You know how you invest a considerable amount of time in your training?
And you know how you study the race profile, double down on your nutrition and hydration, and prepare your gear?
How do you analyze your race performance beyond the finish line?
To help you explore all aspects of your race with honesty and curiosity, and get all your thoughts down in one place, we have created:
The Mettle Race Reflections Worksheets.
The PDF is free to download at the end of this blog and fully editable, so you can save it and update it whenever you want. This is your document.
Why reflect on your race?
It is good practice to analyze your race and record the why’s and how’s of your performance.
Whether you ran your best race, or didn’t achieve the result you were hoping for, post-race reflections can help you:
- Gain more from your race experience.
- Achieve a deeper understanding of your performance.
- Learn important information on how to take your training forward.
Hard and soft data analysis
Race analysis can include hard data and soft data, both being equally valuable.
Hard data is quantitative, it can be measured, and collected from hard facts. Soft data is subjective and involves your opinions, feelings, and observations.
For example, hard data from your ultramarathon would be your average pace or how many calories you ate per hour.
Soft data from the same ultramarathon would be, what was it about your pre-race routine that made you feel calm and focused on race day, or how did you navigate the more mentally challenging moments.
Hard and soft metrics to analyze your race can include:
- Your pacing strategy (speed, heart rate, RPE Rate of Perceived Exertion)
- A narrative of your race.
- Your position in the field during the race and at the finish.
Make sure you take the time to celebrate. Celebrating a successful race finish means celebrating you, and the hard work and dedication you put in.
It is an opportunity to:
- Recognize how far you have come on your trail and ultra running journey.
- Continue to learn and adapt.
- Accomplish more and tackle new challenges.
- Inspire others by spreading positivity and motivation.
- Build confidence in the realization of your potential.
How to assess and improve your race performance
Regardless of how your race went, there will always be something to celebrate.
A finish is a finish!
This can fuel motivation to keep showing up in training, and when you’re ready, set new racing goals.
If you didn’t succeed, take time to acknowledge your disappointment, and any feelings of regret or frustration. Failure can be upsetting and demoralizing and needs time to process.
Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
– Dale Carnegie
Remind yourself that you were bold, and you attempted the race. You stood at that start line, ready to give your best.
View it as a stepping stone in your trail running and ultramarathon journey.
The Mettle Race Reflections Worksheets
Take time to reflect on your race while it is fresh in your mind.
Your thoughts can be a series of bullet points of race facts, key timings, priceless interactions with other runners, your crew or volunteers, or more detailed descriptions of race critical incidents.
You may want to fully journal your trail or ultra experience, include notes on your training and race week. This level of detail can provide useful insights into the reason for your performance on the day.
- Did you feel rested, prepared and calm; or was it a stressful lead up to the event?
- Were you focused, relaxed and ready to perform; or distracted and tense at the start line? And if so, what caused these feelings?
- How did your race compare with your race strategy?
Record and keep every detail of your race in one place.
It is likely you will go beyond the questions asked in the worksheets, which is why we’ve included a full page for you to record all your nutrition and hydration; and a general notes page, so you can keep all your race reflections in one place for future reference.
Tip: Often race details come to mind weeks after an event. Make a note and add this to your worksheets, even if you don’t think it’s important at the time.
When carrying out this type of analysis, you can:
- Read back through your post-race notes and observations.
- Highlight key takeaways.
- Identify the lessons you learned from this experience.
The smallest of detail can be an important pointer in helping you continue to improve in training and elevate your performance during your next race.
Quick tips and summary
Reflecting on your race, whether you were successful or not, will help you discover what you can do better next time or identify an area to work on in training.
We promise there will be invaluable lessons to take forward that can benefit your future performances.
- Be brutally honest with your analysis. Did you enjoy the race?
- Highlight your successes and accomplishments within your race.
- Shine a light on when you made great decisions.
- Explore when you found the race challenging. Do you need to improve your nutrition; elevate your fitness; or bring focus to your mental game?
- Your goal is to understand what worked and what didn’t.
- Once you have finished your deep dive into your race, get back out there and enjoy doing what you love most. Running.
- When you start building towards your next race, take the lessons from your previous race to help you move forward.
Tip: Before you start analyzing your race, copy+paste the PDF so you always have an original of The Mettle Race Reflections Worksheets ready for your next trail and ultra adventure.
Thank you for reading.
About Dr Kaz Williams
Hi, I’m Kaz, Mettle founder, Performance Psychologist, Coach and Speaker, supporting trail and ultra runners, like you, reach your goals. Based in Chamonix, with strong US trail running connections, our mission is simple: to take your fitness, training and mental game to a new level of running success.