Whenever I meet a runner at a group run for the first time, the first question that inevitably crops up is "are you training for anything in particular?" For me, for the past three years, the answer has always involved the word "marathon"--without any modifiers. My focus has been nearly exclusively on marathons. Not half-marathons, not ultra-marathons, just marathons.
Now, that's about to change.
For fall of 2013, I'm not signing up for any marathons. I will, of course, be racing, but the races will be non-marathon distances. My next big race is the Blue Ridge Relay, where I'll be a member of team Stache and Dash Remixed. This will be my first time running the race with a 12-member team. It'll be a far cry from last year, when we ran it with 6 runners, and for me it will also be a different from 2011 when I ran on a 10-member team but still had to run an extra leg. The standard 12-member team divides the 36 legs neatly into 3 legs per runner. With a 10-member team, half of the runners must complete 4 legs, and with a 6-member team, if all goes according to plan, each runner does 6 legs in just over 24 hours, each leg averaging about 6 miles (In our case, it didn't, and I ended up running 7 legs and 35 miles).
So this year what I'm hoping for is a nice, uneventful 3-leg Blue Ridge Relay where I run a total of 3 legs, about 16 miles. I have put in a bid for the notorious "mountain goat" leg, which involves a 1,300 foot climb, but that should not be nearly as difficult as previous years (including last year, when I ran the "mountain goat" as my sixth leg!).
Later in the fall I'll be working on short-distance (for me) races: 5Ks and half-marathons. I'm still hoping to qualify for the New York Marathon by running a sub-1:25 half-marathon, so I've registered for a race I've done before, the Kiawah Half Marathon, which I ran way back in 2007. I didn't particularly like the course back then because it was a fairly boring, flat course which didn't offer much in the way of beach views. This time around I'll be happy to stay away from the windy beach and just focus on PRing. The other thing I didn't like about the course as a middle-of-the-pack runner is that it was very crowded. This year, if all goes well, I'll be near the front of the pack and that shouldn't be much of an issue either.
I'm also going to run our local half, Charlotte's Thunder Road Half Marathon, which is a hilly race and not likely to yield a PR unless I'm in absolutely fantastic shape. But my plan is to get myself not just into 1:25 half-marathon shape, but instead more like 1:23 shape, so if I'm firing on all cylinders, I should be able to PR and possibly qualify for New York here in Charlotte.
I am also going to run one or two 5Ks, most notably the Big South 5K, where I PRd last year and am hoping to PR again.
That's my fall schedule in a nutshell. I'm starting off by training for the hills of the Blue Ridge, so today I ran up the stadium bleachers at Davidson College 60 times. Didn't feel too bad; maybe next week I'll go for 80! Details of today's workout are below.