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How to Balance Races with Marathon Training


Every runner needs to learn how to balance races with marathon training in order to a) get the most of their training and b) still have some fun. That said, it is an artful balance. Find out how to balance races with marathon training on this week’s Running Coaches Corner!

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Today, you all are getting a two-fer: a) you are getting an informative post and b) you are getting a peek at the Coach Suz Letter, the twice-monthly newsletter that I offer. Not only does the Coach Suz Letter offer advice on topics from safely transition between seasons to cross training to marathon training, but every subscriber will get my Runner Warm Up and Hip and Ankle Strengthening Exercises, perfect for prehab and injury prevention! All you have to do is sign up!

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Now, let’s dive into a recent edition of the Coach Suz Letter!

Learn just how to balance races with marathon training so that you can get the most of your training and avoid runner FOMO! Also, join up with Running Coaches' Corner.

How to Balance Races with Marathon Training


Summer = Racing vs.Training

How do you balance fall goals with summer wants?

We all know the feeling. FOMO. There is a race this weekend, and we want in. But we are also training for a race in the fall. And we want to PR in both, and SO MANY PEOPLE will be running this race this weekend. And it’s just a few miles. That won’t matter… right?
Yes and no. Let me explain:

No: Typically, the shorter the race distance, the harder you are going to run. Additionally, you are unlikely to be trained for that speed and that distance. You might be doing speed work during the week, but as a coach, I am unlikely to prescribe 5k pace for my clients training for a marathon. So though you might want to race race race, think about the risk/reward: is the reward of racing all out for a PR worth the risk of pulling a muscle because you aren’t trained up for it? 

Yes: To play devil’s advocate, there is no reason to say that racing a 5k or 10k in the midst of training is a bad decision. In fact, I often have my clients race and do time trials during their training. But how do you make it work in the midst of marathon training? I’m a believer in looking at the amount of work and percentage of hard miles over the course of the week. So maybe don’t do a second speed workout during that week, and consider flipping a run or two. Maybe do your long run during the week and then have your race that weekend (talk with your coach and double check! This will also depend on the distances you are planning for your long run and your race). 

Yes 2: Work that race into your long run, but realize that you are unlikely to be able to go as all out as you might otherwise. Maybe do the bulk of your long run first, and then finish your miles with the race for a practice with a fast finish. Myself, I work half marathons into my training as a mental prep for race day and also mental strength (you know you won’t wimp out on your long run if it is during a race!). 

The most important thing to keep in mind regardless is pick your priority. Long term glory or short term satisfaction?

Manage your expectations, stick to your plan, talk to your coach.Some clients want to do #alltheraces, and it is my job to help them do that in a way that is safe and productive. Let’s talk if you need some help managing your race schedule!

Happy Racing, and Happy Running!






Coach Suz Training offers running coach and personal training services for all levels of fitness and running goals! From marathoner to bikini competitors, let Coach Suz help you live beyond expectations! Find out more at

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Now it is time to link up with Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner!
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I am also linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday.

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