Planning a Racing Season
Picking what races I want to run is a lot like planning a vacation. I want to run ALL the races! I want to try a 5k, a 10k, find a new race location or a new race distance, and then finish with a really fast race where I can set a PR! Anyone else feel this way?
Planning what races we’ll do is the motivation we need to do the training when the weather isn’t favorable or when we pile too many events on our calendar. Knowing that we scheduled and paid for races should be enough of a push to get us out the door.
When it actually comes time to picking a race and paying for it, a few decisions roll through my head. Below, I’ll outline what they are and how you can use the same thought process.
Is the Race Worth It?
When I’m building a race calendar, a lot of factors go into my decision. I often ask myself if the race is “worth” my time. Let’s break that down, as that phrase “worth it” is not intended to be elitist in any sense.
- Is the race helping me reach a goal?
- Does it fit into my life calendar?
- Is the price fair for the race distance/experience I’ll have?
After thinking about those questions, I look at whether the pros outweigh the cons. Even if a race passes the above tests, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll race it. Then I ask myself these questions:
- Am I in shape or out of shape?
- Do I feel like racing?
- Do I need to race for motivation or for another reason?
As you can see, I don’t just race to race. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding to race… Sometimes, I’ll go 4-5 months without racing. Why? There isn’t a need to or a race that satisfies all of my above qualifications!
Ok, so let’s say I’ve chosen a racing calendar. It has 4-5 races spread out throughout 3-4+ months. I’ve adjusted my training to focus specifically on the goal race and I work backward. What do I need to do in training to be at my best for the goal race? I focus on just the goal race as the other races are less important. They are crucial for me to do them, but not in the sense that I am looking to run a PR or a perfect race. In these non-peak races, I’m purely looking to work on strategies such as pacing, nutrition, and getting rid of nerves. That’s all they are there for!
When Not to Race
Numerous times to “skip” (ie. NOT RACE) even though a race is on my calendar:
- If an injury occurs during training
- If I don’t feel recovered from training or a race
- If my goal race has changed
- If something in my non-running life has come up
So many reasons to NOT race… Be picky. Be choosy. Figure out what’s important to you and why you’re always racing. Just know that you’re not going to get everything out of yourself if you race week in and week out over the course of 5 months. There’s little time to train effectively when each weekend there is a race. Good blocks of uninterrupted training will ultimately be the most rewarding and the best strategy to performing well in a select few race.
Interested in more that’s similar to this?