No matter where you are now, there are races popping up everywhere and you could compete every week if you fancied. Go run 5ks, 10ks, Half Marathons, Trail races, Marathons and Ultras to your heart’s delight, or not if you do too much. How much is too much though and how do you know what races to choose?
It must be confessed that the author is an ultra runner through and through but loves racing any distance, be it for the bus or for 24 hours and, due to the fact that if you race an ultra every weekend you will eventually fall to pieces, will run a huge variety of races throughout the year.
“if you race an ultra every weekend you will eventually fall to pieces”
So how do you choose your events? Do you go for beautiful or cheap, competitive or just as long as possible. Does there need to be obstacles, mud or compulsory fancy dress or will you only go for a road race where everyone is in singlets and tiny, tiny shorts?
How often you can race can be dictated by how far you like to go, with 5k runners able to thrown down much more regularly than an ultra runner but burn out is a risk to everyone if you go too often. Always see how long it is taking you to recover from your events and if you’re still aching on the next race day then maybe it’s too soon.
For marathon and ultra racers you see lots of people get really excited, myself included, when you first discover the sport, racing every weekend if you can and gradually getting slower and slower. If you don’t give your body time to recover and train then you won’t get faster.
“If you don’t give your body time to recover and train then you won’t get faster.”
TrainAsONE can make you a faster runner, but only if you give it time to work and are not constantly in a cycle of tapering, racing and recovering. When done properly you can enjoy the training as much as racing. The joy of feeling yourself get faster and stronger over a few weeks or months can provide just as big a buzz.
There are always exceptions to the rule and Jimmy on Twitter will have raced 87 marathons in a year and got faster every time. They could just be making it all up, as we’ve seen recently, so bear this in mind before becoming too enamoured. Either that or big changes in body fat/weight can provide gains but this isn’t as sustainable as balanced training and a healthy diet and will often lead to physical and emotional burnout.
“Not matter if you’re there to compete or complete it is wise to choose the races that really matter to you and build up to them properly.”
Not matter if you’re there to compete or complete it is wise to choose the races that really matter to you and build up to them properly. Races are generally on every year and if you’re sensible you can be get all the ones on the bucket list done eventually, just try not to do them all in 12 months.
Let us know your stories and how often you race, whatever your distance.
(Authors note: I feed my race hunger by doing shorter events, even though the longer a race is, the more it suits me. This week I’m racing the 20km race at Lavaredo when my heart says 119km. My A races are later in the year though, so the sacrifice is worth it.)