The answer is YES, maybe.

I like to incorporate these “training races” into my preparation for my target races because it’s more fun to have support, other people to run with and cheer me on, and possibly a medal and food at the end, than to just do a long run on my own.  
But it’s important to be disciplined.  For long runs, as we discussed in Smart Marathon Training, it’s important to go at a pace that’s slower than your target race pace by a minute or more.  This will help ensure that you don’t put too much stress on your body.  
In a race setting, though, it’s tempting to get caught up in the excitement and start to race faster than you were planning to.  If you don’t think you can be disciplined enough to stick to your plan in your training race, it would be best not to do it.  But if you can do it, then plan to stick with the mileage you had planned for, and either add some more miles before the race, or perhaps later in the day (but it needs to be the same day) or to drop out when you have hit your target distance.

About horowitzrun

Jeff is a certified running, cycling, and triathlon coach, and is the author of "My First 100 Marathons" (Skyhorse Press 2008) and "Smart Marathon Training" (Velo Press 2011). An obviously addicted runner, Jeff has run at least one marathon in every state and on 6 continents, including marathons in South Africa, China, Bangkok, and Antarctica. Jeff is available for group, one-on-one, and virtual coaching. Options include: 1. Basic Training Plan. This includes a customized training schedule geared towards a goal race, with a detailed running schedule that would include all distances and target times for each workout, including speedwork, tempo, and endurance sessions. 2. Complete Fitness and Race Plan. This includes the plan listed above, plus the non-running workouts and drills that runners need for better overall fitness and performance. You would get strength & core workouts, as well as run-specific training drills and stretches. 3. Virtual Coaching. This includes all of the above, implemented on a week-by-week basis. We review each week's progress at week's end so that adjustments can be made. The program is tailored to suit you right up to race day. It involves more contact, on a weekly or even daily basis. 4. Full Coaching for athletes in the Washington DC area. All of the above, plus a weekly workout together including speedwork, drills, and strength training. 5. Individual track sessions. One-on-one track-based workouts. Contact Jeff for pricing.
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