Saturday, January 22, 2011

Races for Your Marathon Training Calendar

This weekend marks the 12 week countdown to Boston, 14 weeks to New Jersey/Long Island, 15 weeks for the North Face/Long Island endurance trail races (fill in the blank for your own target race).

There's a lot of training still to be done, though one thing that can be done is running "target" races that help to determine where you're at.

Here's a list of local races that may help. Use them for training and/or racing, or simply make them your own target race. Especially with the halfs, you can use them as a base for a 20-22 mile run. The Brooklyn Half remains a possibility before May 1, though the longer there's no confirmed date, the more it seems likely to be after prime spring-marathon season.

One key to this: Set your goals for these races beforehand, and stick to that goal. If you're planning to make it a targeted training run, don't race it. I've also tried to pick some races that are outside of the city: Don't get hung up running loops in Central or Prospect parks - there's a whole world out there!

Plenty of other shorter races in the area exist for those who want to run a 5K/4 miler; check out a calendar here and here (scroll down). BTW, a tip of the hat to the PPTC calendar guru, who compiled these on his much more extensive list.

*Prospect Park Cherry Tree, Feb. 20: This can either be a 10-mile race, or join as part of a relay team (and run two legs hard).

*Caumsett Park 25K/50K, March 6: I'm thinking the shorter race is more appropriate here. Run 5K loops in the park for 15.5 miles. Or run an additional couple of loops to make it almost 22.

*NJRR Half Marathon/Relay, March 13: Take a stroll over to Asbury Park, and run on the four-loop course.

*Celebrate Life Half Marathon, March 13: Should you fancy a ride upstate, this race on the rolling hills of Sullivan County might be more your cup of tea (especially for those of you who are running Boston, and would get some elevation into your race).

*Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon, March 26: How can you pass up an opportunity to run in the land of the Headless Horseman (or perhaps more apt, run from)? One note of caution: This is the first running, so don't be surprised if there are some glitches.

*13.1 Marathon New York (in Queens), April 2: A rare non-NYRR half marathon within the city's boundaries (look, they can be done!). Quick quiz: Click through to the course map, and try to figure out if it has more or less turns than the NYRR version later this year.

*VCTC Urban Environmental Trail Challenge (10K), April 3: Not your typical 10K, this is run on the grass and trails of Van Cortlandt. As an added bonus: the conditions can make this one of the most challenging races of the year (try it in a driving rainstorm!)

*Hudson Valley 15K, April 9: This course has hills! The race is a little late for Boston for anything more than a training run, though this marks a nice challenge for those running a later spring race.

Other suggestions welcome. Good luck training, and stay warm!

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