The perfect race scenario goes something like this: You’re in the middle or at the end of a hard, satisfying training cycle. You’ve had this race on the calendar for a while and now you’re rested up and ready to go. The weather forecast looks great, and you’re prepared to leave it all out on the course, experience a little race day magic, and nail a huge PR.
A lot of the time, though, it doesn’t go that way. Maybe you have a three-mile tempo at 10k pace on your training plan and your school is putting on a 5k this weekend. Maybe you’re on vacation and your whole family is running a road race during your base-building phase. Maybe there’s a half marathon starting a mile from your house and you conveniently have twelve miles at marathon pace in your training plan for that day.
Should you do it? Should you ever hit up a race to do a workout or should you only enter races to race?