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February 20th, 2023

Planning your Race Calendar

by Ryan Matisko, PT, DPT

Hello fans of the Finish Line PT blog! Your thirst for knowledge of all things Physical Therapy and running is appreciated and I am excited to build off my most recent blog (How to Approach the Off Season) to quench your thirst for content. 

Last month we talked about the importance of rest and reflection as you prepared to make plans for a bigger and better 2023. Now that the new year is in full swing and your “A” race is set, the thought of how to organize and incorporate some smaller distance races before and during your current training cycle may have crossed your mind. So with that, this blog will cover when and how to incorporate those smaller races into your 16 week marathon training schedule.

The neighborhood 5K – As the shortest distance of the three races we will cover, it will have the most flexibility in regards to when to run it and how. 

  • Pre-Cycle: Racing a 5K is a great way to determine your current level of fitness while also providing a good data point to determine future hard efforts with speed work in your plan.
  • Early Stage (week 1-4): Consider utilizing it as a stand alone tempo or recovery run.
  • Mid Stage (weeks 4-8): Add it towards the end of your long run and run at your tempo pace. Example: 15 mile long run – 10 miles at easy pace, 5k at tempo, 2 mile cool-down
  • Late Stage (week 10-14): Again consider adding the race towards the end of your long run but focus on maintaining your goal marathon pace to practice running on tired legs and having that extra kick at the end of the race.

The 10K in Central Park – Now that you are in the thick of your training cycle and the long runs only keep getting longer, adding in a 10k is a great way to add a little excitement to your training.

  • Week 6-8 – Try incorporating your 10k as part of a longer workout. Example: Run 10k + 60 minute fartlek. Be sure to allow for extra recovery if you go this route.
  • Week 8-10 – As mentioned in the 5k section, consider adding your 10k to your long run.

Your favorite borough’s half marathon – Try to aim to run this around weeks 10-12 in your training cycle with either approach… 

  • The Fitness Check In – give it your all and see how far you have come in your marathon prep and maybe take home a new PR! 
  • The Race Day Dress Rehearsal – use your half marathon to practice what marathon day is like. Get to bed early the night before, have the pre-race breakfast, break out what you want to wear for the big day, practice your in race fueling strategy, and see how you feel running at your A goal marathon pace. Treating this half like your full marathon will not only allow you to make adjustments if needed but also provide you with the confidence in all the small details leading up and during the race that tend to not be the focus of your training.

I hope this blog provides some clarity and sparks some creative ideas to incorporate some of your favorite smaller races into your training plan. And as a reminder, it is also encouraged to JUST HAVE FUN with your 5k, 10k, or half and to simply run the race for the love of running alongside your friends and family and it does not have to be a strict and regimented event.

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