Home Heart Rate Training Getting race ready: It’s time to burn the boats!!

Getting race ready: It’s time to burn the boats!!



The couple of weeks before every big race I get extremely nervous as waves of self doubt begin to rush in. Have I logged enough miles? Have I done enough speed work? What if I can’t run my goal time? What if I blow up? What if, what if, what if…

But not this time.

For the past 4 months I have been training for the Baystate Half Marathon in Lowell, MA. I have repeated announced my goal time of breaking 1:30 (6:52s) in the half distance.Pro-triathlete Beth Shutt from Your26.2 has coached me during this training cycle as I have learned to embrace heart rate training, leaning into the hurt and managing my own feelings of frustration on the road.

Am I ready? Will I do it? Will I break 1:30.

I honestly don’t know. I know I am fit enough to just about break 1:30. I have done all the workouts, logged all the miles and crushed many speed workouts. I have even dropped a few pounds recently by sharpening up my diet. I feel ready, calm and strangely relaxed. If it does happen it will be the race of a lifetime where everything comes together and I probably squeak through with a 1:29:59 (because that’s how I roll). 🙂 I am no longer scared about racing- I’m excited! I’m ready!!

Earlier this week coach Beth encouraged me to come up with a mantra to help motivated me when the hurt starts to settle in around mile 9. I spent the majority of this week pondering possible mantras that would swiftly move me through the pain. Some of the possibilities that floated through my mind were as follows:”She believed she could so she did” and “I can, I will, I am” and “You get what you give.” Each mantra has been successfully used to move me through one long run or another, yet none of these seemed to fit for what I need for tomorrows race. I needed something new, something fresh for this race. Something that would help me tap into the relentless road racer (and not just the runner) inside.

Then I saw a comment from one friend on another friend’s Strava feed to help her prepare for race day: “When you step off the boat, set fire to it. That way you have no choice but to go forward.” I absolutely loved this mental warfare approach to racing strategy and knew that I had to steal it. Then my friend ran her race with a tattoo of a boat on fire on her calf. The sentiment is that you show up and race like there is no plan B. You put it all out there on the table. A ‘victory or death’ approach to racing!! I loved every minute of this craziness. THEN a tattoo of a boat showed up for me in the mail.  YEP! IT’S A SIGN! Tomorrow is the day that I will BURN THE BOATS and that my friends will be my mantra!


Tomorrow I will toe the line and will willingly set fire to the boats. No retreat. No surrender.

Like I said, I honestly don’t know how I”m going to run tomorrow. Maybe I’ll bounce along the pavement to a 1:29:35 or maybe I’ll feel flat and heavy and end with a 1:35:48. But here’s what I do know is going to happen….

I’m going to run with passion.

I’m going to empty the tank and leave it all out there on the road.

I’m going to have fun and smile.

I’m going to BURN THE BOATS!!!



Giddy up! It’s go time!!

Kass/ The Lone Runner



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