This was one of the first questions that my coach asked me in my first meeting with him when we were considering setting up a coaching "relationship" back in the day. At that time I couldn't imagine anyone who raced to train after all, isn't racing and racing fast the goal?
Well, not for everyone and not necessarily now for me. That doesn't mean that I won't be racing though. I stated the other day in a post that I'm targeting 2014IMAZ. I will be racing that day but what about between now and then? In this world where you need to sign up for a race a year in advance, some prior planning is required. Two years prior may be a bit excessive but let's work backwards.
Consider it a given that I'm racing IMAZ in November 2014. I'll need a late season relatively flat (to simulate IMAZ conditions) HIM to test pacing and nutrition. Either Shoreman70.3 in Port Republic, NJ (I used it for IMFL) or Mighty Montauk at the end of Long Island would suffice. The beginning of 2014 is open as I just want to fit something in.
2013 will be getting lean, getting healthy, getting strong and getting fast. The get fast I'm going to race most likely shorter. Right now I'm targeting StA olympic with TNT, shooting for NYC OLY to represent team Aquaphor and some late season race. I might try to dovetail the same race for 2013 as I'm thinking for 2014 to measure improvement.
2012 is a wash out for me medically so far but there is hope that I'm on the road to recovery. Signs are looking up. I have a tri on my calendar in a few weeks but I'll probably do it just for "fun." This means probably walking the 5k and coming in close to last. I've also signed up for a 10 miler and a half Mary leading up to this pesky marathon in NYC in November. Will that happen? I don't know. I've been walking long (last weekend was 7miles) just in case.
Here is where it gets interesting. I believe in testing frequently. Testing can be done as part of a workout (the dreaded 2x20 on the bike, or 3x300 in the pool, or 5k on the run) or as part of an official event. Those events can be viewed as supported testing sessions. There will be more than a few. I won't be training for them. They will be training themselves.
So almost everything for me is racing to train. It is a different mindset that I'm still wrestling with. Do you train to race or race to train?
I do both. If I train for a half marathon I will race to tain in the training plan probably twice in 12-16 weeks. 10k usually.
I do a lot of races and I dont train for all of them, I mean I dont chase the PR every time. I like to participate in races and sometimes I do them instead of a regular run but a little faster and not alone!
I guess I do a little of both, but I have to admit that in my old age, staying healthy is my priority. Signing up for a race keeps me focused on training. Personally, I enjoy the training and its the journey that I am after.
I think when I first started a few years ago (running, before triathlon) it was all about training to race, and I raced a lot. I carried that over to triathlon last year and raced a lot of tris. This year, because of a combination of factors, I've felt way less motivated and I haven't really been feeling the races I'm registered for, so it's all race to train (the only things I'm excited about? Long bike rides, like North Fork Century and NYC Century - even though I'm not doing the century ride for either of those). I think my head is stuck in future races - a half next year, maybe iron in 2014 - and if you look at it that way, I'm training to race a year from now!
I think the "both" answer applies. If I didn't plan to race, I fear I wouldn't do the training. But given my less than stellar training the last few months, sometimes my races have been to train. I think it is ok to have a balance of both.
I race so dang much that too many of them turn into long training rides. Next year I'm going to try and limit those to century rides and a couple of half's.
I race to train, next year might be different
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