Saturday, May 12, 2012

How Frequently to Run Races: Part Two of Two

In April 2006 I started recording how many miles and how much time I ran in an online running log. That has saved six years of data and now we have something mildly useful to look at, in this case my races since 2007.
My Races 2007-May 2012
You can see a few things, I don't run longer races strictly for fun. I also feel that I race sparingly.  In the fall of 2007, my best cross country season I ran five 8k races. That is once every two weeks the last ten weeks of the season. That also included a 20s PR in the last race. I feel that three to six races is about all that can be handled in a college cross country season. It is hard to run a strong race every weekend for two months. At some point either you are not racing as hard as you could or you are not getting any faster.

 It is also interesting to note how often I ran shorter races. The 5k is my most common race distance and it is also a race that is easier to recover from than the longer races.

When setting up a season plan some things to keep in mind:

  • The goal race or races, and really there can be no more than two for a 10k or longer runner. A marathoner gets one shot only two or three times a year. In other words you can not expect to race your best five times within a season.
  • The longer the race, the longer the recovery. It is harder to recover from a 10k than a 5k.
  • There is a certain adrenaline experience involved with racing and pacing yourself and feeling your comfort level. For most people that means that several B or C races leading up to a goal race are suggested so that you do not get into the goal race and start out way too fast or feel very uncomfortable at half way.
Hopefully some of this is helpful to understanding how frequently to race. 

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