There are so many races to run and sometimes the ones you want to run are on the same weekend! It can be so hard to decide which races you are going to do. Of course, you can make your choice and then put the others on the list for the next year.
I see races I want to run all the time. It’s hard not to whip out the cash and register for one every weekend. Even if running a race every weekend isn’t cost prohibitive, you shouldn’t put your body through the rigors of a race very weekend.
Racing means you push your body to its limit to achieve the time and distance you set out to do. When you run this way, you cause micro tears in your muscles and tendons. Running a race in this way every weekend will not let your body heal and get stronger. Running at your max ability stresses every system of your body and can lead to you getting injured, sick, or plain exhausted.
You should choose your races based upon your fitness and your availability. If you lack the fitness level to run a marathon and don’t have the time to train for one, don’t sign up, even if it’s in a really cool place or you have friends doing it. If it’s a new race distance for you, look at the training program first and figure out if you have the time to dedicate to the training you need to do. If you don’t, then run something that is within your fitness level and availability.
The goal is to keep running and committing yourself to a race that is out of your league when you don’t have the time to train will only cause you stress and angst. It can also put you in the position of having to choose to either forfeit your money or run the race under trained. If you run under trained you can end up injured and not running for weeks or months. One race is not worth, months of not being able to run.
Running an event as a training run is another option. You don’t have to run a race at your max capacity. You can use it as a supported training run. Many of the events I register for, under the 50 mile distance are just that, training runs. It gives me the chance to run with new people and in new places.
I choose one goal race a year and the rest of my races help me keep focused and motivated to keep working toward my goal. My goal race is a 100 mile run typically in the fall. A fall race gives me all summer to be out running in the mountains getting stronger. The warm sunny weather allows me to train for long periods of time during the day and the night.
I choose a challenging course because I don’t compete with other runners. I compete with the course and myself (if I have a prior finish). Autumn is my favorite time of year and running through the mountains with the autumn leaves and the earthy smell gives me no end of joy.
Pick your events for the season, register, and put everything else on next year’s race list.