September is a great racing month for so many reasons! Weather wise, it’s cooler than August. Even with shorter days, the sun still rises early enough so you don’t have to arrive at bag check in the dark! The seasons are changing, the leaves are falling, and the sun is still shining. When I first looked at all the races I wanted to run in September, I was so overwhelmed. I didn’t believe I could do three races in a row without completing losing my mind and failing to give myself ample recovery time from each race.
I started off the summer by just registering for two races two weeks apart-one one miler and one half marathon. The races were different enough that I didn’t feel like my training for either would be counterproductive to the other. I continued with my weekly speed runs and long runs on the weekend. Depending on how I felt each week, I’d throw in another tempo run or do an easier run.
However, after the first two races finally came and went, I suffered from a severe case of Runner’s High and went for the third-a ten miler. Since I had just run a half, I wasn’t concerned about the mileage and I knew my endurance was there. I spent the week after my half practicing yoga, icing my shin splits, and foam rolling. I cross-trained for most of the week and only went on one run to limit impact. I knew I could bust out another race if I was careful with my body.
Approaching mile 10 at the New Balance Bronx 10 Mile, I was overjoyed. Crossing that finish line was like crossing the finish line for every single race all in one. It was tough, but it was amazing and I’m glad I ran the third race. Can you say three-peat?
After the race, I went straight to lunch to refuel. I can never eat much at post race festivals due to my allergies and intolerances. Once I was full of energy (and food), my recovery regimen started right away. I attended a restorative yoga class, drank loads of water, and continued with the ice where needed.
My next race isn’t for another 3 weeks, and I’m happy about that. I definitely need to take this time to recover from all the excitement of racing. Below are my tips for managing a busy race calendar!
Vary Your Distances
I’m sure that if I had run 3 half marathons in a row, I wouldn’t even have the energy to write much less continue training for another race! By running a one mile sprint, a half marathon, and lastly, a 10 miler, I was able to race confidently without too much fatigue. I’ve only been running on a consistent basis for a year. Even though it feels like longer, I have to tell myself sometimes that I can’t overdo it because my body might not be as attuned to the mileage as I believe. I learned this the hard way when one of my toes swelled up during my second half marathon and didn’t go down for a month. Yes, an entire month! Training is all about knowing how to work smart and conserve your resources so you don’t burn out.
Give Each Race a Unique Purpose
Part of the reason why I really wanted to run all three races was because each one offered a new and unique experience. I ran the 5th Ave Mile because I love sprinting and wanted to see how fast I could really go. The Rock and Roll Philly Half took me on a 13.1 mile victory lap in a city I lived in for years. Before the Bronx 10 miler, I had only been to Yankee Stadium once. Running in unfamiliar territory can be just as fun as running on familiar grounds. Since every race had a reason to be on my calendar, I was driven to find a way to fit in all 3.
Skip Runs If Necessary
I’m usually a stickler for my training plan, but I’ve made adjustments given that the past few weeks have been really demanding on my body. I’ve temporarily paused on speed workouts since my shins are still bothering me. I did a lot of speed work leading into my first half, so I know that it still counts. Following a race, my legs are usually very tired, so I’ll scale back a bit if needed. While this does mean I might skip a few runs or run shorter distances altogether, I have to remember that I’ve spent months building a strong base and it’s more important to make sure I recover well than overextend myself.
In all, September was fantastic. It was hard, but sometimes hard is good. They say if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you, and I run to be inspired.