and settle back into our goal pace, pick it up a bit and very slowly make up ground or we chill right where we're at and glide. Get those feet under you and cover ground.
Now the mental game starts to be played, usually mile 3 is our last mile, we've done a bunch of 5ks and its time to start picking up the pace right? Not so much. Remember we've got a whole 'nother mile after this. You may start feeling the effort of the race a bit more this mile too, legs are tiring its getting a little tougher to breath but remember your training, trust it. If you've hit the track with us, you've built strength during those mile repeats and 1200s you can do this. When all else fails do what I do say to yourself "don't think, just run"
NOT SO MUCH.
The Fourth and Final mile is where we can let it fly a little bit, if you've had yourself a good race so far you should be confident that you can finish strong and feel good about the effort. If its been a grind, keep working. Keep working. Keep working. You've gotten this far by grinding it out and you've only got a mile to go. You can do that. A mile ain't nothin. Typically, when I hit the fourth mile and I'm not having a good race, I'll take a second to gather myself and try to change up my rhythm. Get the feet moving a little quicker even if for a few steps just something to wake me up to finish strong.
This Tuesday is the Fourth of July and I hope all of you have yourselves a wonderful holiday and if you do hit the Rhode for a four miler good luck and go get em!!!
"Shift from thinking to feeling - feel yourself accomplishing your goal. Take that feeling out of your head and put it into your heart. Embrace it as the reality."
-Erin Taylor, Founder and Head Coach of Jasyoga
See you on the Rhode!