Confession: I run so I can race.
I know I can run any distance I want by myself (or with MRTT friends), but there’s something about being surrounded by lots of strangers, all in pursuit of the same goal. While I sometimes do manage to really race and push myself, a lot of times races are just expensive training runs for me. But it’s my hobby and it makes me happy, so here’s how I come up with my schedule each year.
Step 1: Choose my states and find races. Like many, I have a goal of running a half marathon in every state. I’ve been at this for a while now (33 states done!), so it now takes a lot of planning to get a new state. I have three basic options open to me at this point: 1)Beer Geek and I take our annual kid free trip to someplace I can race, 2) Spring Break and 3) summer vacation. I used to be able to sneak away for a race, but now pretty much every state requires a flight or a LONG drive. This year I’m sneaking one in during Spring Break and 4 in during a vacation with Beer Geek. All 5 white states in the middle will be DONE! (I know, other people go to exotic locales, we go to small town America and race.)
Step 2: Decide if I have any other goals. When I went for Mercury and Venus, I had to do a lot of schedule wrangling to make sure I hit all the races I needed. Other years it has just been about sheer numbers. This year I have no number goals.
Step 3: Decide if there are any local races that I want to do. I try to find ones that are outside of soccer season, but will usually decide on 1 or 2 that will conflict. This year I took advantage of a multi-race discount and signed up for several races, most of which are outside the season. I am, however, running the GW Parkway Classic during the spring season and the Marine Corps Marathon during the fall one.
Step 4: Wait for the soccer schedule. Since Shoo plays travel soccer, I need to know where I’m going to be on any given weekend before I can fill in. I’m hopeful that I can squeeze in the Frederick Running Festival this year, but Sunday races are hard during the season.
Final Step: Get FOMO and sign up for a race that I didn’t mean to, that doesn’t work for my schedule, and costs twice as much as it would have if I’d planned ahead of time. Nah, I’ve never done that. Or maybe I have… (RNR DC, I’m looking at you…)
How do you decide on your race schedule? Do you look at the year as a whole or as two race seasons? Join us for Tuesdays on the Run and share your thought process.