QT: Planning Workouts During Races is a Key to Doing All the Races (Best Of-ish)

This post was originally part of Episode 451 released in August of 2017 and is more or less copy and pasted from that post. The audio, however, is a new take on the topic.

In last week’s quick tip, I talked about the possibility of running too many races.

Some runners are all in on one side of this debate or the other, but there is another option that is available.

What if you do some of your workouts during races?


Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

The Problem With Racing All the Races

Like I talked about last week, trying to race all the races can really increase your risk of injury.

It can also lead to plateauing as a runner because you’re not able to train as hard because you’re always tapering then racing then recovering.

If you’re driven to reach new heights in your running, this isn’t good either.

The solution?

Planning workouts during races.

A Practical Example

Allow me to flesh this out a bit, in hopes of making this a little more clear.

If your goal race is still a few months out, but you’ve got several other races of varying distances on your schedule between now and said race, you may not want to run each of those races hard.

Like I said above, doing so could lead to an injury or a lack of progress in advance of your A race.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still run those races. Just don’t race them all.

Instead, treat them as parts of your regular training.

How so?

Let’s say you are supposed to do 13 miles this weekend, but you also want to run a local 5k.

Well then, why not do a 10-mile warm up before your 5k and use the race to cover the last 3+ miles of your workout?

But Diz, that means I won’t have a chance at a new PR during the 5k!

Yeah. That’s probably going to be the case.

But if your goal is a new 5k PR or to be ready to give it hell at your goal race in a few months?

This is the key to doing workouts during races: you have to be ok with not running your best race during the races that you aren’t prioritizing.

Want more examples? Listen to the audio version of this post by hitting the play button above.

Have a Plan and Stick With It!

This strategy of planning workouts during races can be very effective, provided you don’t decide to go rogue midway through a race.

Seriously. No Going Rogue...

Seriously. No Going Rogue…

On more than a few occasions, I’ve set my clients up to do a workout as part of their race only to find out they decided to try and race it for any number of reasons.

  • The weather was perfect
  • My legs felt AH-mazing!
  • I couldn’t let that old guy beat me

If you are going to go into a race with the plan to treat it as a workout, you have to stick to the plan!

Benefits of Planning Workouts During Races

While it takes discipline to stick to the plan, there are some serious perks to doing some of your workouts during races.

Breaks Up the Monotony:

Training for one goal race can get pretty monotonous.

Long run, speed work, easy run, repeat…

Having a race to participate in, even though you aren’t racing it, gives you a chance to add a little spice to your schedule.

Get a Little Support:

If you typically train solo, as I do for my long runs, those runs can be tough.

Not because of the distance, but because you’re running basically the same routes, alone, week after week.

You’re carrying your own water, hitting the park after an hour and a half to refill your bottle, and hoping to make it home before you run out again.

But if you’re doing your long run in a race, there are likely to be aid stations, other runners, and some crowd support to help you keep going if you feel like cutting your workout short.

Segment Your Workout:

One of my favorite long run workouts, and if you don’t believe me just ask my clients, is the easy/hard/easy run.

This workout is pretty straight forward: run the first segment of your workout easy, the next push the pace, and then run easy again.

Typically, I’ll break the mileage into thirds to determine the segments, but not always.

Anyway, you could easily segment your training run and use the race as a hard segment in your workout.

The Possibilities are Basically Endless

If you’re going to add workouts during races, the possibilities are nearly infinite.

Shoot, I’ve even heard of people doing an interval workout during a race before!

Sure, you might get some strange looks, but so what?

Brittany What?

You need to do what you need to do to help you prepare for your goal race.

And if that means you do some of your workouts during races, so be it.

Planning workouts during races: Good idea? Bad idea? Or just plain crazy? #runchat Share on X

Are You the Kind of Runner to Run All the Races? Or Do You Prefer to Focus on One or Two Races and Really Push Hard on Those Days?

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