Show Those Race Week Workouts Who Is BOSS!

If you have been reading for a while, you will know that I usually write what is on my heart at the time I sit down to write.

I don’t think of a topic ahead of time, I literally just start writing, and see where it goes.

I have found that for me, Saturday mornings are the times I am most reflective and have the inspiration to share my inner thoughts and feelings.

But for some reason, last weekend, nothing was coming to mind.

On Monday, I shared a MONSTER LIST of all the podcast episodes I have done, and what category they fall under, so you can take them out on your runs depending on the style of episode you like.

I therefore went into Monday morning with only one post ready for the week.

That left me feeling a little on edge, as I knew I would have to find a time on Monday or Tuesday to sit down and write.

Of course I do not HAVE to write two posts a week, but I am a schedule person (or an Upholder for those Gretchen Rubin fans!), and I like keeping things as regular as possible.

I didn’t have any idea what I was going to talk about on Wednesday.

Maybe it was because Monday’s post sucked all the inspiration out of me, but, I have another theory…..I think maaaayybe deep down I knew I would have something important that would come to mind on Monday or Tuesday that would be very relevant.

You probably think I’m nuts, but I believe things happen for a reason.

It is the week of the New York Marathon, and it is also the week of Indy Monumental Half for me.

Yes, I am training for California International Marathon, and that is the primary focus, but I am still going into this weekend ready to give it my very best.

Not to cross the finish line like I did at the World Half Marathon, smiling and just soaking it in, but I wanna go for it.

I really want to cross the line knowing I gave my all.

This is a big race for me, and with how well my workouts had been going, I was feeling pretty confident going into it.

Steve had desperately tried to hold me back, reminding me that I am in the middle of marathon training, that accumulated fatigue is very much in my legs right now, and that a PR is probably not going to happen, and if it does, that would be a HUGE breakthrough.

After all, in my previous marathon buildups I had run 1:18, 1:17, and 1:15 in Half Marathons around this time.

But I wasnt listening.

All I was hearing was Steve being his usual conservative self, and just trying to keep my feet on the ground. I was ignoring his pleas to stop focusing on a time, and just view this race as a long, hard effort.

He still wants me to go for it. He is still backing my mileage down. He is still expecting a balls to the wall effort.

But he just does not want me so focused on running a time, that I force it……..remember what happened at the European Championships?

Apparently I forgot.

Forcing yourself into a pace DOES NOT WORK….well, for me anyway.

That all changed this morning (Tuesday morning).

I had my last workout before the half, and I felt like CRAP.

It was so much harder than it “should have been” *Note* Steve HAAAATTTESS it when I say that!

What “should” have felt comfortable, did not.

What should have been running what feels like x:xx pace, turned into me obsessing over pace, and panicking that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to race well this weekend when this workout felt SO hard.

It just got me thinking.

I don’t know about you, but for me, when I have a big race, every single time, my last workout is a bad workout.

And maybe, it is the same for you, and so hopefully this can help you turn that perspective around, and get back to believing in yourself.

Actually, I know it isn’t just me.

Today the podcast episode I recorded with Molly Huddle went live, and guess what she said to me just a few hours after I did my workout.

Molly huddle tina muir chat

It is funny how that works.

For the rest of our training cycle, we can feel great.

We can smash our workouts.

We can get those long runs in.

We can do all that we need to do to stay healthy and get to the taper healthy.

Yet all of that is forgotten in the blink of an eye as we slump into doubt from that one race week workout.

All you do is dwell over the fact that it felt so hard, that you felt so bad, when you “should” be feeling good.

It is taper time isn’t it?

So why the heck am I feeling SO BAD, and HOW THE HECK am I going to be able to manage to run this pace for a marathon/half marathon in just a few days?

This workout is only a small percentage of the miles I am about to cover, yet I feel as though I was running way faster than race pace, when in fact I could barely hold my actual race pace.

It messes with your head, BIG TIME.

It doesn’t matter how many good workouts you have had, how many confidence boosting moments you have had that should show you that you are ready.

Instead, all you can see is that final workout.

And its scary.

And it can easily spiral out of control for your mind.

It doesn’t matter how many people tell you, “you will be fine”, or tell you that on race day it will feel easy, you cannot imagine that ever being the case, and it just breaks your heart.

You slip into panic mode, maybe coming up with some little niggle that you can use as an excuse, or maybe trying to justify to yourself that even if you don’t run fast, you won’t care (even though that could not be further from the truth).

That is why I wrote my post in the London marathon buildup to show you how those marathon taper doubts can spiral out of control.

But let me tell you this friends, you ARE ready.

You have put in all the hours, the time, the energy, and your body is just saving itself for that day.

Think about it.

You have been pushing it so hard for months on end, and then you suddenly remove that. Your body is in fear that you are going to take off at any moment (and ironically, you are!), you are in fight or flight mode, and it is ready to go.

It will be ready on race day, even if you don’t feel that way now, or even in the first few miles on the day.

We all go through bad patches, in the individual runs, and just in general with our running, but there are always good patches in there too.

But friends, remember all that you have done.

Stop focusing on what didn’t feel good, and read back through your training, look at all those good days. Look at all those HOURS you spent preparing your body.


Dont let those stupid race week workouts tell you otherwise.

You won’t gain any fitness on race week workout, if you have made it this far, your body is ready for a great performance.

You just have to give it the opportunity to try, and if you let your mind sabotage you, it will never get the chance.

Dont do it to yourself, you got this.

I believe in you and your dreams, just like you believe in me and my dreams.

Be Brave. Be Strong. Be YOU!

Good luck to all my friends racing this weekend!

Go get what you deserve.

[bctt tweet=”Show those race week workouts who is boss. Racing this weekend, READ THIS from @tinamuir” via=”no”]

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marathon, mental tactics, racing, struggles, workouts

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  • I always feel like junk during prerace week so this definetely makes me feel better! My dad once said: “the worse you feel during taper week, the better you’ll do…” HA, I’ve just gone with it since. 😉

  • Jennifer Kyle
    November 2, 2016 8:47 am

    Why does Steve hate it when you say a workout felt harder than it should have? I say that often so I’d be curious to know lol! I definitely always feel like complete crap during the taper and struggle to hit my paces. I think race day magic (aka rest, adrenaline, fuel) is totally a real thing as well!

    • Hi Jennifer, because he says a workout involves you running to the best of your ability for that day, or to the level of intensity prescribed for the day. When we say it “shouldn’t have been that hard”, it infers that you were expecting it to be easy, when in reality, there are so many variables that can come into play at any one time. He is a real run by feel guy, and so when I say that, it is just the opposite of what he wants…….probably explaining that badly, might get him to respond to you haha.

      • Jennifer Kyle
        November 2, 2016 8:51 pm

        Thank you for the reply! I can totally understand what you/he means – it is a good way of thinking about it. I always appreciate good mind games to help me not beat myself up!

  • Race week workouts always feel sort of dull to me – like something is lacking. But better something during that workout than on race day. Good luck at Indy!

  • All.the.time and it’s maddening!!! My coach also hates the “should have been” but it’s TRUE!!! I’m sure you will be amazing and, as they say in ballet – a bad dress rehearsal means a good show!

  • Martina Di Marco
    November 2, 2016 2:41 pm

    A good friend of mine told me this last month: “a workout is just a workout-not a fortune teller!” It sounds so simple, but it opened a brand new world for me!
    I used to obsess about pace during workouts. I’d have amazing workouts and think: “maybe I’m capable of much more than I think!” and then I’d have awful workouts and think: “Oh I’m such a full for thinking I’m capable of running x:xx:xx!” Truth is: a workout is a workout, a race is a race. So much (good or bad) could happen during a race! We shouldn’t obsess too much about single workouts, I think.

  • It’s definitely comforting to hear you say that those dud workouts are so normal before a race! Thanks for the honesty, as always!

  • Hi Tina,

    Really appreciated both this post and your interview with Molly Huddle as I head to New York as well this weekend (hoping to break 3:00!). Thanks for sharing so candidly, and hope you have all of the fun at your race this weekend!

  • I love ’em or hate ’em depending on how they go, LOL. I think race week workouts play on our superstitions. Who doesn’t love nailing a workout the week before a race? It gives you that confident edge. I’ve also had easy race week workouts that sucked….which in turn, sucked out my last bits of confidence. You’re right: best to focus on the bigger picture and the consistency of all the hard work you put in during training.

  • Stephanie Thomas
    November 3, 2016 1:51 pm

    Thanks so much for this write up. I’ve had very similar thoughts after my tune-up workout on Wednesday for the Monumental Half, and this really helped me to shift my perspective and to also give some credence to the encouragement my husband has given me ;). Thanks for the reminder to look at the holistic aspect of the training cycle, and not just for the final taper workout. Have a great race on Saturday. Maybe I’ll see you out there. 🙂

  • Michelle@Running with Attitude
    November 3, 2016 6:48 pm

    Tina I so appreciate reading this from you! Race week workouts always have done such a number on my head. Best of luck in Indy!

  • I’ve never trained for a marathon or half marathon–do you think it’s doable as a full time student and part time employee?

    • Absolutely! I work full time in addition to my training (about 2-3 hours a day, not including all the therapy), and keeping up with this blog! You got this!

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