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Sunrise Track Workout + What Spring Races Should I Do?

Gooooood morning! It’s another really cold one here in DC – in the teens with windchill. But, I’m proud because I dragged myself out of my warm bed and over to the track this morning! This is my “I made it back to the track for the first time in ages!” pose, apparently. :)

winter track workout arlington va

After the Marine Corps Marathon in late October I was reeeeeally burned out on training. So, since then I’ve been giving myself a break from any structured run training and haven’t been out at the track at all with the exception or one or two random pop ins to see everyone. You guys know I’ve still been running – usually 2 to 3 days per week – but just for fun and without any goals on distance or pace. I’ve also been doing a lot more strength work, yoga, boot camps, etc., which I’ve enjoyed.

Now that it’s the new year, though, I’m trying to decide what I want my spring of running/racing to look like. I’m planning to do the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (<- recap from last year) again in April, and will probably try to race it because it’s such a flat, fast course and I love racing the 10 mile distance (although last year’s time will be hard to beat)!

The race I’m debating about though is the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC half marathon (<- recap from last year) in March! I LOVE that race and if I do it this year it would be my 6th time running it (well, including the year I ran it before it became Rock ‘n’ Roll). But I can’t decide if I’m ready to train for another half or not, and then if I do decide to do it whether I should just do it for fun as a training run for the 10 miler or try to actually race it. (It’s not a super amazing course for racing because there’s a massive hill, but it’s not terribly hilly besides that.) Let’s break it down into some pros and cons, shall we?

MY OTHER RECIPES


Pros:

  • I love the course.
  • It’s one of my absolute favorite races and I think I’d be sad to miss out on it when race day came because I always do it. FOMO!
  • A bunch of friends are also doing it, so, PARTY. Although I think everyone is racing/has different goals, so we’d all be running solo – but still fun to see people before/after.
  • Did I mention I love the course/atmosphere? It’s just fun – great crowd support, cool tour of DC, so many friends out cheering, etc.
  • Full disclosure: as part of my ongoing Brooks running blogger ambassadorship, I can get a free bib for the race (they are one of the main race sponsors). I know, I am very fortunate that the race cost doesn’t factor in here because it’s not cheap!

Cons:

  • Matt and I have a fair amount of weekend trips coming up in late January/February that might interfere with training well for the race (might require some weekday long runs, which I don’t love at all).
  • The weather. March can be super hit or miss, although I definitely prefer very cold racing to very hot racing – but it just depends if we get a lot of snow/ice this winter that interferes with the race itself or training for it.
  • I’ve been enjoying doing more strength training and classes and don’t want that to drop off.
  • It’s the same day as my good friend’s wedding (the wedding is in DC, though, so I could definitely nap and rally – but something to consider).
  • This means amping up mileage again – do I really want to do that? Not sure if my body is ready for that again or not…
  • I always do it – I know this was a pro, but I think it could also be a con – might be nice to mix it up and do something different, like continue to focus on more of the strength classes, not deal with double digit distance runs, etc.

Decisions, decisions. What do you guys think? Should I run it? And if I do run it, should I race it or just run it for fun?! If I run it for fun and not speed, that would make some of the cons less of a big deal because I wouldn’t be so worried about snow/ice stopping me from running, and long runs would be more casual as well and I could skip a couple without it being a big deal. But at the same time, racing and having a goal is also nice – I’m just not sure I’m ready/care enough to put in the hard work to make a PR happen right now though, at least not for the half marathon distance. (The 10 miler is another story – that distance feels so much more manageable for speed, and the flat course makes a huge difference. Plus, that race isn’t so soon.)

I’m also trying to decide if I want to commit to going back to the track again consistently or not, which I would obviously need to do to PR – my track buddies make me much more inclined to because I love seeing them, but the cold weather and darkness do not. I will say, the track always sounds like a terrible idea when I think about it the night before and the morning of, but I do enjoy it when I’m out there. It’s a great group that I love getting to hang out with, and I always arrive home feeling awesome and super accomplished afterwards. Tough call!

The sunrises are pretty sweet in winter, too… here I am with my track buddy Diane attempting to get a jumping photo in between sets – our coaches were like um, what are you doing?

jumping photo sunrise track workout

Seriously though – how awesome is this sunrise we were treated to about halfway through practice?

sunrise track workout winter arlington va

As for the actual workout, here’s what we did:

  • Warm up jog (about 3/4 of a mile)
  • 2000m (5 laps around the track) at mid threshold pace
  • Rest 1 to 2 minutes
  • 2000m at mid threshold pace
  • Rest 1 to 2 minutes
  • 1200 (3 laps around the track) at slightly higher mid threshold pace
  • Cool down jog (about 1 mile)

My watch just shows the workout portion (not the warm up jog and cool down jog) – I probably covered about 5 miles total. This went by really quickly thanks to running with my track buddies and chatting most of the time! My cardio is still there, but my legs definitely felt a little rusty on the speed though, understandably, since it’s been awhile! That pace felt a lot harder than it normally should…

IMG_1142

Anyway – I’d love any thoughts you have on the spring racing dilemma! Obviously this small decision is not particularly important in the greater scheme of things/life/the hot mess that is currently the world, but I figured you guys might have some thoughts and have fun helping me to decide which way to go. :)

Post-workout breakfast was my old fave Microwave Banana Oatmeal. Half way through cooking I stirred in some frozen wild blueberries, and then I topped it with whole milk cottage cheese and some walnuts once it was out of the microwave. Delish and protein packed!

microwave oatmeal that is filling

I’m working from home today and have a bunch of meetings and calls, need to prep for my first day of volunteer English teaching tomorrow, and I’m also going to go have lunch with my grandmother for a nice mid-day break. Back to it!

Have a wonderful day, my friends!

What does your spring racing calendar look like?

Comments

  1. 1

    I feel like your brain is telling you to not do the half but your FOMO makes you want to! That’s kind of how I felt about training for the Marathon I ran in November–I didn’t want to miss out on the fun with my training friends, but was mentally feeling burnt out of a schedule. Maybe just run based on “feel” and see how that goes and register last minute if your runs and workouts leave you feeling up to it?! I’d put my energy into the cherry blossom race (which was so fun last year running with you / cabot fit) and play it by ear for the half. Good luck deciding, Anne :)

    • 2

      Yeah, you’re totally right – my brain/body is like, “seriously? this again?” but my mind is like “but it’s so fun and FOMO and ahhh!!!” I like the idea of playing it by ear… especially if weather ends up not being too brutal this winter! Thanks for your input! :)

  2. 3

    It seems like you’re actually kinda made up about it, but your brain is forcing you to keep reconsidering! Cherry Blossom for the PR, and the half for fun or not at all (honestly seems like not at all makes more sense for you). That’s my non-biased, objective blog reading!

  3. 5
    Diana Johnston says:

    I’d say sign up, and you don’t necessarily have to decide 100% right now if you’re going to race it or not. Your endurance will be there from 10 miler training and from doing the distance many times before. So maybe start out training as if you were training to race the half, but if it becomes too hectic, or you’re not feeling it, pull back on training and run the race for fun. But always important to listen to your gut too. Usually if there’s a race I’m considering, I’ll wait a few days. Either it becomes something I can’t stop thinking about, or I get less interested and more excited about other things. Good luck!

  4. 7

    After last year’s freezing Cherry Blossom race, I’m swearing off March/early April races for a while. My first race of the year is going to be the GW Parkway ten miler. But I absolutely hate the cold. My limiting factor in choosing my races is usually cost (ie: would I rather spend this money on a new/different race) but since you can get a bib for free, I don’t really see a downside! It’s only a few weeks before Cherry Blossom, so you won’t have to ramp up your training too much more than you were already planning, and you can just go out there and have fun. Enjoy! A few of my friends are running it, and if I wasn’t such a cold weather wimp I’d really think about it.

  5. 8

    My favorite quote from Brene Brown about FOMO is “When we say yes to FOMO we say no to ourselves”. I love this and talk about this with my clients all the time. FOMO is the worst. Say yes to your intuition- sounds like your body really wants a break from racing and running longer distances!

  6. 11

    I’m doing both of those races! I’m new-ish to the area so I’m really looking forward to them both.

  7. 14

    As someone a few decades older than you I can only suggest to always do what makes you happy, fulfilled and satisfied. Never do anything out of obligation, guilt, the fear of disappointing others etc.. I spent time doing things I did not really in my heart of hearts wanted to do and sadly it is time I will not get back. Today, if I don’t want to do it, it is perfectly ok…if I want to move in another direction, that is ok too….no guilt or “re-thinking” it…very freeing!! Life changes….you know what you want….just “do it” :)

  8. 16
    Roadrunner says:

    Go for it, Anne! Gotta have “action-forcing mechanisms” in life. And strive to do well, too! You will, I suspect.

  9. 17

    If you do it, I would say just do it for fun. With all of the back and forth on the weekends, your friends wedding, your body not really ready for it, and overall you seem exhausted at the thought of racing, why would you put yourself through all of that. Remember your thinking right before the holiday break, you were burnt. And if you do this race you will burn yourself out for the race you really want to do. Is that really what your heart wants you to do?

    Separate note – GORGEOUS sunrise this morning. Nice to know you had a similar one as NY.

    • 18

      Yeah, you’re right. It’s been really helpful to share with with you guys – sometimes when you lay it all out there you realize, oh wow. I do have a lot going on and I don’t think my heart is in it this time!

  10. 19

    Coming from the perspective of someone who is (still) burnt out on long distance running, I would ask you: “What do you have to prove (and to who) by doing RnR”? That helped me mentally deal with the FOMO/taking a step back from longer distance races…and then I show up to local races to spectate or volunteer…so I still feel like I’m participating in the community but I’m not putting myself mentally through the training that I don’t want to focus on at the moment. Just another perspective!

  11. 21

    Do the RnR half! Of course, I’m speaking completely selfishly. :) I’m doing the RnR half for the first time, and I’d like to say hi! Totally hoping that March works for the cold weather, but hoping no rain. I’ve been training reasonably well and so I’m hoping to push for a PR with this half (beat 2:07), but who knows.

    Instead of running the race, can you play race mother? I seem to remember that last year in your recap of this race, you really appreciated one of your local friends who couldn’t run that ended up bringing you all warm clothes and food afterward. Maybe that would make you feel part of the experience but you don’t have to run it? (And did I totally make up what I remembered from last year? I DO remember thinking that I was glad I didn’t run it last year since it was sooo cold and really rainy.)

    • 22

      Oh yay, you will love the race! I hope you crush it and the weather is good… it usually is for the race itself if not for the training leading up to it. :) And that was actually Marine Corps Marathon that my friend had food for us – it was the best! Good idea.

    • 23

      What a great idea! Also see if the race itself needs volunteers helping at the water stations, finish line, etc. You always love people cheering you on for this race so perhaps be at the race but in another capacity.

  12. 24

    You could always do the 5k at RNR – no big training leadup, still participate in the post-race party.

    • 25

      I didn’t even realize they had a 5k! I looked at the course though and… eh. It doesn’t look amazing… and starts/ends at RFK which is a pain from Arlington. Good to know that’s an option for the future though!

  13. 27

    Oh that microwave banana oatmeal looks delish! I’m gonna have to try that!

    I think you should do the Rock and Roll Half but just run it for fun. That way you can give yourself a break on trying to PR, getting up super early for track work, etc. and still be able to do more training and yoga. :)

  14. 28

    I’m having the same dilemma. I’ve done RNR the last three years and still haven’t signed up for this year. I have Cherry Blossom on the books, but as you said, 10 miles is much more manageable. The decision is haunting me because I got an email today with a discount for registration. Might be a game time decision.

  15. 30

    I feel you Anne. I am unofficially (aka haven’t mentioned it on my facebook page or my blog yet) training for a half marathon in March, but I know I am going to struggle to love the long distances again this year. I stepped out of a half marathon I was supposed to do last year, and ran a 14km instead (weird distance, but great race) and it was the best decision. Sometimes you need to listen to your gut and run for fun, whether that means running the half without the pressure of a goal, or sitting it out entirely and focusing on enjoying the travel you’ve got coming up and your friend’s wedding on that day. Whichever path you choose, your know your Fannetastic Fannes (see what I did there?) will support you all the way!

  16. 32

    Skip the race (winter training sucks and you raced a lot last year and seem to be enjoying not “having” to run a certain distance or time – it will give your body and mind more recovery time). Go back to the track (you seem to really enjoy your track buddies and get a lot out of the workout physically and socially). Good luck with your decision!

  17. 34

    Run. for. Fun!
    Celebrate your Fitness.
    Be Grateful for Your Health.
    Enjoy the Crowds.
    Leave Your Watch at Home.
    Have Fun With Your Friends.
    Encourage and Cheer The Volunteers.
    Befriend and Engage Strangers.
    Run. happy. Run. for. life!

  18. 36
    Stephanie says:

    If you are already training to race the Cherry Blossom, why not the half? Three more miles is insignificant if you are already putting in the work. Why not get two great races in for the work of one? As far as committing to track workouts, I understand you like your crew, but the speedwork seems long and sort of strangely paced. Is that group the best use of your time? I say that not to be rude but just to consider in your weighing of pros and cons:))

    • 37

      The track workouts are actually amazing – super effective! They are really varied – some days we do really short, speedier stuff, some days we do longer threshold, some days it’s hill repeats, etc. It has helped a TON with my speed when I consistently go. :)

  19. 39

    If you have to make a list of pros and cons, I don’t really think your heart is in it. Run for fun by all means, but if you are not excited about going for a goal, there is probably no point forcing it. This is what works for me anyway : ). I burnt out on running last year (plus I was injured) but am excited to get back in to it now. It’s so hot (which I hate) but in my excitement to start running again I have managed to get myself out there and deal with it!!

  20. 41

    Have you thought of volunteering at the race? That way you get to experience it without the commitment of training.

    • 42

      I’ve thought about that, and I’d like to volunteer at another race at some point, but probably not this one just because it’s my friend’s wedding day… I’m thinking it makes sense to not get up at like 4 a.m. if I’m trying to actually stay awake for the reception. :) Good idea, though!

  21. 43

    I struggle with those same decisions so I hear ya! I would say do not run the half. If you are a spectator and partying with your friends, you aren’t really missing out. I actually love being a spectator and cheer on my friends. It’s a fun excuse to sleep in a bit, grab a coffee, and celebrate your friends.

    Maybe sign up for another ten miler? The George Washington Parkway is one of my absolute favorites!

    Keep us posted on your decision!

  22. 45
    Stacey Wiesenthal says:

    out of curiosity, how did you find the track group to work out with?

    • 46

      I used to go to the track some with friends and there were always groups there so I asked around to find out who they were and joined one! :)

  23. 47

    Hi Anne! I’m also trying to decide about the RnR, I’ve never done it and I’ve heard it’s a great race. I don’t do well with hills (I did the Baltimore half in 2015 and it nearly killed me!) So, would you recommend it for someone who is not a hill runner?

    I’m also doing the Cherry Blossom 10-miler, which is also a favorite of mine! And my husband and I are doing the St. Michael’s Half which is in May and I would recommend if you’re looking for something later in the spring. It’s sooooooo flat and it gives you an excuse to spend the weekend in St. Michael’s. We may do the Frederick Half as well, another awesomely flat course.

    • 48

      Awesome recs, thank you! I think I’m going to stick with just the 10 miler and no halfs this spring, but we’ll see. If you’ve never done RnR, it’s a great half with a fun route and great crowd support — besides the one big hill it’s mostly flat, too! Maybe run it for fun and race the flatter ones later in spring? :)

      • 49

        You’re welcome, good luck with the 10-miler! Thanks for the info, that does make me less worried about it. Guess I’d better get training then! :)

  24. 50

    Anne: Just based on your pro list alone, you should do it!! Just think of that wedding as part of your recovery;) Love your blog; you are an inspiration.

    • 51

      Thank you Leslie! I actually decided against it for now since I don’t think I’ll be able to train with all the weekend travel and just wasn’t feeling the long distances right now — but I am leaving the door open to change my mind a couple weeks before if I really want to. :) Thank you for reading!

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