Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fitting in Races

In my recent post about creating my own training plan for the fall, I discussed how a key component of that plan would be to allow myself to sign up for shorter races. In the past, I felt like if my training plan didn't call for a tune-up race (which basically none of them did), that I couldn't race. While I love marathons, I've really been missing short distance races. (And not just because the suffering is over sooner!)

I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a couple before Missoula. I figure since that the modified version of Hal Higdon's training plan I'm following now is very similar to what I plan to do in preparation for November, I should start practicing adding in races now.

But before I get ahead of myself, I'm really excited to share our fall marathon! Because of the mess at Newport, we have decided to run the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon instead. The race was already on my list for Georgia, but this year the medal will feature Ohio, plus flight availability allows us to do this as a weekend trip, without using up more precious vacation time. (Plus Spirit had flights for $86 per person round-trip...we hopped on that train as fast as we could!). We will be flying out Friday night after work and returning Sunday morning.

But I digress. The real purpose of this post is to discuss the two shorter races I just signed up for. Michael and I had been talking about doing a half some time, but I also wanted to do a 5K as well, so I did the logical thing and signed up for one of each. 

The first of the two will be the Jog into Spring 5K on May 2nd. I love races tied to holidays and seasons (even if the theme is in name still makes me feel festive!), and this one is only about 15 minutes away. As a bonus, it doesn't start until 9 AM, so I can even sleep in to a pretty reasonable hour too.

My weekend originally called for a swim Thursday, an easy 6 miles Friday, and another 12 miles easy Saturday, with Sunday as a complete rest day. I plan to leave the swim on Thursday (since it is a no-impact workout), turn Friday into a rest day, race the 5K Saturday, and do my easy 12 on Sunday. I don't really like to do long runs on Sunday, but I know I need to be open to adjustments to make racing work. 

Right now I plan to truly race the 5K. I'm interested to see where my speed is at right now. I think the last time I raced a shorter distance was a 10K in October! I find my short distance times don't correlate very well to my marathon times, but I would still like to have an idea of where I stand two months out from Missoula, where I'd ideally like to PR.
The second race I signed up for is the New Moon Half Marathon on May 30th. This is an interesting race in that it starts at 6 PM. There's surprisingly few half marathons in Cleveland in the spring (at least that I could find), and the only options are pretty far away, which would make for a very early morning race day. We already have plenty of these for marathons, so I was hoping to find a half at a more reasonable time. Since I prefer to run after work, I think this will actually be an ideal race start time for me!

The original schedule for that weekend was a swim Thursday, a 6 mile run with 4 miles at MP Friday, and a 16 mile long run Saturday, with Sunday as a day of complete rest. I've only done one road half (in 2013), and I know I can automatically PR at my easy pace, but I really want to see how much I've improved - so I want to set myself up for success.

I plan to swim on Thursday - just like with the 5K - rest on Friday, race the half on Saturday, and still keep Sunday as a recovery day. I'll assess my goal when the race draws a little closer and after I run the 5K, but I'm hoping I can break 2:10, which would be a 15-ish minute PR for me. I'm really interested to see what it feels like to race 13 miles again, since at my MP I feel pretty fresh at that distance. Hopefully being used to running twice that distance will make the race easier mentally, but we will see.

Just like with my training plan post, I'd love to hear your feedback on rearranging my training plan to accommodate races. I obviously don't plan to pull this stunt every weekend, but I think adding in short races will put a lot more fun back into my running. The tweaks I've described above seem reasonable to me - but this is all still new to me, so I'm interested in others' thoughts. 

(And feel free to send me some money if you want to help fuel my race addiction!)


  1. An evening half?! That sounds incredible! I'm more of a day/evening runner myself so that sounds perfect.
    I think it's great you're getting to add in some shorter races so you can see how your hard work has paid off in speed :)

    1. Yes, I was so excited when I saw the start time! I'm honestly a little nervous to run faster. It's been so long I'm worried I've forgotten how!

  2. Aaaah!!! I've run Chickamauga the past two years and have a big soft spot for it! I love that race. Let me know if you have any questions! I like the idea of a night half. There is one around here in August that sounds kind of fun! :)

    1. Thanks - I went back and re-read your recaps after we signed up. Running a half at night sounds like the only way to make it not miserable in Georgia in the summer!