QT: What is the Best Time of Year to Schedule a Goal Race?

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Many runners tend to schedule a goal race for spring or fall for one obvious reason: the weather.


While good weather is never guaranteed, it only makes sense to schedule your big races at a time when the odds of favorable conditions are at least slightly in your favor.

But could chasing ideal race day conditions actually impact the quality of your training cycle?


Don’t Overlook the Lead-Up

Race day is obviously a big deal.


But to give yourself your best chance of having a good race, you obviously need to do the work.

And that’s where the timing of the spring or fall race can pose a problem.

Spring racing, especially early spring racing, means training through the winter months.

Christmas. New Years. Polar vortexes.

The lead-up to a fall race isn’t any cakewalk either, since that often means logging some serious miles in the summer heat.

Beyond these factors, don’t forget to consider events that may disrupt the schedule that are a bit more unique to you and your situation.

Family plans. Specific work situations. Logistical considerations.

No Perfect Time to Schedule a Goal Race

Near as I can tell, there is no universally perfect time to schedule a goal race.

There are pros and cons to both spring and fall races, so how do you decide when the best time is for you to put a race on your calendar?

Would you rather train in the heat or in the cold?

If you hate the heat? Then maybe a spring race and training through the winter is better for you.

But if you’d rather sweat than be chilly? Summer training for a fall race might make more sense.

Best Option?

As I may have said once or twice, life is gonna life.

To me, that’s why there’s no perfect time to schedule a goal race.

This is why I feel like the best option, no matter what time of year your race is scheduled, make sure your base is solid AF.

I’m not saying that you should strive to be race-ready at all times.

But if you’re intentional about building your base, you make it a lot easier to roll with the punches when life, or the weather, does its thing.

Not only that, but you also shorten the timeline.

If your base is solid AF and you “only” need 6-8 weeks to build up to peak race fitness instead of the better part of 3-4 months, that’s less time for the uncontrollable to cause trouble.

Which, I think, gives you your best chance at success no matter when you schedule your goal race.

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When Do You Tend to Schedule Your Goal Races?

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