What's your favourite distance to train and race for? Do you make a plan before you sign up for a race? Let's talk about what distance should I train for?

Stephanieruns Fitness

July 15, 2018 Newsletter

What distance should I train for?

What distance is your favourite to train and race for? Usually when people come to me for help with their training they already have a race distance and sometimes a goal in mind. Today I'd like to talk about training for different race distances. I don't normally get athletes coming to me asking what distance they should train for. Today I'm going to go over what I'd discuss with you if you came to me with the question 'what distance should I train for?'

The first thing you want to look at is your current fitness level. Do an honest assessment of your running and fitness level. How long have you been running? How often are you running? What's your current running base? If you're new to running picking to run a marathon isn't the best idea. To really capture this information I would go over two to three months of your training logs.

Next I would look at the time you can commit to your training. Each distance you train for has a different training load. You need to take an honest look at how much time you can set aside for training. With work, family and social demands training needs to fit into your life. We run to add value to our lives but running alone isn't our life. In order to ensure we have a good balance we need to know how much time we have to work with each week. If time is an issue you would want to look at a shorter distance to train for so you can fully commit to training.

You also want to look at your past racing history. What races have you run? What was your time? How did it feel. Looking at past racing history is extremely valuable. Let’s say you’ve run a half marathon before but you hit a wall or felt poorly. Peeling back and analyzing why can help you to avoid the same outcome. On the other hand maybe your half marathon went fantastic and you felt great. That could be a good indication that you could increase your training plan and work on improving your half marathon time.

Now let’s discuss your goal. I’m a big believer in setting goals at the beginning of your training cycle. I like to use SMART goals which means specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time based. Set a goal for what you want to accomplish on race day. You can factor in the time you have to train and your past performance to help set a realistic goal. Remember goals aren't set in stone. In fact you should keep coming back to your goal and checking in to see if it is realistic.

When you're looking at what race to sign up for logically, because let's be honest as runners sometimes we impulse sign up for races, you want to make sure you consider the time you have, your current fitness level and look at your past performance. If you have a big goal you want to hit, like a sub two hour half marathon I would really consider putting in the work to make sure you're setting yourself up for success.

Today I was reading on twitter that someone worked on gaining speed on their 5k race time as a prelude to starting a marathon training cycle. My eyes lit up when I read that. It's incredibly smart and show you that if you plan well in advance you can not only reenergize yourself you can also strongly propel your training forward. At the end of the day we all want to set ourselves up for success!

Is there anything else you consider before deciding what race distance to run?

Weekly Challenge: Goal Setting

This week I’m challenging you to set goals. At the beginning of every training cycle I work with my athletes to set goals. I don’t like waiting until the taper to set goals. In order to build a plan that works you need to know what you're working towards. Goals are just that goals. They aren’t set in stone and you should be constantly revisiting them to see if they are still realistic and attainable. 

If you’re currently training for a race no matter where you are in your training cycle sit down and write out your SMART goal for your upcoming race. 

SMART stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time based.

Let me know how this goes. If you have any questions or need help please send me a message. I’m happy to help!

What’s your favourite race distance?

This week on social media I asked a lot of questions. I wanted to get a better understanding of your thinking on how you decide what distance to race and train for. Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions I really appreciate it!

I was able to get some great feedback from you. In general there was more love for the 5k and half marathon distance and less love for the 10k distance. You tend to enjoy to run further distances. I also asked about training plans and how often you run. Some of you write your own training plans. Some piece together training plans and of course some of you work with a coach. In terms of how many days a week you run it varied from three to six days. 

I was happy to hear most of you have balanced training programs. I always say runners need to do more than just run! 

Next week's newsletter will be all about increasing your speed! If you have any questions send me a message!

If you found this helpful please share this newsletter and encourage your friends to subscribe

Let's keep the conversation going all week on social media! 


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Oakville Ontario,  L6M 2V5 - Canada

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Disclaimer: Always seek medical advice before starting an exercise program. This newsletter is not medical advice. Medical advice should be sought from a medical professional. Stephanieruns Fitness assumes no liability for any injuries or damages as a result of the above content.