Woman Running

Evaluating Your Race

 By: Terri Rejimbal, RRCA Coach

You spend months training and preparing for an event. You cross the finish line, hang the medal around your neck and in the days that follow, most of us will either bask in the glory of our performance, or feel disappointed with our time or placement.

Whether your performance met, exceeded, or fell short of expectations, take time within the first day or two post-race to objectively evaluate your performance and the factors affecting it, both negatively and positively.

Consider completing a Post-Race Assessment (PRA) as just one step in your recovery process. If your training went well, you "planned your race and raced your plan", or finished feeling stronger than in a similar race or conditions, make note of those key details. If mistakes were made leading into the race or during the event, learn from it so you don't repeat them.

There is much to be learned from great performances as there is a poor performance. Ask yourself: Did I give it my all? Did I go out too fast? Did I go into the race over-trained? Undertrained? Did I underestimate the weather or the course? Did I "zone out" and lose pace as the miles wore on, or was I sharp and in control throughout?

If your performance did not meet your expectations, take the time to acknowledge your feelings of disappointment. Just be mindful though to not dwell on those feelings for days. Give yourself a set amount of time to complain, make excuses, be angry, etc. Then put it behind you, so you can evaluate your performance objectively and move your running forward.

A PRA should be completed after each race, regardless of the result.

Use the questions on the following page as a guide to help you in your analysis.

Race Day

  • How well did you warm up? 

  • Confidence level at the start? (Excited? Anxious? Nervous? etc.)

  • Race weather conditions? Were you under/over-dressed?

  • Did you have a plan to handle unexpected situations such as: a low patch, fluids not setting well, a cramp, blisters, etc.? 

  • How well executed was your plan? 

  • Did you run your own race or someone else's? (i.e. follow your race plan vs trying to stay with someone)

  • How well did you execute your race nutrition and hydration?

  • What do race splits show relative to your pacing strategy?

Training

  • How well did your training go? 

  • Did you complete your workouts, hit your time goals? 

  • Did you allow sufficient time to train for the race distance?

  • Did you lose time to injury or illness? 

  • Did you continue to train through an injury?

  • Did you have adequate recovery time between hard workouts?

  • Did you practice hydration and nutrition? 

  • Based on your race, do you feel certain aspects of your training could be improved upon?

Stressor

  • How well did you sleep leading up to race day? 

  • Did you feel rested?

  • Stressed due to work, family situation, or having to travel to the race? 

  • Was training affected by any of the above mentioned stressors? 

  • Overly anxious or nervous leading up to the race? Sometimes called "taper anxiety"

Wisdom

  • What was your overall, gender, age, and age graded place? 

  • Did you give a 100%?

  • Did you learn or see anything that you'd like to try next time?

  • Anything that surprised you during training or the race?

  • Any other insight you discovered about the race or yourself?

By investing time in a PRA, you can make the necessary adjustments in training, and become a wiser runner in the future.

"No matter how your race goes, every race is a learning experience".

About the Author

Terri Rejimbal is a competitive Masters athlete, a 3-time winner and 8-time Masters champion of the Gasparilla Distance Classic half-marathon; 6-time Disney Masters marathon winner, 6-time Florida USATF Athlete of the Year, and a New Balance product tester. Terri is a RRCA certified running coach and is available for consulting or coaching services. Contact Terri at tarejimbal@gmail.com, on Facebook/terri.rejimbal, Twitter @trejimbal, or Instagram @bayshorerunner.