For me, in order to stay motivated, I like to always have a race on the horizon. Otherwise, I tend to become complacent and lose the desire to improve my running without a target race. The key is to not over schedule races and find a balance of allowing enough rest and downtime between training cycles to avoid becoming stale. This is where I failed in the past, usually scheduling marathons too close to each other. Last Sunday was my third marathon in less than five months, which was too many for me. As a result, I was totally unmotivated going into my third marathon this year.
If my goal was to just rack up marathons, then I guess scheduling as many marathons as I could reasonably handle would be okay. But since I’m paying hundreds of dollars to participate in these events, I want to run well and not just go through the motions of checking another marathon off my list.
Given that I’m experiencing marathon training fatigue, I decided to not run any marathons for the remainder of this year and focus on my speed and run some shorter races (i.e., half marathons). This should allow me to build more leg strength and maintain my fitness until I’m ready to start my next marathon training cycle.
Over the past week I’ve been reviewing upcoming local half marathons and marathons for the next 12 months. Fortunately, the San Diego/Southern California area has a lot of options to choose from. For my next marathon I was originally planning to run the Los Angeles Marathon in March 2014, but decided against it for two reasons. First, I’m becoming more jaded toward the large city marathons. They have become too commercial, crowded and the logistics to start these races are becoming more and more inconvenient – waking up before 3 am, being shuttled miles to the start, and sitting around for two to three hours to start a race is pretty ridiculous. Second, although I want to take a break from running marathons, waiting until next March was a little too far out there.
So my next marathon will be the Carlsbad Marathon on January 19, 2014. I ran this marathon earlier this year and liked that it was local, well organized and small. I can literally drive and park a quarter mile from the start about 45 minutes before the race begins. The course is hilly and moderately difficult, but now that I know the course, I should be able to train smarter for it next year. Then I plan to run the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon (Ventura, CA) on May 25, 2014. This is a relatively new marathon. I’m really excited about his marathon since it is one of the fastest marathon courses in the country – mostly downhill and flat. The course is supposedly beautiful and they limit the field size to 1,500 runners.
Between these marathons, I have signed up for a handful of half marathons in the San Diego area. These half marathons should keep me motivated, introduce a new dimension to my running routine, and provide a good assessment of my fitness levels throughout the year.
Below is a list of races I have signed up for over the next twelve months. I have tried to space them so they are not too close together, but not so far apart that I lose motivation or momentum.
August 18, 2013 – America’s Finest City Half Marathon (San Diego, CA)
November 17, 2013 – Silver Strand Half Marathon (Coronado/Imperial Beach, CA)
January 19, 2014 – Carlsbad Marathon (Carlsbad, CA)
March 9, 2014 – San Diego Half Marathon (San Diego, CA)
April 27, 2014 – La Jolla Half Marathon (La Jolla, CA)
May 25, 2014 – Mountain 2 Beach Marathon (Ojai/Ventura, CA)