Making a race calendar might be overwhelming, as there are many great races during the year. This post is about how many races should run in a year and what to consider when choosing the race.
Some runners race every almost every weekend and do several marathons a year. That’s okay if you are not interested in time and progress. Also running a marathon in every month increase injury risk and might affect negatively on progress. The body needs enough time to recover from the marathon.
How many race?
Let’s consider that you want to limit injury risk and aiming new PB. There should be a 1-2 marathon a year. One in spring and in autumn. Whereas, 1-3 half marathon in a year, 1-4 x 10 km races and 1-6 x 5 km. But this doesn’t mean you should run a max number of each distance during a year.
When speaking of running and especially road racing and marathon, wintertime is often the training season, when there are no races. The first marathon is often spring/early summer before this can be done half marathon or one to two shorter distance races. They are a good indicator of running shape and work as a speed workout too. After the first marathon starts a new training season toward autumn and second marathon which follow about the same race structure than the previous one.
If you only run one marathon per year, there can be more half marathons during the year. Also if a half marathon is the longest distance you are aiming to run, there can be more 5 km and 10 km races during the year.
How to pick races?
If you are aiming to new PB, choose the race that is as flat as possible, without many turns. Big marathon is often good as the organization work very well. But there is some risk when running major marathons or any marathon with tens of thousands of runners. First, the starting area and the first few kilometres can be very congested, which can pay you a lot of time. Second, if use rabbits, you might not see them very well as there often big group around them, and you might lose them. So, try to choose race where are thousands of runners but which are not too crowded.
Weather and place are other things to consider. Of course, you can never know in advantages the race day weather, but if you don’t like to run in cold, try to choose the race that’s is early in summer or late summer. Whereas, hot haters can avoid those races. If you don’t want any extra challenge, choose a race that is near to sea level, as higher altitude is always harder.
For those who seek experience, there are a lot different kind of marathons, like Great Wall of China marathon or serra do rio do rastro marathon which is an uphill marathon.