The risks of racing injured - Graph

There seems to be a rise in the posts "I am doing x race, DNS is NOT an option (I think pronounced "naart an aarpshern"), however I am injured in the following ways. Can someone tell me what to do?

I suspect an element of narcism of people exaggerating so they can say they overcame insurmountable odds to heroically finish their race. I also suspect a level of drama llamaism.
However, would you go into a race injured?

Do you follow any rules of thumb to guide you in the decision?

It's obviously impossible to tell what will happen but I guess for me it's a trade off between the predicted post race glow and the joy of normal running every day.

I like running most days. Prolonged stints of not running make me miserable, but that can be counteracted by the glow of finishing a great race well. Say the Spartathlon. I'd happily not run for a month if I had the memory of that.

However there is always the risk of a shit race, DNF, no post race glow and then not being able to run for ages, all round suck.

I tried to draw a graph explaining this. I drew it with tailwind

Does the "perfect training run" exist?

Should you run hard when scheduled (by a plan) to run hard even if you feel meh or should you hold back and save the hard run for a day you feel better?

NOTE - I am NOT talking about running while ill, injured, overtrained or recovering from a race.

A few years ago I read "run by feel" by Matt Fitzgerald. He suggests the latter. Say you should do an hour at 7mm but just can't seem to click then he says make that your "easy" run and do 8mm and save the hard one for another day.

The grind paying off

A photo posted by James Adams (@jamesrichardadams) on


Made perfect sense. No point working hard just to hit 7.15mm.

Or is there?

I am getting sold on a concept called the "20 mile march". Basically saying that you should make constant progress rather than progress than varies due to conditions. This suggests I do the hard run, even if slower than what I could normally do.

Here is a great link on the 20 mile march.

Let's face it, running marathons and ultras we are going to be running a lot of the time when feeling rubbish. I feel like the 20 mile march might be a better training strategy than run by feel.

If you hit all your hard runs perfectly you can take the confidence that you can run certain paces for certain times into a race, which helps. However I feel like this can make a fragile runner, one who unravels when it gets tough.

The 20 mile march runner might go in less confidebt because they had less of those perfect training runs but when it gets tough they might be better.

Not only that but is the training effect of 7.15 while feeling a bit meh just as good as the 7mm when feeling perfect?

Is the idea of a "Perfect training run" an oxymoron? If it were perfect then did not train you? If it trained you it must have been imperfect.

And perhaps holding back breeds a habit of holding back again?

I am leaning more to the 20 mile march and away from run by feel.

When I finish a "hard" run in a slower than desired pace I will regard it as a good training run so long as I tried as hard as I intended.

So when you start that hard run and one mile in its clear you are off a bit, what do you do?

PS I recommend reading "Run by Feel". It's the best all round running book I've read.