“SAINTS DAYS” 5k and 10k “Tune-ups’ for Your Spring Half Marathon. Pete Magill wrote a piece, “Tune-up Races Are Essential to Producing Peak Performances” for RunnersWorld.com in 2011 that provides a SECOND REASON why you might like the HALF MARATHON WITH ‘SAINTS DAYS” training plan that starts Sunday, January 15.
The FIRST REASON is that Valentine’s Day (originally and officially “Saint Valentine’s Day”) and Saint Patrick’s Day are winter/spring holidays that inject a bit of color, fun, and group joy into a season that has mostly been cold, wet, and dreary.
Spring will not arrive for several weeks or more in most locales, and beyond celebrating past American presidents, there hasn’t been much impetus to generate a party atmosphere during the dark winter months. There are numerous races and fun runs surrounding these holidays that urge people to come out of frigid weather hibernation to test their legs and anticipate the spring and summer running seasons. So, the social purpose of running these themed races is to have FUN!
Magill discusses the more serious SECOND training reason for inserting shorter distance races into half marathon training plans, as well as those for 5K/10K’s and marathons. He refers to them as “tune-up” races and says, “While we can simulate many of the physical demands of racing by running hard intervals or a time trial, that simulation is far removed from the experience of toeing the line.”
Tune-up races help runners learn to deal with nerves, situations, and obstacles to top performance that they may be faced with on race day he explains, and refers to problems with weather, port-a-potties, and parking, among other issues. With the confidence gained from participating in these ‘practice’ events, runners may be better able to put their best mental and physical games together to achieve a personal win in their goal race.
In discussing tune-ups for a half marathon, Magill obtained advice from expert Paul Aufdemberge, who said that a couple races could be run roughly 1-2 months from that event, and that distances longer than 10k should be avoided. The "SAINTS DAYS" 5K and 10K schedule follows this advice. Specific recommendations for tune-ups races before 5K/10K and marathons are also provided by Magill, who sought input from and quoted other competitor-coaches. Each expert cautioned against running too hard in and expecting too much from these events.
Regardless of whether you’re training to run a half marathon later, consider wearing your heart on your sleeve (or bib) for Valentine’s Day and going “green” on St. Patrick’s Day by planning personal or organized races in celebration of those holidays. FOR REASON #1. There’s less than one month until February 14 and after that a wee bit more than a month until March 17. These FUN runs can break up the long stretch of winter running from now until spring.
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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