Sometimes a Race is your Best Coach

By: Brian Elder

The 4th of July is always a great time of year to celebrate. Freedom, food, and the Peachtree Road Race! While the World’s largest 10k is an annual tradition for many people, this year was the first time I have been fortunate enough to take part in the race. One of the greatest things about running a race that you haven’t trained for specifically is that it shows how your training is going for the event you are preparing for (currently I am in the stage of building a strong base before I enter into a 10 to 16 week training program for the Peak to Creek Marathon). There are many things that I was able to take away from this event to help better understand my marathon training.

  • One. Sometimes a race is your best coach. It motivates you. Shows you how much harder you need to train. Reveals your flaws. Shows strengths. Makes you better.
  •  Two. I’ve learned that I need to start adding distance to midweek runs. I have been running a lot of 5 to 6 mile runs and need to start adding a few 8 miles runs in the middle of the week. It’s important to increase mileage gradually.
  • Three. Friendships and running in community is rewarding. While there is sometimes a need to be alone with your thoughts while running it’s almost always better to have friends by your side.
  • Four. I need to begin to do the “long runs” of marathon training. Whether I am starting at 8 or 10 miles I need to regain some of the endurance needed for the marathon distance.
  • Five. I need to make an effort to enjoy the run more. Running is not just a sport. It becomes a lifestyle, event, and culture. It is supposed to be fun! The Peachtree Road Race was a great reminder of this as the entire course was lined with cheering fans the entire course.

While I learned a lot this weekend, there is still a long way to go and the Peachtree was just one of the steps toward the goal. This year the Peachtree Road Race served as the gauge for my training and I look forward to running in this race again next year!

Link to Peachtree Road Race Results: http://projects.ajc.com/running/peachtree/2014/


Brian Elder is a learner, traveler, nomadic runner, and run coach that is going to run until it takes him somewhere remarkable. He is a senior at the University of Georgia studying English and Religion. After running competitively on trails and roads, he fuels through an appetite so big you would swear it’s competitive. Follow Brian's training on Instagram.