Sunday, March 4, 2012

Training for Your Next Race

I enjoy running. It it one of the best exercises for cardiovascular fitness and is great for relieving stress and anxiety. I have completed numerous 5k races, one half-marathon and one full marathon. Recently I  have reduced my daily mileage due to a knee injury, but since I have been steadily improving I have begun to think about increasing my mileage again.

My next race will be a 5k in June and then a half marathon in October. I may pick a few shorter distance races in between these two races, that will just depend on how they fit into my training schedule. All this training has made me think about how I want to train for my next race. Do I want to train towards reaching a time goal, or do I want to train more for increasing my endurance and ability to run an entire race without stopping and walking at all when I feel fatigued?

Today I met a man on the tennis court who runs ultra marathons, which are all races consisting of greater than 26.2 mile stints. I was impressed with his excitement about the races he does and how many miles he runs weekly. One thing he said to me surprised me. He said that in some ways running an ultra marathon was easier than running a marathon because you are running a slower pace for more time. In a marathon it is more like a long sprint and you can race more for time than for endurance. I had never thought of racing this way and it was interesting to me to see a different perspective from my own.

While I don't think I will be completing my first ultra marathon anytime soon, it is an interesting perspective and has changed my idea of marathon training. I think for my next half-marathon I will focus more on my speed than my endurance. I have never been a fast runner, but perhaps with more devotion to speed rather than long runs I will be able to shave some minutes off my next race. 

What is your approach to running distances and training? Do you run more to increase endurance, seed or both?