Spring Racing Decisions

I am signed up for the NJ Marathon on May 5.  I was registered last year, but deferred (for free!) when I became pregnant.   This IS my target race for the spring.  It’s a flat, fast course and I have big dreams of running sub-3:10.  This is ultimately what all of my training will revolve around.  I want all the races I choose to run to add to, not take away from, this goal.

But I have a dilemma.  I am toying with the idea of running either a March marathon or half marathon as preparation for NJ in May.  Here are my options:

Option A: Run the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon (or the B & A Trail Marathon) on March 16

  • I would use this race as a test run before the NJ Marathon.  Truth be told, I haven’t “raced” a marathon since Boston 2009 – that’s almost FOUR years!! I ran the NYC Marathon in Nov 2011, but had to run the first half with four other runners (it was at a pace much slower than I’m used to running) so I didn’t get the opportunity to push myself for the full 26.2 miles.  I feel like using it as a test run could be a great idea – work out any issues I may have – fueling, water, clothes while also getting in the mindset of pushing for 26.2 miles.
  • The NJ Marathon is 7 weeks after these two races, so there is plenty of time to rest/recovery, get a few good long runs, and taper again.
  • This would require me to begin training NOW since the marathon is 15 weeks away.  Am I ready to begin putting in the long runs necessary for this?  I am not sure.  I’m still having a hard time being away from my boys – even for short runs (unless they are asleep).  And I’m not 100% sure I’m in the mindset of having long runs every single weekend.

Option B: Run a half marathon (maybe NYC Half?) mid-March

  • This race could easily fit into my marathon training plan
  • I have HUGE goals when it comes to the half (I want to take 3+ min off my previous PR of 1:34) so would love a chance to PR during marathon training
  • The rest/recovery for this race would be much less than marathon (two weeks total as opposed to four) so I could focus on more long runs
  • I wouldn’t have to start training for another few weeks (just after the holidays)

Part of me REALLY wants to run a marathon as soon as I can and I know I can definitely be ready by March.  But I’m not sure if doing one that soon would actually hinder my goals for NJ Marathon as opposed to help them.

What are your thoughts?  

Have you run marathons ~7 weeks apart?  Did you feel rested and ready to race again? 


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    19 thoughts on “Spring Racing Decisions

    1. First, let me say that I live very close to B & A and have done the half there many times. You have a place to stay if you choose that one. I will also say it is a bit of a lonely marathon, so be prepped for that if you go that route. Lots of people do the half, then the marathoners have to continue on and there aren’t many of them. If you choose RnR DC, you can also stay here, btw!

      Tough choices. I’d say if you are someone who recovers quickly and can get back into training w/o too much damage from a March marathon, then go for it. If, on the other hand, you take a while to recover, maybe go for the half. Tough choices!
      misszippy1 recently posted..What did work at CIMMy Profile

      • Aghhh! Thank you!!! =) I will let you know! I signed up for the NYC Half but it’s a lottery so we shall see. Although it’s a bit pricey, I figure that I won’t be spending money on travel or anything like that…If not, then I am really thinking about B&A or RnR.
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Spring Racing DecisionsMy Profile

    2. I think you have the skill set and experience with marathoning to know if this is in your range. I’m running (or planning to run) two marathons in 2013, but mine are spaced as Spring and then Fall. However, I don’t have enough experience to know how they would play out closer together. I always get a little nervous about the possibility of injury and not enough time to recover for a next race, but if you usually don’t have injury, then I think you are probably fine :) Either way, you know what you are doing and what feels “right”! Good luck and many running strong vibes!!! :)
      Christina recently posted..Chicken thighs are my latest favorite foodie dishMy Profile

    3. I wish that I had something helpful to say but I just sit here in awe of you. The only thing that I would say is that maybe opt for the half just so that you have a little bit more time before training starts and you won’t have to feel stressed during the holidays. Holidays are stressful enough and lately, I’m all for as little stress as possible :-) Either way, I have no doubt that you will be so ready for NJ and that you will hit your goal.
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Winter Bucket ListMy Profile

    4. I did two Ironmans 6 weeks apart, and I took the marathon of the first one “easy.” I still had a complete meltdown on the second one, but it was also super hot. I felt OK with the training, though. Sounds like you’d have an easy time with a half PR, an then you could have two new PRs for the spring. :)

    5. I think it’s completely possible to run the two within 7 weeks of each other if you don’t push yourself at RnR USA. I think that’s hard to do since the race atmosphere can get you so revved up that you really want to race. I’m somewhat in the same predicament. I am committed to the Shires of VT marathon on 5/19 and was considering RnR USA (or another March-ish marathon) as a test. I’ve opted not to do that (mostly because of cost) and instead run the Allstate 13.1 on 3/23 in Flushing Meadow Park and the LI half on 5/5. I’m contemplating a 2/17 winter marathon in Albany but that will be a game week decision (course is boring – 5 loops around UAlbany campus). I always play it conservatively so perhaps just listen to your body going into Jan/Feb training like you’re running a March marathon, and then reassess at that point. You’re in such excellent shape post-pregnancy that I don’t doubt you can run 2 within 7 weeks and set a massive PR for yourself! :)
      Kristin recently posted..Redemption in PhiladelphiaMy Profile

    6. I see your predicament. This past spring I ran two marathons 7 weeks apart and I LOVED the spacing. To me it was ideal. Then this past weekend I just did another set of back to back ones 4 weeks apart. This was tough. I’m not sure I will race marathons this close together again (if my goal is to PR each time which in my case it was).

      Do you have any half that you are running for sure before your target marathon? To me, a good half (or two) is one of the best training tools for running a good marathon. If it were me, and I hadn’t raced a full in a few years, I would have 1 or 2 good half’s under my belt before going all out in a full. There is much less chance of injury and it would give you more time to build up your mileage safely. I’m sure you could set some speedy HM goals.

      You are a smart runner and you know your body. I’m sure you will make the right decision regardless but I totally understand! :-)
      Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..St. Jude Marathon Race Report- Respect the distance.My Profile

      • Tia, Thanks so much for your advice. After reading yours and a few other comments, my mind was made up about skipping the full and doing at least one good half before the marathon. There is a HUGE difference between going full out for a half and full and while I know I will be ready for the half I dont think I will be where I want to be for the full by March. Thank you, my speedy friend =)
        nycrunningmama recently posted..Spring Racing DecisionsMy Profile

    7. I have never run two so close, but I’m getting ready too. I ran Malibu Marathon Nov. 17 and going to run Camarillo Marathon Jan. 6 (Six weeks apart) I just did a long run yesterday at 15 slower than my race goal, did negative splits and finished strong with plenty of gas in the tank. I am hopeful… fingers crossed.
      Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..10 Holiday Gift Ideas for RunnersMy Profile

    8. The full will give you more confidence, or more knowledge of where you stand, but the half could be more fun in a “look at what I just did” kind of way when you crush your PR during training… see… I was no help..
      Eric recently posted..The best things….My Profile

    9. Last fall I ran marathons 4 weeks apart, full effort on both and pr’d by 6 minutes on the second one. This fall, I ran a goal half marathon 4 weeks before the marathon, which was a HUGE confidence boost, AMAZING training run because it was essentially 13.1 miles of tempo/speedwork, and gave me more than enough time to recover. Having the little guys at home makes marathon training tough, especially shooting for 2 of them – more than anything, its tough mentally and I think for me personally, the stress of that would have negative effects. I think you can accomplish a lot by doing that goal half, giving you a major confidence boost, and then racing the NJ marathon. Whatever you decide will be the perfect decision, and you can’t go wrong either way! 7 weeks is Plenty of time to recover and run another marathon.
      Katie @ msfitrunner recently posted..Conversations with a Toddler and The Other ThingsMy Profile

    10. HMMMM they both sound like great races. I think you are generally pretty hardcore, and you can definitely rock it, so GO FOR IT!

      I am facing similar dilemma myself, as I look at my race schedule for 2013. I definitely want to run my second marathon (hoping for a much better performance), but I am thinking maybe running a spring and a fall marathon? Hmmm am I ready fr multiple marathons?! Maybe we will both run 2!
      Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) recently posted..Motivation Monday and Moving MadnessMy Profile

    11. I just ran the MCM and Philly marathons 3 weeks apart, and ended up PR’ing both. I actually felt better in race #2, but Philly is definitely an easier course than MCM. I think 7 weeks is plenty of time for recovery for you between marathons, but the hard part might be holding yourself back in the DC race. I think as long as you have very specific goals for each race and take plenty of rest in between you should be ok.

      I also ran NJ this year, such a fun marathon. I loved running on the boardwalk in the last few miles. It is my slowest marathon to date (due to my under training, not the course) but it is a great small town race! And so flat, the only “hills” are the few small bridges you cross. You should definitely be able to PR there.