Those that know me well know that I am a planner. I like to plan. I like to have a plan. Whether it is Christmas shopping, a vacation, or my running, I feel better when there is a plan. Oddly enough I have no problem and am super flexible when plans change (and they often do!) but still...even knowing that things very well may change... I feel better when there is a plan.
So when I told Josh the other night that I had my running/training/racing planned out all the way through January 2012 he said, "Of course you do". Seriously... pick a day between now and then and I can tell you how many running miles I have planned.
From now until April 16, I will be finishing my training for the Salt Lake City Marathon. I thought I was using the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 plan, but I realized that by adding in runs on Mondays and adding in the speed training I was basically doing the Advanced plan. Whatever you call it... it has really been working for me and I have really liked the increased mileage and the speed work and strength training.
After April 16 I will take off whatever time I need (the last two marathons I have taken off 2 days, then eased back into running with shortish, easy paced runs every day) and then will jump into training for Ragnar Wasatch Back (at around week 12 of their 20 weeks training plan). Ragnar training is fun! Since you have to be ready to run multiple times in 24-30ish hours and on little to no rest, the training calls for "two a day" runs and "three a day" runs. So instead of going out and running 15 miles at once one day, you will go out and run five miles three different times in one day. You can take a peek at the Ragnar (advanced) training here. Seriously... Ragnar is insanely fun. I am captain of the most awesome team this year and cannot wait!!
Ragnar is June 17-18. When that is done, I will take off a couple of days, ease back into running (listening to my body) and then jump back into my marathon training plan at about week 6 of 18 weeks for the Top of Utah Marathon which will be on Sept. 17.
And then after TOU, I will take my couple of days off, ease back into running as it feels good, and then jump back into the marathon training at about week 3 of 18 for the Disney World Goofy Challenge! The marathon training I have already been using features back to back long runs on weekends and is the one generally recommended to train for "Goofy", so I don't think I will tweak it much. I love, love, love having a race planned for early January. Last year having winter races really kept me motivated when it would have been easy to slack on running (thanks to darkness, freezing temps, holiday craziness, etc.) and helped me not gain any weight over the holidays and feel great physically and emotionally through the winter. I want to always have a winter marathon planned.
Of course if I get an injury or start feeling worn down I will scale training back, and if all feels good and my speed keeps improving, I will likely increase my paces for training and maybe add in some more miles. This is basically what I did last year too... trained for Ragnar, then jumped into training for my first half, then jumped into training for my first full, then my second, then my third. :)
Besides these big races I have a half marathon planned for early July (here locally) and a local 5K planned for the end of July.
Of course I know that plans change and that life is full of the unexpected and I will roll with the punches as they come (what other choice do we have?). But I sure do like having things planned out and having races to train for and look forward to. Races motivate me to train and to be able to run further and faster. Races are fun and exciting to me and I LOVE them. Since we live hours from even the closest McDonalds or mall, almost any race I want to do involves some travel and time away from home. So because of limited money and time limiting my opportunities, I put a lot of thought into which races I register for and really pick and choose which ones I want to do the very most.
So how about you? Do you love racing? How far out do you plan your races? Do you like always having something to train for or do you like having "down time" in your running with no races planned?
Have a great day! (I am trying to ignore the fact that it is a BLIZZARD outside and there is almost six new inches of snow out there...)
And f you haven't played/entered yet, remember to come play my IPOD runninglist game and enter my contest for a REALLY good book. There are only two days left until I draw a winner on my birthday. :)