Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Signing Up for Races (And Why That’s Not Good…)

So when I jotted down my running goals for 2018, I must have omitted “running all the races” though that’s one I’m definitely well on my way to achieve!

The first two races I signed up for were the National Women’s Half Marathon (I actually registered very early when facebook kept feeding me ads for their $1 registration — I paid $10) and of course the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (race recap here). These two alone would have been a nice progression. A 16 kilometers race in early April and a 21 kilometer race at the end of the month. Smart way to do it. Even as I added Pacers’ St Pats Day race on March 17, a 10K, 16K and 21K within 6 weeks was already a good little race schedule. And then I went registration crazy. I decided I would try to do the Marine Corps Marathon in the fall, so I signed up for the Access Granted 17.75K (read my recap here. I *loved* that race!) . And the Rock’n’Roll half marathon. And the Brooklyn half. And the Virginia Wine Country Half. And this just in because can’t stop won’t stop, a 10K in Boston while I’m there having a fun girls’ weekend with my roommates from college. Before I knew it, this is why my race schedule looked like for the spring:

At first it was fun. Yeah, medals! Race pictures! And then a little before the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler I started to burn out I guess. Racing wasn’t fun anymore. I needed some recovery time before each race, and a bit of a taper before so I wasn’t really running at all except for races and I also wasn’t going to Cyclebar anymore. I missed my training routine. I got tired of not being able to make plans with friends because “I had another race that day”. Now I know that’s probably not going to get better as I start training for a marathon and doing crazy long runs but each race just started feeling less and less special. And I’m sure my instagram feed could use something beside bib pics and medal Mondays. Also, my blog could use a few non-running related posts. I know 😉 

I’ve always been bad at sticking to a training, especially getting those long runs done.  Actually I have a hard time getting runs done by myself period. If walking is an option, I’m always going to chose it because I love walking so much. I’m really good at walking too! So I joined some running groups to make running more fun but also make sure I resisted that walking temptation. And I did the training program with Potomac River Running ahead of the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. It was just what I needed to make that extra effort to run all the miles I was supposed to. I know for a fact that had it not been for that added accountability, there are many a morning when it was cold and raining/snowing when I would just have stayed home instead. But I had a group to meet so I sucked it up and got it done. And that’s what I needed. Then I started missing group runs because I had races. But in my head, when I signed up for all these races I thought they’d actually be good for my training. They would force me to get in a long 21.1 km run. Except then I wasn’t racing, I was just running. I wasn’t getting faster or seeing my pace improve which it should have. My last half marathon, I finished in the exact same time as the one before. So running all the races isn’t making me progress as a runner, I’m just accumulating medals for my brand new rack at this point. And that would be ok I guess if that’s what I wanted. Just to say I’ve done so many races etc. But I actually want to get better as a runner and running more races doesn’t automatically make you a better runner. I definitely think I would have been better off picking a few races (maybe my initial 10K, 16K, 21K) and focusing on my performance for each race, not as a training for something else but as a proper race in its own right. Then I wouldn’t feel the need to “take it easy” because I have another race next week… or not give it 100% because I’m still recovering from the previous one. I actually want to race a race not just run it and I haven’t really been able to do that this spring.

So right now I’m signed up for three races in the second half of the year:

I’ll most likely do Pacer’s Twilighter 5K because that’s a fun race (it’s penciled into my schedule) and racing 5K won’t negatively affect my training. I still have hope to run a sub-30 minute 5K, that’s on my running goals for 2018! But I know that my dance card is full no matter how many ads for the Army 10 miler I see on my facebook feed or how many people tell me that Richmond is the best marathon. I cannot sign up for another marathon! When I signed up for the GW Parkway Classic 10 miler two weeks after the Cherry Blossom one, my logic was that I probably wouldn’t be happy with my result so I could use a redemption race. Well, guess what I didn’t do much better so if that didn’t work for 10 miles it sure ain’t gonna work for 26! And next spring, I will strategically pick one or two big races and maybe a couple of fun 10Ks and just focus on properly training for those. Right now I’m thinking Philadelphia’s Broad Street 10 miler because I like that distance and maybe the Rock’n’Roll half marathon here in D.C. again because I really liked that course. Or maybe a Rock’n’Roll half in another city… I’d ask for suggestions of fun half marathons right now but I’m a bit worried I’ll get tempted and sign up for all of them again lol