Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the psychology of a race schedule

 Plotting and planning the race schedule to end all race schedules.

Last weekend, Nathan and I sat down (again) and plotted out our race schedule through the winter (again). I know it seems like we do this every weekend, but I think this one is going to stick. Originally, we planned our races before Nathan was employed - his new job, obtained at lightening speed, changed things. I also underestimated how much time it takes to train for a triathlon, and with both of us starting new jobs this month (woot!) we're understandably letting training take a backseat for a few weeks.

Alas, I am a glutton for schedules, calendars and training plans. I need goals in order to stay motivated, and I don't like changing plans once they've made. In order to make a realistic, workable calendar of events, Nathan and I spent three hours on Sunday hashing things out. First, we determined what our long term fitness goals are (a century bike ride, a triathlon, our second marathon, and a return to adventure racing). Next, we researched races in our area and tried to find ones that were less than three hours away (the less traveling we do for events, the better - staying local saves money, time and the environment!). Then, we attempted to balance events so training wouldn't overlap too much and, where it did, would work to enhance our fitness levels without leaving us overwhelmed and exhausted. And finally, we took our own personal interests into account (I was dead set on keeping the four months of marathon training as free as possible; Nathan revealed his deep seeded desire to do the Hotter'N'Hell 100 after all). We ended up with the following, and I'm 99% sure that it's going to stick.

Chrissy and Nathan's Summer 2010 - Winter 2011 Race Schedule

Hotter'N'Hell 100 - August 28, 2010
100 miles in the August heat of Wichita Falls, Texas. Nathan did it last year and he really wants me to share the experience. Plus, there's supposed to be an awesome expo with tons of gear for really low prices. We are going to ride AND shop until our legs fall off. Since this is our next event, I'm going to have to start racking up the miles on my bike.

I know, I know. We keep pushing the triathlon back further and further. We considered going back to our original plan (tri in July) but as you can see from the pros and cons list above, it made more sense to put it off. More time to train will make us more confident, and while we don't expect to win I would like to do more than just finish. A September tri will also give us time to figure out what gear to use, especially for the open water swim.

Marathon Training Starts! 
I want four months to train for Houston, so I'll start in the beginning of October. I still plan on cross training and the next two events are early in October, so I don't think they'll really effect my race. It's the last two months I need to worry about (IE, when the 20 mile training runs kick in!).

Pineywoods Purgatory - October 2, 2010
This will be my third year riding the Purgatory and I love supporting an awesome local cycling event. We haven't decided what course we'll do this year (50? 72? 102?!). It'll depend on how we feel and where we are in our training. The PWP is a very hilly course as opposed to the flat HNH100, but the weather in October will be much more forgiving. We'll see what happens!

Tyler Half Marathon - October 10, 2010
The 2009 event was my very first half marathon, and I'd love to see if I can get a better time on the same (very hilly!) course. (Time to beat: 2:09:43.)

Huntsville Hammer Adventure Race - November 13, 2010
Nathan's second love (I'm his first, naturally) is adventure racing, which is a combination of running, biking, rowing and orienteering. He wants us to work our way up to a 12 hour race, but we'll probably sign up for six hour course so I don't die the first time around.

Jingle Bell 5K - December 4, 2010
We hardly have any truly local races, so I must run the ones in town! Last year I placed 3rd in my age group for this run and it was FREEZING. It would be fun to get first or second! 

Houston Marathon - January 30, 2011
Triathlons, Century Rides and Adventure Races are all well and good, but the thing I love most is RUNNING and the event I am most excited/serious about is the MARATHON! I really want to run Houston - the course is way flatter than Austin so I'm almost positive I can get a new PR (time to beat: 4:43:44), it's only two hours from home, and Houston is hosting the Olympic trials. Just one problem: this year, they're doing a lottery system for registration. I have no idea how likely it is that Nathan and I will get in but I'm crossing my fingers, especially because this is my plan and y'all know how I feel about plans. I don't really have a backup plan at this point, but on August 17 I'll know whether not I need one.

Heartbreak Duathlon - February 19, 2011
I did this race two years ago, and Nathan's done it the last two years. 2.5 miles of running, followed by ten miles of mountain biking, ending with another 2.5 miles of running. This race will encourage me to mountain bike more, which is good, and Nathan wants to train hard and actually win it. He came in 9th in 2008 and 8th in 2009, so his chances are good! 

This is a 12 hour adventure race! I've never raced that long before, but after all the races and events I'll have under my belt by March, I think I'll be in the best possible shape to attempt it. Only one way to find out!

That's as far as our planning went, which I think is pretty impressive! If you got to the end of this really long and overly detailed post, thank you. Now - your turn! What big races or events are you training for? What's your premier event for the coming year? But don't make it sound too good. My schedule is already full and there's no way I'm changing it again! :)