How do you plan a successful schedule of races?
Firstly you should sit down and identify what races you actually want to do, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it. Then proceed to identify what your personals goals will be for the chosen races. Planning ahead for the race and assuring there is adequate time for preparation, should follow. This is often a forgotten step because the answer is usually ‘this year’. But if you don’t have time to safely get to the start line prepared, then is this the best answer? And with so many events, a common approach is to usually assign A, B, and C priorities.
noun: race; plural noun: races
- A competition between runners, horses, vehicles, etc. to see which is the fastest in covering a set course.
Above is the definition of a ‘race’. So assigning A, B, and C… priorities to define how you will run a certain event, doesn’t make sense.
If you do not stand on the start line and strive to cover a set course in the fastest time possible, be it, against other runners or yourself. Then it is not a ‘race’.
Here is an alternative system of prioritising ‘races’.
When you look at a calendar of events, they should be classified as either:
C Crew Events
‘A Races’- Events which you aim to peak for. They are the cherry atop the cake. This is a race, true to its definition and an event you are targeting as a competition to see if you can cover a set course in the fastest time possible.
‘B Events’- Cover any other events you wish to simply complete. They have a purpose, but it is not to be completed in the fastest time possible. They can be used as ‘training’, preparation for ‘A Races’, but they should not be referred to as a ‘race’.
Multiple purposes of ‘B Events’ can include: trialling gear, chaffing lubricants, nutrition or hydration, supporting a friend, running with your kids (only recommended for distances below 5km), practicing pacing or having a well supported long run.
‘C Crew Events’- One way to learn is to observe and assist. Crewing someone in A Races or B Events, can be an eye-opening process. It can provide valuable insight to race preparation, execution and faults, without pulling on a pair of short shorts, getting sweaty and eating ‘another gel’.
Gaining experience from the sidelines is highly recommended and it ties back to scheduling your ‘A races’ properly. Would you rather participate in 30 races over 2 years or participate and race in 2 races every year for the next 30 years?
One of the above options comes with a lower risk of injury, greater long term satisfaction, more sustainable health and pretty much guarantees that you are respecting the process that endurance running demands, in order to be the best athlete you can be.
Having a goal to run a 100km race is great and encouraged here, but there shouldn’t be a rush to do it. If you have to cram training in order to prepare properly, well that simply carries a high risk and should not be encouraged. Instead put your hand up to crew, sit it out for a year, plan your training accordingly, get in the best shape you can be and then make it an A Race and race it.
The Long Run – Majell Backhausen