After running the Saratoga Springs Half Marathon on July 13th, it had me thinking about competing priorities within a training schedule, something I often struggle with. The race began at 7:30 and it was so humid that I knew I wasn’t going anywhere fast. But, there was still a piece of me that thought I could eke out a decent finishing time despite using this race as a long training run. In the end, I finished in 2:15:49 which was the slowest I have ever run a half.
I had no intention of giving this race 110% of my effort, but I was also foolishly hopeful. I like when races fit nicely within a well-designed training schedule. They force me to either add speed or distance and get me that much more excited for the BIG day. However, I find it very difficult to race during a long training schedule. On one hand, I am raring to go but on the other hand, I have to mentally trick myself into slowing down and keeping my pride in check, to not risk everything before the main event. I have been very conscious of my marathon training pace this time around and have slowed down over time. This has taught me to sit back, learn how to relax, and enjoy the ride without getting injured. At the same time, I miss the speed I built up last summer – the speed that ended in a struggle with Achilles tendinitis late in the game.
How do you prioritize your racing schedule within the confines of your training schedule? This isn’t the first time I’ve struggled with this. Maybe I am just a horrible multitasker. Maybe I am just playing it too conservatively. Do you lay it all on the course, or wait until the celebration (yes, your target race IS a celebration)? My conflicted mind wants to know!