Finally…it’s Friday. What can I tell you about my week? Lately I have been enjoying the really, really simple moments of my day; a perfect cup of coffee, listening to music while walking the dogs, finally feeling the sun after a week of rainy grey skies. I have been feeling oddly excited this week. Things are coming together for me at work, but more importantly my running plans for the next few months are taking shape. I think it’s also partly seasonal. I love these early spring to summer months when you can start to enjoy the sun and stop worrying about weather or not you’ll be warm enough when you step outside, and stop thinking about socks as a part of your daily attire. Sometimes it’s even tempting to want to go barefoot, except that I usually have this thought about 3 seconds before looking down and spying a broken beer bottle in the grass. (Just one of the many perks of living in a college town.)
Running wise, this has been an easy week for me. No great shakes, nothing over 6 miles so far, but I’ll stretch things out a little more this weekend. I sat down yesterday and picked out some shorter races leading up to my fall half. I used to do this religiously in my early days of running, I’d always build up to my target race distance with evenly spaced shorter races. I’m nervously curious about how it’ll feel to race a 5K and 10K again. Even just thinking about running more makes me happy, so I think it’s safe to say that I’m on the right path for the time being. I’m lucky to live around very active running communities, which means I don’t have to travel too far to find a race on any give date.
Here’s been the burning question of the, though: how often should I race? If I want to run faster half marathons, how many of them should I run a year, or rather with what spacing? How many shorter races should I do leading up to target races? I’m more interested in creating a strategy for my races than just running races that sound fun. It helps me mentally to feel like a lead-up race has a purpose, is testing my fitness, etc. I am a planner, I always like to know what’s coming, generally speaking, not just in my training. I always have a mental catalog of my upcoming to-dos, the benefit of which being that I have a long list of things coming I look forward to. I know this probably breaks all the wisdom surrounding being in the here and now, but I just like to know what the future is most likely to hold for me.
How often do you race? Do you wing it and run whatever strikes your fancy, or do you strategize? Are you a planner in general?