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How often do you race?

  • 27-02-2019 8:14pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 354 ✭✭


    I was just wondering because I was looking back at my training over the years and something that has dropped off substantially is the amount of races I do each year. When I started, I was race happy and would try and race almost every week and sometimes twice a week. I had speed and was sharp but terrible endurance. I found the races benefitted me with keeping motivation going but I was racing so much that my body gave in.

    Now, I barely race at all and don't think I've cracked double figures on races since 2015. Motivation is often hard to find to go out and push hard sessions on my own all the time and I feel like a chugger rather than having speed. In other words, I don't think I've found a balance between training and racing on a psychological or physical level.

    Which prompts the question, how often do you race and if you think you are racing too much or too little or just right?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835


    El CabaIIo wrote: »
    I was just wondering because I was looking back at my training over the years and something that has dropped off substantially is the amount of races I do each year. When I started, I was race happy and would try and race almost every week and sometimes twice a week. I had speed and was sharp but terrible endurance. I found the races benefitted me with keeping motivation going but I was racing so much that my body gave in.

    Now, I barely race at all and don't think I've cracked double figures on races since 2015. Motivation is often hard to find to go out and push hard sessions on my own all the time and I feel like a chugger rather than having speed. In other words, I don't think I've found a balance between training and racing on a psychological or physical level.

    Which prompts the question, how often do you race and if you think you are racing too much or too little or just right?

    Since I've started this whole shebang I've just been moving from Marathon block to marathon block......so it's generally been 5Mile-10k-10Mile-Half-Full. I like the sense of building as the block goes on......but I'm racing a bit more this year as I'm not in training for a Marathon. This pattern has led to me developing a bit of a stigma towards 5ks which I'm trying to address this year :)
    I'll be racing a lot more the first 6 months of the year, with the proviso that, for a couple of different reasons, I won't be racing as much in the build up to DCM. My buddy who has the reins of my training would be a big advocate of racing the warm up races for marathons as opposed to using them as longer sessions or not racing at all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13 Flynnboslice


    Racing is not mystical, it is a skill that needs to be practiced regularly; hard races, controlled races, blow ups, level paced, surging, as long as you are willing to learn from it and not get hung up it will stand to you.

    Modulate effort around the races and no reason you can’t do it regularly if your not fit enough then may need to drop sessions and approach races as the main session and keep mileage consistent


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,455 ✭✭✭✭28064212


    Just the 27 races last year :) Considering I only did 2 in the first 100 days of the year, seems like a lot. Although, from another point of view, I only did one (DCM).

    I consider most races to be "just" a good, hard run (which, in itself, shouldn't be under-rated). Actual races, to me, mean a targeted block of training, and some sort of taper. Can you really say you raced a half-marathon, when 3 days beforehand you did a 25k with 4 sets of 3k at tempo pace? Or that you raced a 3000m when you did 60k in the previous 3 days (and a 400m and 1 mile race earlier in the same evening!)?

    IMO, a race is something you pick well in advance, and have at least a 12 week block where everything is aimed at performing in that race. Admittedly, once you start getting below 3000m, things start getting a little fuzzier

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,079 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67


    26 races, 9 of which we were championship races, an additional 5 which were target races and the balance tune-up races.
    But only 70 miles raced.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,415 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D


    2012 - 8
    2013 - 10
    2014 - 9 (injured 3 months)
    2015 - 15
    2016 - 13 (3 marathons)
    2017 - 21
    2018 - 26 (lots of track)
    2019 - 6 so far (mostly in Raheny!)

    Definitely racing more of late, as the above shows - almost as much in past 26 months as in the previous 5 years combined. Am I getting any better? Probably not!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler


    15 races in 2018. Would've been a couple more if not for an injury.

    By May of this year all going well it will be 5. Haven't really looked beyond that.

    Id always prioritise training over races but I think there is a big benefit to regular racing. It's an art and needs to be practiced.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,980 ✭✭✭Duanington


    17 in 2018 and hopefully in and around the same for 2019

    I try to race every 3-4 weeks or so and see racing as a big part of the overall training I do


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,222 ✭✭✭Wottle


    2018 was 16 in total from 3k to marathon but only 2 were proper goal races, both of which were half marathons, Berlin in April and Waterford in December.

    I've raced 5 of the first 6 weekends in 2019, chasing sub 20 and knew I was close to doing it but again only 2/3 goal races for the year. I haven't let the racing get in the way of my long runs either which for me is crucial.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,704 ✭✭✭✭RayCun


    14 last year, some very big gaps between races.
    Plan to race a lot more this year


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,844 ✭✭✭✭average_runner


    Only raced 7 last year. Hope to hit 10 this year but its hard to fit them in


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,694 ✭✭✭Chivito550


    474227.PNG

    I've only counted individual track races, so this doesn't include relays, road races, Parkruns, or field events. I also haven't counted any DNFs.

    Now that I'm doing shorter sprints, it is easier to run 2 races per day. Generally 10 races per indoor season, and up to 20 races in an outdoor season. When I was doing 400m in Ireland, the number of races I ran was much less as I only ever really raced 400m. In Australia, I did the other distances alongside the 400m, and that coupled with the season being 6 months long, meant I'd clock up a lot of races - 37 races in one season being my record.

    I always get out and race, even if not in my best shape. I don't see the point in doing hard training sessions otherwise.


  • Registered Users Posts: 375 ✭✭tbukela


    I did 32 races in 2018 & 28 in 2017, the vast majority are local 5K & 4M summer races hosted by local clubs. Very few races are target ones and most are treated as short, hard runs. My favourite races are on a nice summers evening with a nice mix of runners, short race and then a cuppa, cake and chat afterwards. Probably my favourite aspect of the running community is getting to know people from meeting them regularly at races.

    I probably raced too much my first year, 2017, when I didn't have a proper base and didn't improve by much. However last year I found that the racing really sharpening me and contributed to decent improvements. I'm not sure that I'd stick with the training if I didn't challenge myself in races every few weeks. I think some newcomers to running can be put off by racing but its been my experience that once people start participating in races they are hooked.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,600 ✭✭✭Wubble Wubble


    2014 - 19 (four HMs, Paris Marathon)
    2015 - 15 (one HM)
    2016 - 24 (four HMs, DCM)
    2017 - 24 (Rock 'N' Roll HM completed, DCM not so!)
    2018 - 24 (two HMs - one finished, one DNF)
    2019 - 4 to date (all XC)

    In 2014 and 2015, I was trying to combine playing Gaelic football as a fortysomething with running. Having secured my second winners medal (a mere 20 years after my first!) running has taken centre stage since.

    The 24 is not a target I set each year :D In fact, the biggest problem I have is attaining a mix between training and racing that will make me more competitive than I have been so far. In theory, that should mean less races for me in 2019. In practice....


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,015 ✭✭✭Itziger


    I'm really shocking on the racing front. Average over the last 5 years would be about 6 a year but there was a year where 3 or 4 of them were marathons. So far this year 1: a 19k Trail race!! But I do have a Half coming up in March �� Not too worried though, I think some amateurs overdo it. What's the benefit of doing an 18.30 5k race when you could be doing 2x5k in training in 19 mins each?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,015 ✭✭✭Itziger


    I'm really shocking on the racing front. Average over the last 5 years would be about 6 a year but there was a year where 3 or 4 of them were marathons. So far this year 1: a 19k Trail race!! But I do have a Half coming up in March 😐 Not too worried though, I think some amateurs overdo it. What's the benefit of doing an 18.30 5k race when you could be doing 2x5k in training in 19 mins each?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 354 ✭✭El CabaIIo


    Itziger wrote: »
    I'm really shocking on the racing front. Average over the last 5 years would be about 6 a year but there was a year where 3 or 4 of them were marathons. So far this year 1: a 19k Trail race!! But I do have a Half coming up in March �� Not too worried though, I think some amateurs overdo it. What's the benefit of doing an 18.30 5k race when you could be doing 2x5k in training in 19 mins each?

    My own take on it would be a different stress to get some sharpness and speed in the legs. That's what I was thinking with my OP, I'm generally never going to the well at those harder efforts and shorter efforts when I'm not racing often so I need to change it up a bit more often and get out and run some more races. My experience since I cut back a lot on races is that I normally feel like sh!te for lack of a better word when important races do come up because I haven't run race effort in a long time. Which is a contrast to how much pop I felt when I have raced more.

    I used to do blocks of races before where I might have a 10k on a Saturday and a 10 mile the next weekend and almost without fail, I could hold the same pace or faster for the longer race a week later.

    I think the racing schedule is why I always run much better in XC too than I do on the road. I'm forced to run more races during that time of the year and I always improve a lot over the season.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing


    Its a great question to ask.

    2018: 15
    2017: 13
    2016: 14

    All the above are road races and I haven't included Parkruns that I used as Tempos etc.

    I would love to race more and do a bunch of 5k's/10k's every month - I use marathon training as a reason why I don't race as often as others. That and a hatred for XC :)

    The most enjoyable spell that I had in the past few years was a 3 month spell in 2017 where I raced 6-7 races in a 3 month window - I ran well in everyone of them - I plan on doing something similar when I get over Rotterdam Marathon.

    I place a lot of focus on KEY races - one that you spend a number of weeks building up to - these are the 'Main Thing' and other races dont really matter, even though you want to do well in them.

    So - out of all the above races - maybe only 4 or 5 are Key races every year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,415 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D


    4 or 5 seems like a lot. For me, I’d have at most 2 goal races per year. Maybe even one. I don’t think the love/effort/concentration can be extended much beyond that - not for me anyway. Race often, yes, race for significant achievement - rare.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler


    Out of interest does anybody just disregard "key" races completely and just race regularly with no particular specific short term goals in mind?


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,415 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D


    Out of interest does anybody just disregard "key" races completely and just race regularly with no particular specific short term goals in mind?

    I’ve been trying to do that lately. Racing for fun/learning. But is it really racing?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler


    Murph_D wrote:
    I’ve been trying to do that lately. Racing for fun/learning. But is it really racing?

    Felt like it last Sunday! . The reason I ask is I wouldn't say I've a particular goal race in mind. Just improvement towards longer term goals


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835


    Felt like it last Sunday! . The reason I ask is I wouldn't say I've a particular goal race in mind. Just improvement towards longer term goals

    I'd find it hard to focus on longer goals without a target race or two in between.....


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,236 ✭✭✭AuldManKing


    Murph_D wrote: »
    4 or 5 seems like a lot. For me, I’d have at most 2 goal races per year. Maybe even one. I don’t think the love/effort/concentration can be extended much beyond that - not for me anyway. Race often, yes, race for significant achievement - rare.

    Yeah - maybe - but I'd always have a goal 5k / 5m / 10k and possibly a Mara throughout the year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,980 ✭✭✭Duanington


    Out of interest does anybody just disregard "key" races completely and just race regularly with no particular specific short term goals in mind?

    yep - I do this quite a bit, I see it as all part of the process. I spent most of last year just racing to race really


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835


    Duanington wrote: »
    yep - I do this quite a bit, I see it as all part of the process. I spent most of last year just racing to race really

    So what about the times in shorter races, eg 58 min 10Mile, sub 1:18 HM, that you reckon need to be ran in order be in a decent position to go under 2:50? Where would these targets fit in?


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    healy1835 wrote: »
    So what about the times in shorter races, eg 58 min 10Mile, sub 1:18 HM, that you reckon need to be ran in order be in a decent position to go under 2:50? Where would these targets fit in?

    Do you really need to run certain times to be equivalent? Lets play a game, which one of these is fastest

    Runner A - 13.56 PB for 5k, HM 62:39, Marathon Time??
    Runner B - 13.47 PB for 5k, HM 62:47, Marathon Time??
    Runner C - 12.59 PB for 5k, HM 58.23, Marathon Time??
    Runner D - 12.58 PB for 5k, HM 59:47, Marathon Time??

    Here are the marathon times and see whether people can match them up?

    A) 2.06.07
    B) 2.06.57
    C) 2.08.46
    D) 2:12:39


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,181 ✭✭✭healy1835


    KSU wrote: »
    Do you really need to run certain times to be equivalent? Lets play a game, which one of these is fastest

    Runner A - 13.56 PB for 5k, HM 62:39, Marathon Time??
    Runner B - 13.47 PB for 5k, HM 62:47, Marathon Time??
    Runner C - 12.59 PB for 5k, HM 58.23, Marathon Time??
    Runner D - 12.58 PB for 5k, HM 59:47, Marathon Time??

    Here are the marathon times and see whether people can match them up?

    A) 2.06.07
    B) 2.06.57
    C) 2.08.46
    D) 2:12:39

    Ha! Pot luck I'd say.......DD in his log identified a couple of times (Inc those mentioned above) that he felt he'd like to hit to give himself a good shot at it. Was curious to see where they'd fit in for him target wise etc. If only HM and 10Mile times were surefire indictators of marathon times :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,980 ✭✭✭Duanington


    healy1835 wrote: »
    So what about the times in shorter races, eg 58 min 10Mile, sub 1:18 HM, that you reckon need to be ran in order be in a decent position to go under 2:50? Where would these targets fit in?

    They didn't really fit in at all last year to be honest J - barring an attempt at the half in August...maybe that was a mistake of course but I enjoyed the approach.

    There'll certainly be a little bit more targetting this year ( maybe July and September?) for sure but racing frequently until then and even leading up to those will be part of the plan...plenty of "non-target" races


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 354 ✭✭El CabaIIo


    KSU wrote: »
    Do you really need to run certain times to be equivalent? Lets play a game, which one of these is fastest

    Runner A - 13.56 PB for 5k, HM 62:39, Marathon Time??
    Runner B - 13.47 PB for 5k, HM 62:47, Marathon Time??
    Runner C - 12.59 PB for 5k, HM 58.23, Marathon Time??
    Runner D - 12.58 PB for 5k, HM 59:47, Marathon Time??

    Here are the marathon times and see whether people can match them up?

    A) 2.06.07
    B) 2.06.57
    C) 2.08.46
    D) 2:12:39

    Runner A= 2:12:39 (Brogan Austin)
    Runner B= 2:06:57(Inibushi)
    Runner C= 2:08:46( Zernesey Tadesse)
    Runner D= 2:06:07(Galen Rupp)

    To be fair, I cheated as I already knew who they were from the PR's bar Inubushi but the time had to be significant to make it in there and it could only be an old Japanese National Record with a 5k that slow and a marathon that fast comparatively.

    Not taking away from the point, there is different kind of runners and different kinds of culture of training. Inhubushi was probably logging 200+ miles a week and moved to the marathon early. Rupp was slowly built up from a 1500/3000 guy. Tadesse was a former cyclist who done unbelievably fast mileage in training and Brogan Austin improved immensely when he moved to the roads and under Tinman.

    Marathon is a funny distance to predict. It's not going to be everyone's best distance, for the vast majority, it probably never will be.


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