Do you guys plan out your years of racing?

Usually, I don’t. I’ll pick a race or two (most likely a marathon) and then while training, I’ll keep my eyes open for other, smaller races that I might enjoy. In theory there is nothing wrong with this approach; however, I haven’t always been financially smart or realistic about the races I select. This year, I decided to try creating a rough racing and training calendar to get an idea of how my year of running could turn out.


[Not my racing calendar but I do love my new running-themed desk calendar]

To be honest, I was waay too nervous to set anything in stone. After 5 years of running consistently with basically no injuries, last year was quite the disappointment. For anyone new to the blog, after training for Boston for almost 3 months, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my heel. I took 3 weeks off of running and was prepared to come back and run Boston when I strained my hamstring. It was really frustrating. So to alleviate any stress that may come from potential injury, I’ve also created a fallback plan. Type A FTW.

I schedule all of my races and workouts in Google Calendar (and have reminders emailed to me everyday) so I started by putting the two big races I’ve already registered for on my calendar and then filling in the requisite training. Next, I picked a big race for the fall and then a back-up race for mid-Summer in case of injury (I do have this foot thing going on…). Then, I added in some specific races that I knew I wanted to run like the Chicago Half Marathon that everyone raves about and I thought about my goals for the next year: Do I want to do another triathlon? How about a relay race? Ultra? Trail run? I did a little web searching and tried to find races that fit well with my already scheduled training and when I found ones that I liked but didn’t fit, I put them on my calendar anyway as “TBD”. Sometimes it’s worth skipping or adapting training to run a specific race or to race with friends.


[An example of this month's Google Calendar- I have two runs scheduled each day for the last two weeks because I'm trying to decide between two training plans]

So how does 2013 look for me?

January 12- Disney Half Marathon
January 13- Disney Marathon
April 15- Boston Marathon
May 4- Wisconsin Half Marathon (if friends go and do either the half or the full, otherwise I probably won’t do it)
June 7-8- Chicago Ragnar Relay
June 23- Tri Goddess Sprint Tri (possible)
July 14- Clark Lake Triathlon (if don’t do one above)
July 21- Racine 70.3 (IF foot doesn’t get better soon and I decide not to do a full marathon in the fall- I’m hoping to wait another year before attempting one)
August 10- Muddy Monk Nearly Sane Trail Half Marathon
August 25- Chicago Triathlon, Olympic distance
September 8- Chicago Half Marathon
October 13- Chicago Marathon (I will make the call on whether to register in Feb)
October 27- Thriller in Schiller 5k
November 28- Turkey Trot somewhere (not sure where we are going to do Thanksgiving next year)

The only races I’m currently signed up for are the first three and I plan on registering for the others as the year progresses and as I assess burnout and injuries– I don’t want to have any DNSs in 2013. There are some gaps that will be filled later with smaller races or races with friends and I need some tune-up races in late March. I’m also hoping to find a different Sprint Triathlon in Chicago in early-to-mid June (and scratch the two in Michigan) and a 50k after the Chicago Marathon. Any ideas for me?

I’m pretty excited about the potential of racing in 2013. I’m hoping to make it a year of running and have some wonderful, shiny new PRs by next December!

How do you pick the races you do? Chicago readers, did I miss any must-do local races?