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When do races get in the way of training?

When do races get in the way of training?
When do races get in the way of training?

I love to run but I also love to race.  I must confess that if there is a race that is affordable and nearby I will most likely be running in it!  Of course, it is not always up to me.  If you are a mom you know what I mean.  I am at a stage in my life that I must consider the kids, our family schedule, race location, cost, times, etc.  Plus, having a nursing baby makes it difficult to take off for long extended periods.  I have yet to leave him overnight.  But, I am one determined running mom and where there’s a will… you know where I’m headed.

I know not everyone is as race crazy as me.  Some of my running buddies prefer to focus and run one race every training cycle.  They register months in advance and every workout is focused on that particular race.  I usually have a few key races in mind but I like to sprinkle in other races whenever I can “squeeze” them in.  Usually this is not a problem but sometimes it affects my “A” race training. 

My “A” race is the one I plan months in advance.  My most recent example of this would be the Houston Marathon.  I registered for it last summer.  I wanted to PR. I wanted to re-qualify for Boston. I wanted this to be my main focus.  Then fall racing season hit…. and I must admit I got a little race crazy.  All these 5K’s and Half Marathons seemed to come out of no where and I couldn’t resist. From September to December I ran in 4 5K’s and 3 Half Marathons. (I was also registered for a 10K on Thanksgiving but our travel plans changed so I was not able to do that one.)

At the finish of the Midsouth Half Marathon Championship in November.

I know some people who work in races without racing.  I am not one of those people either.  Once I put a racing number on I go all out.  For better or worse. My husband loves to remind me of the random 5K we did together when I was 7 months pregnant with our first.  I had not been running regularly and I told him we’d just walk/ jog the race.  Then the starting gun went off and I just couldn’t control myself! It was like I was possessed! Not the smartest thing to do when you are pregnant and not in the habit of running like that!  Anyway, once I am put in a race situation I’ll be honest- I just want to race.  And I want to set myself up for my best race possible.  I do not want to run 16 miles the day before a 5K just because that’s what my marathon training schedule says to do.  I want to taper a little and feel fresh.  So, as you can imagine I ran into a lot of training schedule issues this fall.  There were several weeks that I had to remind myself that I had to get in my main marathon workouts.  I made sure I was able to get in my 3 20 mile runs but I never actually started doing my marathon race pace runs until a few weeks before because I had spent so much time focusing on my half marathon race pace.  

The St. Judes Half Marathon in December

While I was running on Monday, one for my friends mentioned a 15K that is this coming weekend.  It is less than an hour from where I live and is dirt cheap.  Seriously- it only cost $15 and since I decided not to get the race shirt the price dropped to $10! Plus, my sister lives near the race and said she could watch my kids since my husband has PhD stuff.  Once again, how could I resist?  I’ve never run a 15K before (9.3 miles in case you were wondering) so I have no idea what to expect.  I checked with John and he gave me the go ahead so I registered last night. 

Of course, this meant totally shifting my current marathon training schedule around a little.  The 16 miler I was going to run this weekend I ran yesterday.  I’m throwing in a 2 day taper to rest up which is definitely taking a little chunk out of my weekly marathon mileage.  Will I ever learn?

So my question is… How do you work in racing?  Does it ever get in the way of your training?

14 Comments

  1. I can’t wait until I can race whenever I want again! But with qualifying for Boston before next January as my goal, I have to do everything just so. I haven’t deviated from any of my plans and won’t until after this goal is accomplished. But once it is, I can’t wait to enter TONS of races whenever the price is right and I’m feeling it!!

    Enjoy the 15K! I have one in April (yep, it’s in the plan). :^)

  2. I have a really hard time not “racing” in races, too… and do the same thing with mixing around my training schedule to fit it all in. I’m signed up for Austin’s half in Feb, and I am hoping to use it as part of a long run that weekend, and not actually race… we’re all going as a mini-vacation-check-out-Austin, so we’ll see what happens. 🙂

  3. I’m too late to give you advice, but if you’re loiknog for something to read, here is my . I think it’s hard to strategize for racing a 10K. You can’t start TOO fast like a 5K, but you can’t afford to start too conservatively either (like a HM).Can’t wait to hear about your race!!!

  4. Thanks everybody for the quick response I have got my answer now, so hopefully i will start working on this project soon! Let me snatch some time from my hard routine . you know its back to school time!!!!!!!

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