Graphic Treatment: Team RMHC Runner's Circle

Races and Training 

The goal is set – completing the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2023. Long run distances are increasing as is the aggregate weekly mileage, and it’s likely that we’re feeling more and more comfortable about our ability to run further; and for some of you, further and faster. Distances which seemed daunting just a few weeks ago are less intimidating now.

We are still focused on our marathon training goal and our schedule. But what about those other races our friends are running between now and marathon day - 5K’s, 10K’s, maybe even a half marathon later in the summer? Should we be running those also? If so, how do these races fit into our training?

Shorter races provide perspective on how fast we can run. A 5K or 10K allows us to run faster than we do on our LSD runs on Saturdays and allows for recovery time before our next long run. Longer distances of 10 miles or half marathons help measure our endurance and progress since the start of training. We can measure improvement based on finish time and recovery time from the race.

Ultimately, each training workout in your schedule and each race should contribute and have a purpose in the overall goal – crossing the finish line of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2023.

Before toeing the line at another event, ask yourself two questions – (i) What are my motives for running the race? And (ii) How will the race result(s) affect my goal on Marathon Day?

Motivation for running a ‘mid-season’ race varies – to challenge myself, to measure my progress, to mix up my training workouts, to get the feel for running a race; and each is valid.

Race results (and recovery) may affect your individual training and marathon goal(s) as you ask yourself, “am I pleased with the progress I’ve made so far” (evidence that your training is working and that you’re moving towards your marathon goal); “was the initial goal too passive, or too aggressive;” “should I modify my training; or should I stay the course”?

These other races are good to run; and incorporating such events into the training schedule requires planning and modifications of the training schedule. In some cases, the long run mileage on the schedule is the same or very close to a Sunday half marathon distance. When this happens, simply switch the workouts for the Saturday and Sunday runs, making Saturday a rest day and Sunday the long run.

If there is a race of 10 miles or longer which you wish to run, and the training mileage is significantly different, please contact me to modify the training program, not just on race weekend, but in the week before and after the race. Always check the schedule to see what workouts are scheduled the week before and the week after the race in order not to overload the system and to allow for adequate recovery before Marathon Day.

Shorter races such as a 5K or 10K are easier to work into the training schedule – but still require a look at what has preceded the race and what will follow. Racing places a higher stress on the body and recovery from shorter, faster races are important.

While some races can be good, too much of a good thing can lead to overtraining, injury or burnout. Usually, a simple fix is available by switching a few workouts in the week before and after the race.

Remember that our “goal event” for the season is the Chicago Marathon on October 8. Other races before than can be fun, can be a measuring stick for our progress and can fit into training, just don’t overdo it by planning too many races or running too many miles in training weeks around your races.

Coach Brendan
“Good form will carry you through”®

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