In the moments leading up to the starting gun, what should you do? It’s the most nerve-wracking minutes of a runner’s life. To make matters worse, I’m already thinking about those moments now, even though the Fifth Avenue Mile race is still 2 days away.
In fact, the only way I can get through the week leading up to a big race is when I know exactly what I’m supposed to do each and every day and in the pre-race warm-ups.
Without a specific plan to hold my attention and assuage my anxiety, my mind is left to wander off the farm into the woods, where the hungry foxes of fear and doubt devour my energy with needless worry and their mysterious call.
So this is what I’ve been doing this week, in anticipation of the 5th Avenue Mile on Sunday.
Last Sunday, in a gorgeous early evening in Brooklyn’s McCarron Park, I ran 8 200’s, as a mariachi band played to a picnic and bingo party on turn 3 of the track.
Monday, I ran for about 50 minutes, with some walking and water stops in between. This took place on the very, very scenic Lehigh University campus in Bethlehem, PA. Lots of beautiful sights there.
Tuesday was a guilt-free 20-minute dash in Historic Bethlehem. In my book, if it’s 20 minutes, it counts.
Wednesday was intervals at the track with my coach, Budd Coates. He put me through 6 x 100m strides, 2 x 200m at fast but not all-out, 1 x 400 all-out (which for me was only 87 seconds, so don’t get your hopes up for me besting my time from last year) and then 3 x 100 strides to wrap up the day, capped off with about a half-mile jog with the editor who helped bring out the best parts of my Runners World story, Tish Hamilton. (Who, btw, is a great Twitter follow @RWtish).
Thursday – Went to see Sklar Brothers at Helium in Philly. (Who, btw, are my absolute favorite, #1 Twitter follow, @Sklarbrothers)
Friday, 3 miles and 6 x 100 m strides back in Brooklyn.
Saturday will be an easy 2 miles in Central Park.
On Sunday, here’s what Budd advises for warm up for a mile race:
Get up for an early (6-8am) very easy 15 minutes run. This will get me up and out of bed and will keep me from tossing and turning thinking about my nerves.
At Race time:
10 minutes easy run
4 strides at pretty good but not all out pace
RYBO- Run Your Butt Off!
See you there. I’ll be the guy in the Mulligan shirt, looking for a mulligan on his mulligan and hopefully, having a good laugh.