If you have been reading my previous blog posts or following along, you might know that I have registered for a few races this fall.
So, with the calendar now turning over to August, it is time for me to really start to focus on preparation for these races. I have run a lot of good miles so far this year in the hopes that I would be racing again in the fall.
Because of the hard work that I’ve put in so far this year, all that is left for me to do is get some more race pace miles in and a few longer runs.
But the biggest focus for me over the next five weeks will be rest and recovery.
Other than a five mile race I did in June, like many other runners, I haven’t done a live, in-person race in a really long time. For me, my last big, in-person race was in October 2019, so needless to say I am really looking forward to the next few months!
Here’s a recap of my racing plans for the next few months:
Beginning in the second week of September, I will be running in 4 different events as I talked about in my Return to Racing post.
First up I’ll be going to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for the Bird-in-Hand 5k and Half Marathon in September. With the 5k on Friday evening and the half marathon on Saturday morning, my main focus for the weekend will be the half marathon and hopefully getting a personal best time. I think that this will be possible given the small amount of runners and the course being mainly country roads (although I have heard there are some hills).
Then, at the end of September, I’ll be going to Utah and Arizona for the Grand Circle Trailfest which is three days of trail races right next to three different National Parks – Bryce Canyon, Zion and Horseshoe Bend. My main focus here will just be getting through the 3 days since I have very little (aka zero) experience on trails, but I am really looking forward to the challenge and seeing some new places!
Finally, to finish out this year’s races, I will be going to Philadelphia two weekends in a row in November. The first weekend will be for the Rocky Run, where I’ll be doing the 5k and 10 mile races back-to-back. I will be using this race as a warm-up for what is ultimately my biggest race of the year the following weekend – the Philadelphia Marathon!
Something that really excites me about these events is the variety of distances and terrain. While I have goals for each race, I’m also viewing the first three events as tune-ups with it all culminating in late November at the Philadelphia Marathon. You might remember that I DNF’d this race in 2008, so I will be hoping to not only finish it this time but get a personal best marathon time also!
What am I doing to be ready for these races?
My running consistency has given me a nice base on which to build. Because of that, I’m never too far away (from a preparation standpoint) from being ready to race in any distance up to a half marathon.
At any point in time, I can begin to manage my training load and allow my body to rest while also completing my final preparations to hopefully arrive at the start line of each race in the best shape possible.
However, even with these things in mind, some of my recent longer runs haven’t been the best in terms of being able to run some of the miles at goal race pace. While I think (or at least I hope!) that the heat and humidity have taken their toll on me during these runs, there has definitely been a little seed of doubt placed in my mind.
But all that it takes sometimes is a few good runs to start to change what you thought was possible and begin believing in your own potential again!
I’ve just had one of those runs.
As I write this, I’ve just completed a 10 mile run this morning, which has filled me with confidence that I can really take a shot at my half marathon personal best time (1:28:37) in about six weeks at the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon.
This morning’s run was one of those runs that kind of came out of nowhere. I was feeling a little tired when I headed out for the run and wasn’t even really sure that I would go that far. But after the first mile I started to speed things up and feel really good. The next 8 miles I did were much closer to what I hope my half marathon pace will be.
A few more runs like that, combined with a lot of shorter runs and rest and I feel like I will be in great shape getting to the start of my first race.
Once I complete the first race, I will assess how I feel and make any necessary adjustments – more long runs, speedwork, rest, etc. – as I prepare for the next races.
At the end of November, hopefully I will be able to say that all of the hard work has paid off.
And as a result of the hard work, I hope that I will have two more personal best times to go along with some more great racing experiences!