A blog by runners. For runners.

How to plan your 2014 race schedule

how-to-plan-2014-race-seasonA new year means a blank race calendar and many of us are eager to fill it up!

While it’s tempting to register for every race out there, that’s not feasible for the majority of us. So grab a blank 2014 calendar, have your work and personal schedules handy, and use these tips to make your race schedule:

  • Look at your work calendar. If you travel frequently for your job – especially if trips are over the weekends – don’t plan a goal race during the time of the year you travel most. Likewise, if there’s a time when you’re extra busy at work, it may be best to wrap up marathon training before this time of year or start it after your busy season. For instance, accountants will likely want to avoid high mileage weeks during the first half of April.
  • Take other personal commitments into account. Your sister’s due date? Your best friend’s destination wedding? Your child’s soccer season? There may be certain dates you have to avoid due to personal commitments. With the soccer example, if you’re a team mom, it may be impossible to make time to train when you’re so busy so take your children’s commitments under consideration, too.
  • Chat with your significant other. Does your spouse have any busy months at work where he or she won’t be able to pitch in with the kids as much? If so, avoid training during that time. If your spouse is also a runner, plan out your 2014 race schedule together. If you don’t have kids or have older children, it may be best to do the same races. If you have younger kids, it may be a better idea to race during different times of the year – this way the person training can get time to run while the other spouse is on childcare duty.
  • Consider your favorite training weather. Do you hate running through hot, humid summers — and refuse to step foot on a treadmill? If so, depending on where you live, a fall marathon may not be your best bet. Remember most marathon training plans are 16 weeks long, so count backwards to see what season(s) you’ll be training in.
  • Review training logs from previous years. If you keep yearly training logs, now is a good time to look at them to see if you notice any patterns. Is there a time of year when you usually feel sluggish or get injured? Try to avoid planning a big race around that time.
  • Choose a main goal race and then add in any events around it. Select your biggest race and then rank the rest of the races based on priority. Don’t forget to consider your goal race’s training schedule when adding in other races. For example, running a half marathon could work on a day when you have to run 15 miles anyway (if you run a little before and afterwards) – just be creative and play around with training plans and schedules a bit.
  • Don’t forget to block off time for an off season. While it would be nice to race every month – or weekend! – our minds, bodies, and bank accounts can really benefit from taking an off season.

How do you plan out your racing schedule for the year?

Written by Jen Matz.

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