Did you race last weekend? What did you do afterward? Maybe a big meal? Or a nap? How about putting pen to paper?
Guys, I’m here to talk about race reports, and to tell you that you should be writing them.
Perhaps, you’re thinking, “But I don’t have a blog!”
Don’t need one. Get a 99-cent notebook. Or open a Word doc.
You might be thinking, “But I can’t write!”
Nonsense. You can write. Nobody said you have to be Toni Morrison or J.K. Rowling. You are writing for you. Don’t even need to use complete sentences. (See?) This isn’t a sixth-grade book report. It’s your race recap! You’re simply reporting to yourself about what happened during the race.
I recently read my race report from my last marathon, and I got all warm and fuzzy inside…and I don’t remember it being a good race.
Writing about a race is therapeutic and can put it into perspective. For example, maybe you also did not have a good marathon. If you don’t write about, all you’ll remember in your mind is that it was bad. But what if you did write about it?
Perhaps some details were, oh let’s say…you couldn’t eat what you brought for fuel after mile 8. You could only stomach bananas, and unfortunately, you didn’t have any and had to rely on whether or not there were bananas at the water stops. Also, your hips felt like the Tin Man without an oil can and you cried at Mile 21 because you missed your family (and the couch). This is all hypothetical, of course. *ahem*
But, in writing about the race, you also noted these things: saw the sunrise above the river, met a woman who has run 134 marathons, a runner gave you a pep talk during the tough miles, your friends surprised you at the finish line, and even though you hurt, you finished the race!
Four months later, you occasionally think about that bad race. You decide to read your report, and what you see, surprises you. Yes, there were some dark times during that race, but there were also some really bright spots.
Do you get what I’m trying to say here? Our brains aren’t wired to remember all those details that long after something happened. It’s just going to label the whole thing as bad, even though that wasn’t true! Our brains can be real liars sometimes!
Reading the report got me thinking about signing up for another race. It won’t be a marathon—let’s not get crazy—but, maybe a 5K.
One of my favorite race reports is from a 5K, in fact. Every time I read it, I relive the joy (and pain) that I was in during those fast-for-me 3.1 miles.
Writing about your race will also help you have a better next race. You’ll have details on fuel, gear and more.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when you write your own race report. Reading through them before a race, too, may help you be more mindful as you run.
Once you start writing, you may be amazed at the details you remember. A couple of other tips:
Stay mindful during your race. When you hit “start,” on your watch, let that be a reminder to begin being in the moment, as well. Tell yourself that you’ll be writing about it later.
Break your recaps down mile by mile. It’s much easier to write about races, especially really long ones, if they are broken into chunks. If you’re writing in a paper journal, leave a little space on the page because you may remember something later that you want to go back and add. I also like to jot down my pace for each mile.
Do you already write race recaps? What details do you like to add?
Here’s a list of things I used to be ashamed of: my crush on John Travolta, that perm I got in college, and walking.
I thought, “Walking is for the weak! Walking is not for me. I’m tough. I’m strong. Strong girls run and have perms and John Travolta posters.”
Guys, please don’t hold this against me. Two out of three of these things happened in the ’90s (but I’m not saying which ones).
Now, though, I refuse to be ashamed of any of them. I’ll shout my love for walking and John and curls from the rooftops until my neighbor, or more likely my husband, calls the cops.
Let’s talk more about walking because this post is getting way off topic.
My favorite thing about walking is that you can easily recruit people to go with you. My husband will go with me. My son will go. My neighbors will go. My dogs would love to go!
Another great thing about walking is that you don’t need any special equipment. You can just walk in whatever you’ve got on unless you are wearing sequin shorts and it is 95 degrees out with 90 percent humidity. (No joke, I saw a woman wearing a pair of those at Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago.)
I also love that walking lowers your cortisol. It helps you relax mentally and physically, and can even aid in fat loss. Walking outside where there is green and trees is even better for you.
I particularly like walking on the treadmill because I can binge-watch reality TV and feel less guilty about it. It’s tough to watch TV when I run because of the annoying sound of my feet.
Here’s a major benefit of walking for runners: it adds mileage to your week. If you want to add miles, but you’re worried about getting hurt, walking is a super easy way to accomplish your weekly distance goal.
Most of us can’t run every day without getting injured, but we can run 3 to 4 times a week and walk just about every day! If you walk 10,000 steps a day (the recommended amount for adults), that’s almost 5 miles!
But don’t worry if you can’t get that much. Start by adding an hour of walking. You can walk 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch, and 30 minutes after work. That’s an hour of walking and about two or more miles. Imagine adding two miles to your training every day by walking!
It might be hard at first. I felt antsy when I first added walking as a daily fitness goal. It took so much longer. I would be done faster if I just ran! I wanted to get it over with. But after a few weeks, I started to like it more (unlike that unfortunate perm).
Remember: You are not a failure if you walk. Walking can be part of your training. So walk proud, runners!
Kerrie Turcic is a runner from Maple Valley, Wash. Kerrie is currently a copywriter by day, and also a