In the nearly two hours I was out early Sunday morning on my long run, I counted 10 other runners along my route. It’s not uncommon to pass a few other die-hard’s getting some miles in while the majority of the population is still tucked in bed, but 10!?!
It dawned on me that training season is upon us and while I have yet to commit to any spring races (besides Boston) I’m getting excited to add a few fun events to my calendar. That has led me to start thinking about what events I’d like to do this year and with that, I’m going to redirect my focus a touch.
When I listed my goals last year, I stated that I wanted to run four marathons in 2014. I never really addressed it here but I did not fulfill that goal, stopping after three. It was a hard-learned and valuable lesson to which I paid attention. I’m not sure that my body is cut out for running 26.2. Sure, maybe once or twice a year, but three or four times? Not so much. A cross-country coach I know told me not long after my third marathon last year that there is a reason many elite marathoner’s only run one or two each year. They are hard on the body, often requiring a few months to recover.
A testament to that theory is that the time between my third and fourth marathons, where I finally got my BQ. They were four months apart which was the furthest apart of any of my preceding and subsequent marathons, thus far. What I’m hoping this means, is that by taking 7 months off of running that distance, my body will have had ample time to rest and repair, and will now be ready for the demands of training my ass off in preparation for the Boston Marathon. Not to mention a PR with a sub 3:30:00 finish.
That’s not really where I was going with that… how easily I get distracted!
My point was, I’m considering shorter distances this year and hopefully, some more time on trails. I think one of the deterrents from shorter races has been the cost comparison based on the mileage of the event. I’ve heard others discuss this and it does make sense in some ways. If you pay $150 to enter a marathon, that breaks down to paying about $5.75 per mile. Enter a 5k for $45 and your averaging $14.50 per mile. Obviously, this is why Costco works. Because a gallon of nacho cheese sauce for $7.98, averaging $.23 cents per serving, is much more economical than buying a 15 oz can containing 7 servings averaging at $.28 per serving. CHA-CHING! Who couldn’t use saving $.05 here and there?
Okay. Maybe not the best example. And I do not, for the record, eat nacho cheese sauce. Gross!!
Anyway, cost aside, after spending the past few years on distance, I’d like to spend more time on speed and I think a good way to gauge that will be done by running some shorter events. I won’t lie. I’m not the biggest 5k fan. Usually I don’t feel like I’ve really warmed up and found my groove until three miles in. But a 10k or 15k? Totally manageable.
Also, and this is not true in every case, but it seems that many of these events are a little smaller in overall size in terms of participants. Given my competitive nature, this could mean age group awards. Last year I ran a small 5k and was the first place overall female! (It was REALLY small but winning is winning!)
I still love the half-marathon distance and see several in my future. Of course I’m not ruling out the possibility of a fall marathon either. But we’ll see how I feel at Boston.
So back to the cost. The other thing I’m taking into consideration is that for the price of one marathon, I can run three shorter events. I think that is a pretty good deal! While I’d splurge for a big race that I really want to run, there’s something to be said for quantity. More races! Booyah!!
I’m curious now. What is your favorite distance? What race or races are you most looking forward to this year?
No matter what your plans are, happy training!
Who’s craving nachos now?