Should you race during your training cycle??

Happy Friday!  I’m so relieved it’s Friday.  Kids are out of school Monday so long weekends, with rain, and cooler weather, are tops in my book.  Maybe we’ll actually be able to eat soup!!  Fingers crossed.  Especially after the awful heat we’ve had this week.  I’ve been complaining, a lot.  It’s just that heat AND high humidity are like my running nemesis.  I just don’t deal well with heat and humidity.  I almost cried on my run yesterday, at a major intersection for all to see.  It’s ridiculous really.  Ok, enough about the weather….let’s talk about racing.

I registered for The Showdown Half marathon several months ago,  more than several in fact.  I don’t even remember when I registered for this race.  I know it’s been long enough for me to forget I had even done it, until I received an email a few weeks ago.  Oops.  I registered before I had decided to run a full in December and tackle the Hanson’s method, so I had just taken it off my radar.  Once I saw the email I knew I had to decide whether or not to race.

I immediately checked my training schedule.  This weekend I was scheduled for 15 miles.  Perfect.  I’ll just run the half and tack on an extra 2 shake out miles after I get home.  No biggy.  But, then I started freaking out about racing or running too hard.  The Hanson’s method is very specific on pacing.  Long runs are supposed to be an easy conversational pace.  So, that’s what I’ve been doing.  I’ve actually been running them slightly faster, but not at my half marathon pace.  At all.  So, the silly pride in me hesitated to run this half.  I have no idea where I am in my training as far as putting it out there and racing.  Plus, I feel like I’m coming down with a cold.  I don’t want to be slower than my previous half marathon pace, but I don’t want to compromise all my hard work up to this point either. Am I the only one who struggles with this?!?!

So, the question is should you race during a training cycle?  Here’s what I’ve come up with.  If it fits in your training, doesn’t compromise your increase in mileage(in my case it doesn’t), and isn’t a really demanding course then go for it.  I’ve also decided to run on feel.  If my body is feeling good, I may push a little, but not too much.  This is just a fun way to push myself a little and see where I am in this process.  It’s also great for me because I run alone.  This gives me a training run….with PEOPLE!!!  So excited about that.  Plus, you get a shirt(obviously why I race) and a medal.  I’m also excited about supporting the local town of Fairview and running a new route.  All perks of racing while training.  It’ll be a great pick me up.

I know however that tomorrow is not my goal.  My goal is still 9 weeks away.  So, if my body or my mind…or both…just don’t show up, that’s ok.  Finish the race, have fun and keep trucking.  I get to enjoy some(hopefully) cooler temps and run with some friends who are also racing tomorrow.  So, why not race?  I’m not breaking records ya’ll.  I’m not going to go out and run a 6 min mile, don’t worry.  So for me, it’s a no brainer.  I’ll give you a complete run down on the race over the weekend or next week.  I may be under a huge blanket with a fire in my fireplace and stew on the stove, but that’s probably pushing it.  The high is only 66.  Happy running and racing this weekend ya’ll!!!

Do you race during your training cycle?

What are some guidlines you go by when doing so?

6 comments on “Should you race during your training cycle??

  1. Heather,
    I totally thought of you!! I had read your post about your half/long run. I PR’d yesterday but it’s been a while since my last half. I’m running faster and knew it wouldn’t take much to PR so I allowed myself that but still had to hold back. I ran about a mile before the race and canned the last mile after. 1 mile won’t make a difference especially since I ran a little “faster” than I was supposed to in a training run=)

  2. Sue, I completely agree. I actually raced a little. I knew I wouldn’t have to push too hard to PR because it has been a while since my last half. But, I did feel like I was holding back and that was killer. But, since I have to run the next 3 days before I can rest, I’m glad I had fun and just went with it but didn’t push too hard. Thanks for your advice!

  3. Jeremy, you were right. I did a little less than a mile before the race but ended up canning that last mile or so for later. Decided I ran a little “faster” than I should have so I just took it easy. Congrats on the 4th place finish buddy!!

  4. I ran that half-marathon 2 weeks ago as a part of my 20 mile traning run and it was SO nice having the race atmosphere to get me through the first 13 but it is SO hard to hold back speed wise.

    I went into the race knowing not only would I not PR, but I wouldn’t allow myself to PR.

    Also, if I could change anything about it I would have run my other miles before the race instead of after…stopping after 13.1 made my legs cramp up AND finishing off a long run at a race with the finish line as a motivator would have been so much better 🙂

    Good luck with your race tomorrow!

  5. Here is my opinion on it… The marathon (half and full) training plans I always follow have one or two weekend days, typically 4-6 weeks out, that give me the option to have a 12 mile day (easy) OR run a 10K race (at race pace). You can see it’s half the distance, so you have to look at it as a speed work day if running the 10K. It also starts prepping your body and mind for your “A” race day. Seeing what morning nutrition is working, etc.
    In your case, you already registered for this so you might as well run it, easy. With you having a 15 mile day tomorrow, personally I would just get a couple warm-up miles in and then start the half. I had previously told you I would do a warm-up mile and a cool-down mile, but after more thought, there’s no way I would run another mile after crossing the finish line.
    Your finish time doesn’t matter. It’s just another long, easy training run, but you get an audience and aid stations! Take it easy and enjoy the RAIN 😉

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