I’m nearing the black hole of racing around here. This is the time of year when it starts to get too hot and miserable outside for any races longer than 5K. I’m doing a 10K next month but my spring/summer racing calendar is otherwise completely empty. I will probably sign up for one or two of the summer 5Ks just because I don’t like to go more than a month or two without racing but I will do so knowing that they will inevitably be terrible because a) 5K and b) hot.
My goal for the summer is to simply maintain (and maybe ever so slightly increase) my weekly mileage from my winter and spring half marathon/10 mile training. I plan to keep 1-2 workouts a week but they will generally be less intense than some of the workouts leading up to my recent goal races. I definitely want to have a double digit run every week so I can keep some of the endurance I’ve built up these past several months because I’m 99.9% sure this is going to be my next big goal race:
Registration for time qualifiers doesn’t open until May 5th, so anyone reading this has three weeks to try to convince me this is a terrible idea. Good luck with that though because the Houston Marathon has actually been on my mind since January when I read this very positive post about the race. Here’s why I’m feeling determined to run it:
- I’ve done most of the big races in Austin. Some of them (3M Half Marathon, Statesman 10K) I’ve done three times now. I love 3M and I’m sad that running Houston would mean missing 3M but I want to do something new. Speaking of which…
- I want to run a new distance. I’ve done eight half marathons and five 10 mile races now. I’m definitely not a pro at these distances (far from it!) but I want to change things up. I’ve been training almost non-stop for 10 mile races or half marathons since August of 2015. It’s time to take a break and then try something new. Also, I was reminded of training for my first half marathon while I was recently helping my boyfriend train for the Statesman 10K. Every weekend long run was the longest he’d run to date! I remember how exciting I felt after every double digit run before that first half marathon. I am not expecting my first crack at twenty miles to be all sunshine and rainbows but hopefully I’ll feel a little excited about breaking my current distance PR (16 miles, way back in 2013 when I mismapped a 14 mile run leading up to the Decker Challenge).
- Houston is flat. I don’t like hills. This is why I’ve never been interested in the Austin Marathon.
- I won’t be doing the bulk of my training during the summer. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, summer running is miserable here. If I wanted to run Chicago or Marine Corps I’d be doing most of my training during the worst time of year to run in Central Texas. Training for my first marathon will be painful but it will be a little less painful if I’m not doing most of my training during the summer.
- Houston is relatively close. The 2014 Philadelphia Marathon was supposed to be my first marathon, except then I developed a stress fracture in the spring and decided that 2014 was not the right time to build mileage. I also gave some thought to CIM since it’s another fast course and it’s late in the year (December). The issue with those two marathons is that I would have to fly, take more time off of work, spend more money– basically, everything would be a much bigger production than traveling ~3 hours by car.
- I can join a training group. There are lots of training groups around here for people running winter marathons like Austin and Houston. I think that I have gotten a lot smarter about my training since my stress fracture in 2014 and I’m not a complete running newbie but marathon training is still uncharted territory for me. Teach me your ways, veteran marathoners!
Along those lines, since today was the Boston Marathon and my dad has already asked me this:
Am I going to try to BQ (qualify for Boston)?
This is very, very doubtful. My most recent race effort* predicts a time just under a BQ for my age and gender (3:35).
Plus I would have actually needed a time faster than 3:33:12 to get into Boston this year. I’d really like to stay healthy and injury-free between now and January and I don’t think focusing on a tough and possibly unrealistic time goal while building mileage is the way to do that. For now, I’d say that sub-4:00 or maybe even sub-3:45 would be awesome. At the end of the day, I’d really just like to train for this thing and finish it, which would be a vast improvement over 2014 when I registered for Philadelphia and didn’t even make it to the start of training.
So those are my race plans for now! I will probably also run 1-2 10 mile or half marathons in the fall to see how things are going but I haven’t chosen any races yet. January 2017 feels very far away but I’m really excited to have something new and different on the horizon.
But please tell me in the comments if this is a terrible idea.