Create a Racing Calendar for You
Use these 4 tips to help you build your racing calendar
What’s the best way to create a racing calendar? Do you create it in January for the entire year or are you picking up races as you go?
As a coach of online runners for more than 11 years, I’ve seen an array of styles that my runners have chosen for picking their racing calendar. While I don’t think there is any one right way, I have some ideas on what you should think about when you are making a calendar for your racing season.
When I think of a goal race, I just think of what I really want to accomplish by the end of my season… For some, that’s a “National Meet” or a marathon, but it doesn’t have to be a big doozy of a race, just the focus of the season.
For most, that means planning and preparing for a race 14-18 weeks away - enough time to get in shape, train hard, race a few times, and then peak for the biggie.
After each racing season, I assess what went well and what I need to work on again. This helps me decide what my next goal race will be.
After you’ve picked your goal race, it’s important to pick a few races that help support your big race. For marathoners, that might be a half marathon or a 10 miler and maybe a 5k or 10k early on to get a barometer for training purposes.
If your end-of-season goal is a 5k, then surround your big race with shorter races: 5k’s where you don’t taper, and a few races that are longer in distance (8k or 10k).
These races are not the focus and you can and should do your best to train right through them. You’ll want to work on strategies that will help you run your best peak race, so focus on race day nerves, nutrition, warmups/cooldowns, and proper gear to wear.
Now that you’ve picked all your races, it’s time to get to the training. The training you do will help you achieve your peak race day goals. This is where you map out your long runs and your workouts. It’s when you decide how many miles you want to run per week and where you want to focus your attention during the week-to-week training.
What you do and how you do it will differ based on your strengths and what type of race you are peaking for.
The last part about building a training calendar is deciding whether the plan you’ve put together, mixed with the races on your calendar is doable and attainable (after you put in the work). If it is, you’re more likely to stick to the training when the times get tough - and they will. If the plan you’ve put together is out of this world, you may not follow it through and find yourself wallowing in self-doubt.
Secondary to is the training attainable, you also should think about how you’ll be able to recover from a race and get back to training. If you are constantly racing, there is not a lot of time to get significant training time in. Leading up to your peak race, allow for the training to come naturally without any additional stressors (races, travel, etc).
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Every season and every peak race has its own unique flavor to it. As a guide, if you are putting too many races on your calendar, you must spend time recovering from the races and not doing quality training that will help you run well on race day.
In my opinion, it is better to be under-raced than over-raced. The quality training you do week in and week out is more valuable than a few extra races that don’t support your goal race.
Friday’s Action Plan
Plan your training and racing with a purpose. Use rest days and cross training days to enhance your running.
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