Rob Watson on “The Blowout Race”

March 16, 2016 – Vancouver

Everyone participates in events their own reasons, and sometimes those reasons different depending upon what you want to get out of each event. Rob Watson (@robbiedxc) is off to the World Half Marathon Championships next week, but is also racing the Modo 8k this weekend. Why race 8k when you’re running a World Championship event the following weekend? Let’s let Rob explain:

I spend a lot of time running, and when I am not running I spend a lot of time thinking about running. Over the years I have developed some theories on this sport. Most are weird and don’t make sense, but every so often I think that I may be on to something. I have this theory about the power of the “Blowout Race” and why they are both awesome and necessary. So if you will, please lend me a few minutes to let me try to explain this to you. Ladies, Gents and everyone else. From the deepest corners of a runners mind. I present to you – The Blowout Race.

The Canada Running Series Modo 8k is just days away. I’m excited to get out there and give it a go in one of the better races that this city has to offer. The course is nice, the competition is solid and the vibe is always awesome. I wish I could say that I am coming in peaked, rested and ready to roll, but that is not the case. That is ok though, it’s all part of the master plan.
You see, not every race has to be a PB, you don’t have to have the blades sharpened and be rearing to go every time you toe the line. Sometimes you can run a race for reasons other than your time or place. I am running Modo as a “blowout race” before I head over to Cardiff Wales for the World Half Marathon Championships on March 26th.

What is a blowout race? Simply put it is a race where you swallow your pride, throw caution to the wind and just give it hell. The goal is to make yourself hurt and ride the redline for as long as possible.

Why am I doing this? Well I have to admit, this idea comes through personal experience of trial and error. There is no science to support my reasoning, just years on the roads and a whole lot of races in the legs. The basic idea is to teach the body to get used to that racing burn and manage pain.

Here is my theory. You can work away as hard as you want in practice, but no matter how hard you push, you can never truly run yourself ragged (at least I have trouble reaching that point). But in races, something clicks and I find that I can push myself just that much more. It is that feeling of absolute fatigue that I am aiming for come Sunday.

Again, Why? Well this is the part that I have a hard time explaining. I find that my body reacts well to that all out effort. When you force yourself to just dig that much deeper and grind that much harder something clicks. The body wakes up and kinda says “ok, so I guess I should get used to this” and then your suffer management score bumps up a notch or two- because when it comes right down to it, racing is all about managing discomfort and dealing with fatigue.

I find that after a race in which I blow it out I get a nice bump in my fitness and my training improves. Things that were challenging a week or so earlier are just that much easier. You may say “yeah, well obviously, that’s just how training works.” To that I say shut it, it’s more than that.

I put my blowout race theory to practice earlier this year when I ran the Pioneer 8km one week before the Houston Half Marathon- it worked like a charm. I went into that 8km with a plan to simply go for it. I felt great through 5km then spent 3km hurting pretty good. It was miserable-I was tired, achy and simply spent at the finish. Mission accomplished. The next week in Houston my body was ready for the race pain and I came through 8km faster than the weekend before and feeling just fine.

Anyways, so the Modo 8km is going to be my blowout race before the World Half Champs. I am going to get out there and just give it hell. Like I said before. the course is great, the competition is solid and vibes will be solid.

I reckon you should try the blowout sometime. It may sound unreasonable, but I promise that it is a real thing!

See ya Sunday!


Whether you’re looking for a blowout race before another big Spring event, running your first 8k, or just running for an excuse to have some beers at the post-race concert – we look forward to seeing you at this weekend’s Modo 8k. If you forgot to sign up, we added a few extra spots so grab one while you still can!