Race diary planning: how much is too much?

This time last year, or maybe it was nearer Christmas, I spent some time planning all the running races in Cornwall that appealed for the following year. This was quite exciting for me after returning to running after a very long injury. I finally had the confidence to know I could look ahead and think about entering some races.  I was aiming to have a race calendar of sorts, covering *definites* and *possibles*. While I don’t want to map out the whole year, I need goals. I like to have races to work towards. It keeps my training focused and saves me piling up “grey miles.” I like to have an aims in life and running is no exception. Also, I like lists, they make me feel organised and are a great way of procrastinating.

My race calendar went from a few 10ks to a 20 miler coastpath run. This was the big one and the race my training revolved around. As those who know me and follow me on social media, I actually ran the 11 mile route instead. A sciatic nerve issue peaked in early summer which made packing in the miles quite hard. I was happy to rethink the distance if it meant I could take part in what has become my favorite event. As the race director said, “there’s always next year.”

Changing my distance for this race, and feeling okay about it, prompted me to consider other races I wasn’t so keen on when I originally reviewed the year ahead. I am currently considering Truro half http://www.trurorunningclub.org.uk/index.php/trc-events/truro-half-marathon/ and the Eden half marathon, neither of which held much appeal 10 months ago. (You can find my Eden marathon experience here) I am somewhat apprehensive about my next road half after Indian Queens didn’t quite work out. I don’t want to be disappointed with my times, despite always striving for better. Instead I want to celebrate that I can run and am able to condition my mind and body to get me around some pretty testing courses, let alone the distance of 13 miles.

I am quietly wondering when, or how long it will take me to be marathon fit. I already know the answer to this, it’s a case of planning the runs and working out when I will fit them in. I am tentatively thinking that a marathon will figure somewhere in 2017 but remain unsure which one. Having done London many moons ago, I would like to explore another. Admittedly the Bristol to Bath marathon looks appealing, but recommendations are gratefully received. I would also like to run abroad too. Again, I haven’t settled on where or when but this idea appealed years ago when I was running strong and I never pursued it. The Midnight Sun marathon looks pretty good, I like to go for something a bit different. Similarly, I am more inclined and drawn towards trail running than ever before. I think this is partly because I give myself license to go at a slower pace compared to the road, but I love the scenery, variation and the freedom it offers. It’s never boring off road. Then, quite scarily, my mind takes me to ultras. Going beyond 26.2 miles. The questions then follow – how would I fit in the training when I struggle for shorter distances? Why would I want to run so far? What paleo foods do you carry with you? I may find out the answers one day but in the meantime, I am happy not having a concrete plan for racing. A quasi plan is more my style, keeping an open mind and seeing how each race unfolds, then adding a few as I go along. The planning starts when the longer races start to look attractive. This suits my life too, we are all busy these days and I don’t want running to become something I have to do because I have over planned. If only I could be that organised!

Happy running.


Author: plbedford

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