I’ve been waiting to share my plans for this year until I have some things firmed up, but it’s taking too long and I couldn’t wait to share!
After quitting marathon training last fall, I’ve given marathon training a lot of thought. I decided I wanted to run a marathon in 2018. However! I had a lot of trouble finding one I wanted to run. My requirements are:
- Smallish size: I’d like it to be larger than the 88 participants in my first marathon but not huge.
- Time limit of at least 6.5 hours: Having run a 6:03 marathon on a course with a time limit of 6 hours, I don’t want to have a time limit as another thing to stress me out.
- Pace groups: I’d like to, ideally, run with others.
- Scenic course or somewhere I’d enjoy running
- Early fall timeframe
I thought a lot about the timing. Last fall, my motivation plummeted when it got cold. Summer training can suck, but I’ve liked summer training so much better than winter training the last two years. I feel like the worst that can happen in the summer is that I sweat a lot and slow down. No biggie. In winter, snow, ice, frigid temps, and lack of motivation can all derail my training. I’m so much more motivated and excited to run in summer. Ideally, I’ll train through summer for a race date no later than mid-October.
The challenge, of course, is that fall weather is such a wild card. It seems like on any given October day, it’s as likely to be 80 degrees as it is 50 degrees.
The race I initially chose that meets all my requirements is Wineglass in Corning, NY. Last year it was pretty cool on race day, but given that it’s an early fall race the last weekend of September, who knows? Still, I thought I might try for it, and if the weather sucks then oh well.
But then, when I started planning for our vacation, I realized something: Not all of the country has such inconsistent weather. The part of Northern California where we’re going this year for vacation has year-round consistent temperature in the 50s to mid-60s. I found a small marathon (about 150 people last year) with pace groups and a 6.5-hour time limit where we’ll be going on vacation–the Humboldt Bay Marathon. It’s the second weekend in August, when temperatures consistently are 50 degrees in the morning, getting up to the low-60s in the afternoon. In fact, the historical record high for this area is 85 degrees! With the race starting at 7 a.m., I’d be almost guaranteed to have cool weather for most of the race.
Plus, I’m very interested in exploring this area–hence going on vacation here–so would love to explore it on foot in a marathon. The other benefit is that I’d start training in April, after winter weather is gone, run through the summer, and be done with my goal race in mid-August. Plus, a really small race that has pace groups??? It sounds perfect!
The only thing is that we usually go on vacation in September, which isn’t a big deal. We just need to be sure that the rest of our vacation works around the race date. This is what I’m still working out. If it does, I will be running the Humboldt Bay Marathon this year!
My running plans, therefore, are based on running this race.
January through March I’ll be base building. I love that if the winter weather derails my running, it won’t matter. Have I mentioned how much I love not training in winter??? Especially this winter, which with its nonstop frigid temps and snow is the worst I can remember. In fact, if the winter continues its trend of frigid cold and snow and I can’t build up much base, I might run the half marathon instead of the full. I really wouldn’t want to start marathon training from ground zero.
April I’ll start training.
April through July I’ll look for races to do as training runs. I’ve shied away from summer races, but there’s at least one–Deckers Creek Half Marathon in West Virginia–in June that I’ve wanted to do, and training will give me a good excuse to do some summer races.
August 12 is the Humboldt Bay Marathon. I’ll run the race at the start of vacation so that I’ll be in recovery mode and not have to worry about training the rest of my vacation.
September through December will just be running for fun. I’d like to run the local Buffalo Creek Half Marathon in October–my favorite race–and any other races that sound good. I love the idea of having only a single goal race for the year since I’m more focused on running for fun instead of racing.
If the marathon doesn’t work out for August….ugh, I don’t know! I’ve actually considered registering for the Wineglass Marathon as a backup (I think it typically sells out in February) and then if the Humboldt Bay Marathon works out, running both marathons to make the most of my training. They’re six weeks apart, which is pretty ideal in terms of taking time off from marathon 1 and then keeping up my fitness for marathon 2. I know a lot of runners who have done that, and it makes a lot of sense to me. Plus, I do not plan to race for time.
The downside to that plan is that, again, weather for Wineglass is such a wild card, even if I’m just running it for fun. Also, I have no idea how motivated I’ll be to run a second marathon six weeks after the first. Although, I could defer Wineglass if I’m not up for it.
A safer back-up plan if Humboldt Bay doesn’t work out is to just run a local half marathon. While I’d like to run a marathon this year, I don’t want to run one just to run one. I want to actually be excited about and want to do the race, which is key to me getting to the starting line (as we know based on what happened last year!).
I feel like the stars are aligning around Humboldt Bay, and I’m genuinely excited it! And for me to be excited about a race is saying something! I also like the idea of Wineglass, but the weather scares me. I’m going to push forward with my travel plans and hope to firm things up so that I can register for Humboldt Bay by the end of this month.
As for my training, regardless of what race I do, it’s probably not a surprise that I will not be using the Hansons’ method and instead will be using the 80/20 method. I’m super excited to continue 80/20 training this year since I felt like it worked so well for me last year. For my base training, I’m planning to run at a low heart rate easy pace for as many runs as I can before I add in high-intensity running during training.
I’m so excited about this year’s running plans! I feel like my year will provide me a good mix of both running for fun and challenging myself.
Here’s to a fun year of running! What are your running plans? If you’ve posted them and I haven’t commented, please let me know so I can check them out. I love reading about plans for the year!