Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guest Post: Tune-Up Races

I'm Marlene from Mission to a(nother) Marathon and I'm honored that J has asked me to provide a guest post to share during her honeymoon. J and I have been blog buddies for years and I have loved following along on her running adventures from the competitive college sprints to long distance. We share a love for dark morning runs and candy, and now we will share an anniversary too! (I got married on September 10, 2005)

The topic I've chose for this post is tune-up races, which I believe to have played a big role in my own running success.

Anyone who has read my blog probably knows that I like to race. A lot. In 2010 I completed 20 races, and I'm at 14 so far this year.

Of course, each event is not going to be an "A" race. I choose my goal races (where I hope to PR) carefully and plan my schedule around them.

After that, I fill up the rest of my calendar with races that have other purposes. I strategically plan tune up races throughout my training plan, which allow me to practice things like pacing, hydration/fueling and even wardrobe in a race situation. I also find that the more I immerse myself in the whole race routine (from nerves to logistics), the more comfortable I become with the process.

If you want to get better at racing, you need to race more!

5K and 10K races are a great way to get in some speed work - don't you find that those faster paces come much more easily when you're on the clock? I also use half marathons or 30Ks frequently as supported long runs and find that it's a great way to shake up the routine and keep things interesting during marathon training. I've even been known to run a 10K (or longer) warm-up before a half marathon, and then use the race to practicemarathon pacing.

Aside from these races with "purpose", I love to include some races exclusively for fun. Traveling to a new destination (like Disney!) or dressing up in costume and running with friends is a great way to find joy in the sport.

Are you a race addict like me?
What's your take on tune-up racing?

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or would like to share your own experience, please leave a comment or feel free to visit me at

Thank you J for hosting me and all the best on your wedding and honeymoon!

1 comment:

Molly said...

Hey Marlene! I've been reading your blog for a while, but have been a comment slacker lately : )

Your tune up method makes so much sense! I am a longer distance, slower runner, but I just may have to put your theory to the test!