Oh hey! Remember this thing? I suppose it’s a GOOD thing I haven’t needed to update this in a while, right? In case you were worried this idea was dead (and I KNOW you all were worrying about my marathon spending log), don’t fret, training doesn’t start until June and spending log entries will probably pick up around that time.
But I have an update now! I registered for a marathon training tune-up race, the New Bo Half Marathon on September 3rd.
minimal marathoner Marathon Spending Log: purchases as of 3/7/2017
Race Fee: $195.00.
The cost to officially register for my goal race, the Chicago Marathon.
Clothing to use for training
Tune-up races: $25.00
Races run for practice/fun during the marathon build-up
Tune-up races are races of a shorter distance than your goal race, that you use to test your fitness and race strategy in the latter part of your training build-up. Most marathoners use half marathons as tune-up races, while half-marathoners typically use 10Ks or 10-milers, etc. Those training for specific time goals will often run their tune-up race at their goal race pace as a way to practice their pacing in the race environment, while those who haven’t been training with a specific goal in mind may use the tune-up race to get a gauge on where their fitness is at and what a realistic race pace/finish time may be. Tune-up races can be valuable for the less goal-oriented among us, too: many people simply use them as a substitute long run or workout. Having a race or two during your training cycle is a great way to break up the monotony of training or simply take advantage of course support and company on a day when you’d be running the miles anyway.
Are tune-up races essential to marathon training? Technically, no. But in my humble opinion, they are as close as you can get. I can’t imagine going the whole 16-20 weeks of marathon build-up without running a single race, and I am a big advocate of tune-up races for marathoners in particular.
How many tune-up races should you do? That depends on each individual runner’s preference. In training for three marathons, I’ve found that my sweet spot is 2 tune-up races, preferably each at a different distance. This summer, I will be running two tune-up races during my Chicago Marathon training: a 10-miler in late July and the New Bo half marathon in early September, 5 weeks out from race day.
If I’m going to do things that are technically non-essential while trying to train minimally, it’s very important for me to pick races that are budget-friendly, enjoyable, and support the local running community.
The New Bo Run Half Marathon, at $25.00, checks both of those first two boxes and sort of checks the third. It’s not supporting my local community, but it is a locally-run race in my hometown, which is a community that I care about. As an added bonus, I really appreciate that this race gives runners a “no t-shirt” option, which helps reduce clothing waste and unwanted tshirt clutter. They even reduce the registration fee if you opt out of the shirt (which I did. I still have last year’s shirt, which I love!). I really wish more races would do this. Anyway, this will be my 3rd New Bo Run, but my first New Bo Half Marathon. I’ve run the 10K at this race the past two years while visiting my family over Labor Day weekend.
I debated between this race and a local half marathon the weekend before which is the same price and organized by our local running group. I ultimately chose New Bo because of the opportunity to visit my family and run in my hometown. At just over one month out from marathon race day, this half marathon is ideally timed for a pre-marathon tune-up. The bulk of my training will be “in the bank” by that point, so the half marathon will be a great indicator of where my fitness is at and what, if any, final adjustments I should make to my finish time expectations and pacing strategy. If I’m not set on any time goal at that point, I can use the race to practice fueling and strategy and get the some of the race jitters out of my system.
I’m conflicted about whether to count travel costs (driving to and from Iowa) for this race in my spending log. While my visit to Iowa does have another purpose besides the run (visiting and hanging out with family, which I’ve done the past two Labor Days), the run is the reason I’m visiting on this particular weekend. Well, that and it’s a conveniently longer weekend. Anyway, I’ll wrestle with it some more. If you have a strong opinion either way, I’m open to suggestions.
Registration is not yet open for the Cudahy Classic, which is the 10-miler I want to do, but it is also very inexpensive at $25.00, and it is a local race that is put on by our local running club every year. I’ve also run the Cudahy Classic the past two years, and while it is hot and humid every time (haha listen to me complaining about the heat at a race in LATE JULY), it is a well-run race with a great post-race party and I like to support it. Since I’ll be training for a marathon this time, the timing is great. It’s a little early in my build-up, but I think this race will be a good opportunity to test my fitness or just get in a great tempo workout. At the very least, I’m hoping I’ll PR, simply because the only other 10-mile race I’ve done was the 2015 Cudahy Classic, and my time sucked because of the heat. Redemption will be mine!!