Race during marathon training? (Read 302 times)


    Marathon training for me starts at the end of this month, however, there is a trail race that sounds interesting to me. It is a 7.5 mile race. The problem is, the day of the race I am scheduled to have a 20 mile training run. What is the recommendation of running races during race training? Run the race to win and that's all for the day (7.5 mile trail race versus 20 mile training run)?  Run the race at a nice pace, then run the course again to get near the scheduled 20 miles?  Don't run the race at all and just do the scheduled 20 miles?  Thanks!


    Letting off steam

      In general, some marathon programs incorporate shorter races into the training, others "prefer" you not race, but suggest how to deal with the race if you do race.  I think most people will do some races during training.

      I like to race during marathon training in lieu of speedwork, so I'd run the race and shuffle the long run to the next day, or two days later if your legs will be beat up.  7-1/2 miles might require an easy day between.



      Duke of Douchebaggery

        If you're like me there is no such thing as a "nice pace" at a race.  All the best intentions in the world fall apart once you are in the start corral and the stampede begins.  It's just something about race day.


        Having said that, I think racing during a training program is fine as long as the following criteria are considered:


        1. You are not injured or feeling especially damaged by training.  A race will frequently take a developing overuse injury and push it over the top.  So, you can sign up for the race but be ready to skip it if you have a developing injury.


        2. You are willing to swap out at least one of the quality workouts for that week.  You may even have to consider shortening or backing off the pace of other quality workouts that week to compensate.


        3. The race is no where near the taper for your target event.


        Unless you are in really good race condition I would NOT try to run the race and then add in miles for your 20 mile run.  I think you need to be ready to skip the 20 miler altogether.  You can also try to move the 20 miler (only within that week) and drop any speedwork or other quality workout that week but I doubt that is even necessary.


        I am not sure what plan you are on but missing that 20 miler may not have too much of an impact at all.  Also, do NOT try to make up mileage later.  That applies to any other missed run as well.  One of the mistakes people make is trying to make up missed mileage during a training program.  If you miss a scheduled run just let it go and move on with your program.  Kind of like Ben Hogan and missed putts.


        Marathon training is about 80% physical adaptations and 20% mental preparation.  I think the race is a great idea and might do more for your mental preparation than the 20 miler did.


        Last, and certainly not least.  Pay attention to your body.  If you're feeling great that week then maybe you can add a shortened version of your long run to a different part of the week and still do the race.  However, if you're feeling a little worn and want to do the race then I'd drop any other quality workout that week completely.  And, I'd be ready to possibly reduce mileage for the day following the race and just do a light recovery run.


        (insert really long argument about recovery runs being lumped into "junk miles" by others)

        A Saucy Wench

          Is the THE 20 mile training run or one of many 20 mile runs?


          How far from race day is it?


          Saturday or Sunday?


          First marathon or?


          How much trail experience do you have and how technical a trail is it?


          Personally, I would either rearrange training since you clearly have plenty of time to do so and put the race in.  OR I would warmup for a couple of miles non trail, run the race hard, grab a short refuel and head out on the roads for the remaining mileage. (I dont have the trail experience to do a long runs on a trail without hurting myself. )  Or what I really prefer if I have the flexibility is to run the race hard and then do my long run the next day.   I wouldnt do that every week, but experiencing a long run on tired tired legs once in a while is really helpful to push through those last miles come race day.    It gives you a feel for practicing the last 20 miles instead of the first 20.

          I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets


          "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

          Nasreddin Hoja

            The guise upthread know more about this than me.


            I trained recently for the Marathon that wasn't, NYCM 2012.  I prolly had, a much too aggressive race schedule for a n00b.  I trained 12 weeks to develop base, followed by 18 weeks on my Higdon Int 1.  I ran  7 races during the 12 weeks and 5 races - 4m, 10k, 10m, 2HMs, - during the 18 week plan.  I moved my longs around and did more or less as above.


            In the end, I didn't have a Marathon.  But I did have a new 4m and HM PRs.  A ton of cool races.  The Journey, not the Destination. I agree with the previous post, the racing trains you for racing.  You'll go into your big race cool as a cucumber.


              It is the first of four scheduled 20 mile training runs, there is also an 18 miler scheduled. Race is in late April,  marathon isn't until June. This will be my second marathon. No trail experience. Race is scheduled for a Saturday. Scheduled to run 18 miles that week, not including the 20 mile run, so if I miss the training run, I'll have 25.5 with the race versus 38 if I only did the scheduled training.

              A Saucy Wench

                that is an awful lot of 20 milers on a relatively low mileage plan.


                I'd skip the 20 entirely, bump up the mileage on the runs before the race a bit.  Race it hard but untapered (trading it out for the first speed session from the FOLLOWING week.

                I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets


                "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7


                  I dunno, racing during marathon training seems sketchy to me.......


                  Running is stupid