How to Choose a Spring Race Distance

My 2015 racing calendar is starting to take shape. I began this winter with a plan for the marathon distance this spring, but, after looking back on my unfinished Bucket List from 2014, I’ve changed my mind. I want a half marathon PR, and if I have a shot, it’s going to be at Glass City. “Why?” you might ask. First, because the Owens Corning Half Marathon is F.A.S.T. The Glass City Marathon is called “Your Ticket to Boston” for a reason. Second, my yoga teaching opportunities have grown exponentially, and I suddenly have the opportunity to grow as a teacher in ways that I didn’t think would be possible this soon.

Glass City is in Toledo, close to home and a race that is growing in popularity and size each year. I’m thrilled to be one of their race ambassadors for 2015 and can’t wait to get training under way in January. So, if you’re thinking of lacing up your shoes and joining me in Toledo this year, here are some recommendations for getting started. Oh, and register soon! Prices increase on January 1st, so commit early and save yourself some money before the new year!

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5K: The Glass City 5K is a great place for the beginning runner. I trained for my first 5K in the spring of 2008 and my running and racing career just kept rolling from there. If you plan to be race ready on April 26th, start training about 8-9 weeks in advance. I used the ever popular Couch to 5K training plan and it was a great way to find my confidence as a new runner.  Time Needed Weekly: 1-2 hours including cross training.

5 Person Relay: Glass City offers a five person relay event, perfect if you’d like to find four running friends to divvy up the marathon distance. Glass City offers a variety of team options as well, a unique offering. Register as members of the same family, the same school, a business, a team of men, a team of women or a mixed team. The legs for the race are as follows:

Leg 1 – 5.1 Miles
Leg 2 – 6.1 Miles
Leg 3 – 4.4 Miles
Leg 4 – 5.3 Miles
Leg 5 – 5.3 Miles

The relay is the closest to the 10K distance, with most legs less than the traditional 6.2 miles. Similar to the 5K plans available, most 10K plans call for training to start 8 weeks in advance. Mileage is higher, so the time investment is greater as well. Time Needed Weekly: 2-4 hours including cross training.

Half Marathon: The half marathon is the distance I’ve raced the most – nine times in all since 2009. The recovery is faster and the time commitment is less than the full marathon. The Owens Corning Half Marathon at Glass City has sold out every year and, to date, registration is already at 22% full. If you’re training for the half for the first time, I highly recommend John Bingham’s plan in his best-selling book, Marathoning for Mortals. The book is full of humor, self-deprecation and celebratory monologues from Bingham himself. He inspired me to finish my first half, as he has done for the thousands of others that quote him. Time Needed Weekly: 5-6 hours including cross training

Marathon: The marathon is the real deal. The training, the commitment and the hours invested are worth the glory of the 26.2 miles. I’ve completed two fulls and plan to get back to the distance again soon. If you’re in it for the full monty – entrance to Boston – the Glass City Marathon is consistently ranked as one of the top 30 races to guarantee your qualifying time. Glass City’s website describes the marathon as “little elevation changes, smooth paved roads, and is expected to provide very fast race times and a memorable experience.” That’s a winner!

If you’re making the commitment to the full marathon training, I can only share that I’ve trained with the Run Less, Run Faster plan and loved it. It’s a little unique, but it gave me the fastest racing times I’d ever experienced during my 2013 season. Time Needed Weekly: 8-10 hours including cross training.

Stay tuned for a race entry giveaway on the blog soon! Hope to see you in Toledo in April!

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