On any given weekend, a runner could participate in one ... two ... maybe even three local races.
This weekend, for example, there's the Heirloom Tomato Festival 5K Run/Walk in Pierceton and Takin' It To The Streets 5K Run/Walk at Swinney Park. Labor Day weekend, will feature the ACD Festival 5K in Auburn, Summer Nights 5K & 1 Mile in Ligonier and the Parlor City Trot in Bluffton.
It's exciting that there's so many events available to runners, and it can be easy to caught up with enthusiasm and register for a number of events. However, when focusing on a target race such as Fort4Fitness, one needs to be prudent when selecting events.
But it can be done -- if it is executed strategically.
Race a workout. Twice this summer, I've participated in events and used them as the week's speed workout. The Runners on Parade 5K, with a warm-up and cool down, was the half-marathon pace workout. At the New Haven 10K, I ran a threshold interval (three times 2 miles at half marathon pace). When racing a workout, it's important to be mindful of effort. These events should not be PR attempts but rather controlled efforts to learn how to control pace.
Timing. Some schedules will incorporate races into the plan so that runners can gauge progress and have accurate race times. Why is this important? If you are running any kind of speed workouts, the suggested paces are based off a 5K or 10K pace. It's hard to determine that without a recent result.
Shuffle it. If you want to participate in a race and give it a strong effort, don't expect to follow the week's plan to a "T." It's best not to run a long distance the day before or after.
Long of it. If your goal is simply participating, races are a great way to have a supported long run. For a 5K, run a couple miles before and/or after to get in the required mileage. Longer races, such as the Parlor City Trot, are great for this. There are water stations, crowds to cheer you and fellow runners to keep you motivated. The key is to run the race easy to get in the aerobic and cardiovascular benefits of the long, slow distance run.
I'll be doing just that at Parlor City as I'm registered to run the half marathon. Two friends and I have promised to just make it fun, a pledge that is guaranteed as one will be pushing a jogging stroller.
T-minus 37 days!