Tim Bergsten created this Ning Network.

As part of the PPS Triple Crown team, I will be running three tough races this summer...

  1. The Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run
  2. Summer Roundup 12k
  3. And the infamous Pikes Peak Ascent

All three of these races are new to me. The good part is that no matter how fast I run, I will be setting new PR's for each of these courses. :)

However, since I haven't ran any of these races before, I don't know what to expect. Therefore, here are 3 tips I have learned that help me prepare for a new race.

Tip #1: Become familiar with the race course

For me, running is very mental. Therefore, if I know what is coming in the race, it helps me to mentally prepare. That way I know when the difficult parts of the race are coming (i.e. hills, turns, elevation, etc.). It is especially helpful for me to run the actual race course prior to race day as well.

Most races will post a link to their course online. However, if the race doesn't have a link to its course, you can also search online at connect.garmin.com for other people who posted their races from previous years. I learned about this feature from my friend, "Downhill Dan," when I was training for the Denver half. Here are the instructions on how to look up a race course on the Garmin website:

  • Sign into your account.  If you don't have one, you can register for free on their site.
  • Click on the "explore" tab. A drop down menu will appear, click "activities"
  • A map will appear, type in the city you wish to find the course.
  • To the right of the space you type the city, you'll see a "show filters" tab. Click it and it will ask you for more details.
  • To narrow the search type in the date, the distance, and time.
  • Click search and viola!

I recently learned about a company called ElevationTat through my teammate,Brianne. ElevationTat creates temporary tattoos for certain races with the elevation of the course. You then wear the tatoo on your arm for race day so you know what is coming. They currently only have tattoos for certain races, but I think it's a really cool idea!

Here is a picture from their website of the tattoos in use...

Tip #2: Train for the distance you will be running

This one is pretty obvious. If you are training for a half marathon, then you need to make sure you are getting long runs to prepare you for that distance. This will allow your body to build up the endurance it needs for race day. I have learned that I can't skimp on my long runs!

Tip #3: If at all possible, train on the course

There is no substitute for training on the same terrain that you will face on race day. Matt Carpenter, the record holder for the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, was known to train so often on the Barr trail that he even knew the position of every rock. Some people even joke that he had names for each rock as well. :)

The more your body trains on the race course, the more it will adapt to the conditions and be ready for race day. Therefore, this week I decided to train on each of the courses that I will be facing this summer during the Triple Crown.

Friday I went up the incline and then ran down the Barr Trail. Technically I will be running up the Barr Trail during the Ascent, but it was still a great workout and helped me get a little more familiar with some of the terrain.

Saturday I ran in Bear Creek Park on some of the course for the Summer Roundup. Although this race is only a 12k, it is still a tough course with hills.

Sunday I ran in Garden of the Gods and had a beautiful run on part of the course for the 10 miler.

My legs definitely need more hill training to adequately prepare for these races, but I'm excited to get back on the trails a lot more over the next three months. Not only will it help me prepare for the races, it will also fill my soul with the beautiful sights of nature.

Ready or not, here I come Triple Crown!!

p.s.  How do you like to train and prepare for a new race?  Have any other tips that work well for you?  If so, share them in the comments below.

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Comment by Gene Chavez on May 12, 2014 at 9:15pm

I will be chasing you Shelley.

Comment by Shelley Hitz on May 8, 2014 at 9:57pm

Thanks Dan!

And I agree, Jill :)  

Comment by Jill Gaebler on May 8, 2014 at 8:43pm
Those arm tattoos are super cool! Having one for GOG10 would be great.
Comment by Downhill Dan Angeles on May 8, 2014 at 8:18pm

thanks for the mention!  Now everyone knows my secret on how to prep for races, lol.  :)  

I like your list. I agree that its more mental than anything, and preparation is key.  I also like to visualize different parts of a race during different training runs, and the end of the race during my hardest workouts where the pain/effort will be similar.  

Great post!

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