Planning a Racing Season
Winter time is here. I hate running in the winter. I don’t enjoy being cold. Ever. Luckily, planning a racing calendar is something that motivates me to get out the door when it’s really cold, windy and truthfully, I’d rather be doing anything besides running outside.
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 backwards. 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 to back off even if I have a scheduled race on the calendar.
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 choosey. 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.
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