Hey everyone!! I have one more guest post for you before I hit the interwebs again!! Today, Lauren from Breathe Deeply and Smile is taking over. I first met her at a brunch that the DC Trifecta organized! She is also a fellow Rock N Blogger, Momentum Jewelry Ambassador and a fellow Zooma Ambassador!! I forgot to tell you! I have been selected to come back as a Zooma Ambassador for 2016! I’m so excited to be joining forces again with some amazing women to support an awesome race!
I have enjoyed following all of Lauren’s racing endeavours and I think you will too. Today she is coming to talk to us about strategy for planning your race calendar!! Thanks so much Lauren!
Believe me, I can’t believe that 2015 is almost over. It seems like the year just flew by! Of course a new year means new goals, adventures, and races to run. As someone living in the mid-Atlantic region, I definitely need some races planned in the early spring to keep me motivated to run and train through the winter months. I’ve already registered for a few races but sometimes it’s hard to plan out your race schedule and figure out what exactly you want to train for. Here’s some tips I generally follow when filling out my race calendar for the upcoming year:
Pick 1 or 2 big goal races.
This is usually my starting point. Pick 1 or 2 “A” goal races you want to run. Whether that means getting a new PR, tackling a new distance, or registering for one your bucket list races. Once I have a big goal in mind I can plan around it adding tune-up races as well as keeping that goal and date in mind when planning out the rest of my year. I know that I’ll definitely be running another Fall marathon and am planning on having a big goal race for the spring which will maybe be a half marathon PR or full marathon. Once I pick those races I can plan around it accordingly.
Since I’ve been running in Baltimore a few years, I already know there are a handful of local races that I’ll definitely be running again. Check out your local running clubs or running store’s race schedules and mark those dates into your calendar if it’s an annual race or something you really want to run to keep that date open. Many races are usually around the same time each year but sometimes due to scheduling things get switched around more drastically.
Look out for race discounts.
This is one of the main ways my race calendar fills out because I’m always trying to save money! I already signed up for a few spring races due to registration price increases or Black Friday registration deals. Double-check when prices increase for local races you definitely want to run. I usually make a list of races I’m interested in, the date, and the dates and prices when the registration fees increase. Signing up far in advance can save you a lot of money. A tip to look out for is that many races I know will have cheaper prices for their 2016 before December 31st, so starting looking now!
Mix up the distances.
Keep things exciting, and mix up the distances of the races you sign up for to challenge yourself and have fun. Throw in some tougher distances and big races as well as more low-key races and events. You can also mix up the location of your races. Always running road races? Maybe try signing up for a local trail race. Register for a themed 5K or a fun race like a Color Run or mud run near you. Racing different distances challenges me in different ways and also keeps my race schedule interesting.
Talk to friends.
I’m positively peer-pressured into many of the races I sign up for because it’s more fun to run with others! Talk to your friends and see if there are any races they are running or want to run. Put a team together for a relay race or make it a girls’ “racecation” weekend at a ZOOMA race.
Some races have lotteries where you can enter as a team to snag an entry spot as well. Some races are good to run solo but more often it’s great to have other people to run with during the race or at least celebrate with post-race!
I hope this helps you figure out how to go about planning your 2016 race calendar if yours is looking kind of empty like mine is. If you already have some races on the books, maybe you can add a race to run with friends, or find a new challenge. I hope at least you were reminded to check registration price increase dates because we all know running is “free” but the costs can really add up when you love it as much as I do! May the New Year bring you health, happiness, and lots of PRs!
Lauren is a researcher and occupational therapy student by day and part-time health and fitness nut. Lauren is addicted to running, loves cooking, watching TV & films, trying new restaurants and bars, and exploring all the fun things Baltimore has to offer. She got hooked on running after her first 5K 4 years ago and has since completed 13 half and 3 full marathons as she currently chases a Boston qualifying time. Besides running she loves dabbling in yoga, spin, and group fitness classes while being a core member of the November Project Baltimore tribe. Lauren is the creator of Breathe Deeply and Smile where she writes about the finding happiness, running, health & fitness, food, and Baltimore happenings.