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.
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17 thoughts on “Setting Up the Perfect Race Schedule”
You are really doing great with your race traveling! Im sure its hard as you get towards the end to do ones that are farther away. I usually look at the year as two race seasons, but most of the time I end up doing my goal race in the fall and anything in the spring is just for fun/to build a base.
My confession- I hate planning races! I actually really like doing them but I hate the logistics of planning them! Like when to t register, who will watch my baby, what time to e wake up, etc.
I didn’t realize you were trying to hit every state. 33 is amazing!
I’m so with you on working around the kids’ sports season. We have track season and the rest of the year here. I pretty much can’t race in May.
Your race schedule always overwhelms me! I too have to juggle my race schedule with work and Matthew’s sports, but I don’t have as many races to juggle as you. Looking forward to watching you cross more states off your map this year!
I think it’s great that you have a goal of running a race in each state. Do you think you will run in Alaska and Hawaii too?
I try to focus on one season at a time when I look at my race schedule. I still may have one more race for the spring but haven’t taken the plunge. This year I’m doing more traveling for races than ever before, so I have to try to make decisions as quickly as possible!
I always start with local races too. Funny, for this prompt, I thought we were talking about strategy for the race itself.. but both are interesting! 🙂
I am trying to be much more strategic in my race planning this year! Will see how that goes
Usually we think about what states we want to do, and then the negotiating begins.
Recently my husband was reading an article about the best towns to retire to, and almost before he was done I’d looked up one of the towns, found they had 2 halfs (it’s a small town) & had read reviews. 🙂
And then something happens like Utah offering me a free entry . . . so you never know.
I do get FOMO, but I’m good at fighting it. Mostly big trips are planned well in advance, like family wanting to go to WDW in January 2019 for race weekend. That’s lots of time to plan and save ahead.
Ah, FOMO. It’s caused me to sign up for many a last minute race. I tend to look at it as two seasons, cause there aren’t many races in Florida in the summer. Summer is when I’m most able to do my traveling because it’s slow season for us at my running store so I can get away easier. This year I’m going to Kentucky to do a Tough Mudder- I’ve started to develop a similar goal of doing at least one event in every state (I say event because I do all kinds, not just halfs or fulls). My goal will be to get at least one event of 10+ miles done in every state. I’m currently at 4 states, 5 after Kentucky is done and 6 with my Chicago full later this year!
Right now I’m still just looking within a 90 minute radius for my races and I look at Spring then Fall.
That dang FOMO, it’ll get you every time!! You’re ticking those states off lady …out of curiosity, which one did you do in Mississippi?
You are so lucky to be able to race so often. I think I took it for granted that I could race all the time before I had kids. Now it is so much hard to get away. If I could I would race every weekend!
Wow, 33 states done? Way to go! I admire how well traveled you are! One day, God-willing, I will get to more states. 🙂
For me, I tend to pick one big race for the year and go from there. This year, it’s NYC Marathon so I likely won’t run a lot of others on my bucket list until 2018 or later. I do have one more half before summer and then already have one half planned for late November though.
I do like to look at the year as a whole and plan a couple big ones and then as the opportunity arises, cram a few more in! So far I will get 3 new states this year- exciting!