If you have followed me through the years on my personal blog you may have picked up that I have had my bouts of “prolific” marathoning. I raced lots of my own and spent a couple of years pacing several others. But even in the past few years, though I have cut down on pacing I have still raced a fall and spring marathon each year. This year I am sort of wishing I hadn’t. And here’s why.
My original intent for Boston this year was for it to be a fun run, I only signed up because a high school friend qualified for the first time. Given the injury and slow come back after Philly I really thought I wouldn’t even be in shape to race well. Unfortunately for me my speed came back quickly and I knew I had the fitness to race hard and it isn’t in my nature to run for fun when I know I can race competitively.
Though Boston provided me with some great opportunities this year and I am ecstatic with the outcome, it wasn’t really in line with my long term goals to go and run a hot spring marathon. I want to get my marathon time much much faster and racing a course that is known for beating me up in the heat certainly isn’t a step towards any near term smoking fast PRs.
Leading into Boston my training was just getting back to its highest level. Had I opted out of Boston I could possibly be raving about my killer workouts right now and notching some short distance PRs which have been hard for me to come by since 2010! Instead I am struggling to recover and I am having to patiently sit out the recovery period where my workouts are slower and I am not race ready.
As with all things marathon there are many variables at play but I do think there are some major risks taken when training for a spring marathon in the midwest. This year we were spoiled with a mild winter but most years you train through the elements and sacrifice indoor races and shorter distance spring races in pursuit of a solid spring marathon. I’ve come up with a brief list of pro’s and cons to consider when debating whether to run a spring marathon. But I think next year I am going to try sitting the spring marathon out and focusing on some fast track races and seeing if that can propel me into a fabulous summer and an even better fall marathon!
1) Motivation to train through the winter
2) Spring weather is, usually, conducive to marathon racing
3) If done well the training provides a great base for summer racing
4) This one is personal, but the sting of a poor spring marathon usually leads to a kick ass fall marathon for me (I almost always achieve my marathon goals in the fall, in fact I am pretty sure I have never hit a goal time in the spring, unless it was a pacing job)
1) Recovery process can take away from shorter spring racing (For me it is easier to swallow not racing in November than it is in May)
2) Injury during training is higher in winter with ice outside and indoor workouts (tight turns)
3) Post marathon blues – unlike the fall marathon which is followed up with the holiday season I find that the post marathon blues in spring aren’t as easily warded off
4) As with any marathon there is an interruption in the training process, you just can’t recover from a marathon as quickly as you can from a 5k
What are your thoughts on the Fall/Spring marathon combo Salty Readers? Do you have a preference for which season you race a marathon in? Do you prefer to get in one, two, or more marathons each year? Do you ever feel that perhaps your goal marathon isn’t in line with your other running goals?