Using Races as Long Runs

by - Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm happy to say that my fall race calendar is starting to shape up very nicely.

The Marine Corps Marathon is my A race for the fall, and I've built the rest of my race schedule to support that.

MCM 2012 logo

Right now I have a two other half marathons on the calendar that I plan to use as long runs.

A 20-miler seems so much more fun if 13.1 of those miles are run on a supported course with other people and only 6.9 miles are run alone either before or after the race.

The first half marathon I'm running this fall is the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon in early October. This is a local race that I ran last year when I was completely untrained and I had a total blast and set a huge PR.

After last year's race with Zach and Emily

I'm not planning to PR on the course this year, but since it was such a fun race, I knew I wanted to run it again.

The race falls on the same weekend that I have to do a 16-miler, so my plan is to run a three-mile warm up before the race and then run the race before heading to my flag football game.

The second half marathon on my schedule for this fall is the Baltimore Half, two weeks before MCM.

Start of the Baltimore half

That weekend I'm scheduled to run 20-22 miles. The Baltimore half doesn't start until 9:45, so my plan is to get up early, run 7-9 miles and then start the race. By the time I cross the finish line that afternoon, I'll have at least 20 miles in the books.

Baltimore is a notoriously hilly city, so I'm not worried about pushing too hard or too fast in the race. My plan is to take it nice and easy, enjoy the aid stations and use the cheering crowds to push through the last few miles of my long run.

After the Bmore half in 2010

I'm looking forward to breaking up some of my long runs with races. I'm definitely not planning to race for all of my long runs, but I think having some races planned helps break up the monotony of a training cycle.

Plus, mentally, running a half + six miles seems so much easier than running one beast of a 20-miler.

For me, marathon training is all about the mental games. The runs are long and hard, but breaking them up with races makes it seem more manageable.

Do you ever break up your long training runs by throwing in some races and tacking on the extra miles?

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