How I Won the "TC Loony Challenge" Series

>> Monday, November 10, 2014

I've only done it once, so I don't know everything. But here are my 4 tips to win a "weekend series" of races like the Loony Challenge:

(This first one's the best piece of advice...)

• MAKE SURE NO ONE FASTER THAN YOU SHOWS UP.

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I know what you're thinking... "no duh, Steve."

But really, that's what winning any race is all about. It seemed even more apparent for this series.

If someone congratulated me who didn't know a lot about running (like a family member who saw me post about it on Facebook), I just thanked them and told them how fun it was. If someone from the local running scene congratulated me, I actually felt kinda bad. I'd say "well I can think of 50 people off the top of my head who could have beaten me." I'm kinda fast, but (like I just said) I'm just kinda fast.

... but I guess you just have to show up and race sometimes. I got lucky with that this year at the Loony Challenge.


• MORE SO THAN MOST RACES, YOU NEED TO FIND THE PROPER BALANCE BETWEEN "ENDURANCE" AND "SPEED" TRAINING.

I've always fought with this. But when racing a 5K, 10K, and 10 Mile, it's a tricky balance. You really don't want to have too much speed and not enough endurance, because then the 5K and maybe the 10K will be fine, but you'll die the next morning on tired legs trying to go 10 miles. And you don't want to have too much endurance (not enough speed) because then you'll be giving up a lot of time in the 5K and 10K, but at least you'll feel OK in the 10 Mile.

I have no big piece of wisdom here because everyone's training is so specific to them. I only run a few days a week, so I just made sure I was doing my shorter runs at a SOLID effort. I wasn't giving up my easy days (see the importance of the next point), but I made sure to do some intervals that I maybe wouldn't have stressed as much had I just been training for the 10 Mile. However, the runs I really stressed were my long runs. THOSE were the important runs for the week. I needed to make sure I had the distance on my legs, especially for when I would be tired during the 10 Mile after the 10K and 5K. I had hoped for my final long run to be about 12.5 miles, but I was feeling a few aches leading into that week, so I only ran 11.3. So I had 2 runs of 11+ miles and called it good. That ended up being plenty.


• DON'T GET INJURED.

You can't go into a big weekend of races less than 100%. So don't be stupid with your training. If you'll feel a little beat-up after the 10K, then the 5K after that is gonna suck. And the 10 Mile the next day will destroy you. Be smart.

I'm injured a lot. As I was building my miles for this series, I REALLY paid attention to extra little aches and pains, and I adjusted as necessary.


• RECOVER PROPERLY BETWEEN THE RACES.

I got a LOT of great advice from Tim, Liz, and Thomas when I interviewed them about their experiences in a multi-race weekend. Tim stressed the importance of staying loose between the 10K and 5K (because of his mistakes). I tried to stay off my feet a bit Saturday afternoon, and I foam rolled a bit in the evening. And I ate good food (REAL food) all Saturday.


I know... none of these are groundbreaking, but they're my thoughts on winning the series.

Oh, and I just heard from Twin Cities in Motion: they sent me a note that ended with "As one of the winners of the 2014 series, you should receive a certificate declaring you the male TC Loony Challenge winner with a few goodies in the mail soon." My response? (And I'm serious here...) "GOODIES! I happen to love goodies!"

And here are 2 unrelated posts from when I won the MDRA "Grand Prix" series 2 years ago that sort of fit in here with this info:
- How to win the MDRA Grand Prix series
- What I learned during my biggest running year ever (while winning the MDRA series)


2 comments:

Shinianen 9:50 AM, November 10, 2014  

Oh shut up. You are more than kinda fast. Just stop!

Carolina John 1:11 PM, November 10, 2014  

I totally get that. I took my first podium on Saturday with a 23:40 5k time in a small race. None of the fast people showed up! it rocked.

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