Racing Seasons

Written by Steve Jackson

New Year’s Freezer Five, Have a Heart 5 Miler, Guinness 5K, Boston Tune-up 15K, Mother’s Day 10K, Father’s Day 5K, Four on the Fourth, Falmouth Road Race, Canal Diggers, Baystate Half Marathon, Turkey Trot, Jingle Bell 5K, New Year’s Freezer Five, etc. How long is the running/racing season? Does it ever end? Can I PR in this next race?


How long can a runner stay in peak condition?

The duration of a running peak can vary for individual runners, may last a few weeks or a couple of months. After the peak, it is typical to have a recovery period to allow the body to rest and rebuild before starting another cycle of training so another peak can be achieved. So, knowing this a runner should realize that racing all year long may prove at times both tough and frustrating.

Consider focusing on two racing “seasons” in a year, could be spring and fall races or maybe races in April-June or Sept-November. These “seasons” could be when there is one or two main races to focus on, where you want to go for a PR (personal record) or a certain time. This doesn’t mean not running races out of season, just knowing those races would have a different goal: comradery, just for fun, part of a workout.

Focused training plans are typically 8 – 15 weeks which include speed/pace work, endurance and recovery runs. Other races can also be part of the training plan to show progress, build confidence and provide mini rewards along the way to your main goal. As a number of our club members approach their spring goal races (Cheap Marathon, Great Bay Half Marathon and the Boston Marathon) think about what race, races or distance you would like to focus on this year.

Training in groups help everyone, so please talk with your clubmates to see who has similar goals and then we can work together to create a couple of training plans to help you reach those goals. Summer racing season training would start up in mid to late April, fall racing season training would start up in mid to late July.

Here’s a couple of links to some quick articles on training, peaking and recovery.…/how-long-should-my…/…/take-a-break-for-peak…/