My race season for 2014 is quickly coming to an end. With only two races remaining -- the Space Coast Half Marathon on Nov 30th and the Santa Hustle 5K on Dec 6th - I will end 2014 with over 1,400 miles of running, walking, and biking, and completed 17 races of various distances.
So, of course, my mind starts to think ahead. What challenges should I tackle in 2015? What races look fun and interesting? What role will cycling play?
Well this is what I am considering for 2015. I have already registered for a few of them.
- Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge (Half and Full Marathons on consecutive days)
- Disneyland Star Wars Rebel Challenge (10K and Half Marathon on consecutive days)
- Toronto Half Marathon (my first international race)
- Madison "Conquer the Capital" (10K and Half Marathon on consecutive days)
- Tour de Cure 100 Mile Ride (A.D.A. fundraising event)
- Tri State Tour 85 Mile Ride (through IN - IL - WI)
- Mohawk Hudson River Marathon
- Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon
- Space Coast Half Marathon
Those who know me well, or those who have seen my Race Schedule, may be surprised to see such a small number of events listed. I made the decision to reduce the number of overall events in which I participate each year moving forward (this year I ran five fewer races than 2013). I want to keep my body strong and uninjured; I want to avoid burnout; I want to maximize my race dollars; And finally, I want a better overall balance in my life.
10 races and 2 bike rides are all I am looking at for next year. Each race represents a challenge to overcome, a new challenge to face, or a race series I am completing. It is my intent to stick with this schedule.
One other thing you might have noticed is the long gap between January and May. This will be my first real 'off season' since I started my running journey. Several people have said I should take an off season. Why? And what is an off season, anyway?
Coach Jenny Hadfield, in a recent article on Runners World, says "The off-season is the "winter" in our training lives. It's a time to heal from the demands of training volume and intensity. It's a time to run horizontally rather than progressively. And it's a time to rejuvenate by weaving in other fun activities. If the off-season were a color, it would be green, as it's a time to sprout new goals and develop plans on how to reach these new goals. When you're running in the off-season, you have time to reflect on your achievements and discover your next authentic goal (the one that truly inspires you)."
She also says that while it can be a time of rest, it does not mean that you take a break from all activity. You can still run, bike, swim, walk, or whatever else you want to do. But the difference is: you reduce the intensity, and you do them for fun and relaxation -- NOT for training!
This is a lesson I intend to take to heart in 2015. After running four Disney races in the span of 9 days in January, I will begin my own 'off season'. I will keep active, but not as part of some training plan. Instead, it will be for fun, for relaxation, for fitness, and not following a particular schedule. I probably won't start any kind of training plan until March (in order to prepare for my May races).
Let the fun begin!