Updated: Jul 26, 2019
As the new year is starting this is the perfect time to start considering what you would like to accomplish athletically in the upcoming year. As with many things, planning is the key to accomplishing your goals for the next race season. Here are a few things to start thinking about.
What are your goals for 2019 race season? Start with your goals for the season. What would you consider as success? Your goals might be to:
Set a new PR (personal record)
Tackle a new distance
Try a new type of racing, such as a trail marathon instead of a road marathon
Write down your goals on paper and look at them. Are they realistic and in line with your other commitments like career, family and social events? If not, consider revising your goals so that they are still challenging but also achievable. We want to set you up for success. Post your goals where they are visible everyday, such as on your bathroom mirror or your desk, for the constant reminder of why you’re training.
Choose Your Races Strategically. With so many races these days, which ones should you sign up for? The answer is the races that will best help you meet your goals. Here are 5 considerations when choosing a race:
Time of year: Will you need to do the majority of your training in the winter or in the summer? For example, if you sign up for a May marathon, you’ll be doing long runs in March and April, which may not be bad if you live in Florida but may be a challenge if you live in Michigan.
Race size: Do you want to race on a crowded course or more by yourself?
Course: Does the course fit your strengths? For example, if you live in a flat area and are not a strong climber, then a flat course may be preferable to a very hilly course.
Weather and Altitude: What is the weather typically like where you will train versus where you will race? What about the altitude?
Budget: How much does the race cost? How far are you willing or able to travel? The more time zones you travel, the more time you should allow for adjustment.
Create a picture of your season. Lay out all the races you have picked out that will help meet your goal. In addition to races, include key events like vacations, work travel and social events like weddings. Add shorter races leading up to your A race. Shorter races are an opportunity to practice execution, pacing and nutrition, as well as evaluate your fitness at that point in time. A good rule of thumb is to do no more than one race per month. Otherwise, you’re spending time too much time racing instead of training.
When picking races, here are guidelines for the spacing intervals between events:
5k: 1+ weeks before another race
10k: 2+ weeks before another race
Half Marathon: 5+ weeks before another race
Marathon: 8+ weeks before another race