Racing vs. Training: What’s the Proper Balance?

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I have one friend who runs every day (and runs pretty fast).  His grand total of official races he’s run?  One.  He just does not do races.  Another friend, who also runs every day, once logged around 40 races in one year.  And somewhere between those two is another friend who runs perhaps three times a week but plans to run 17 races this year.

What’s the proper amount of races per year in which to participate in comparison to just training?  Having races for which to train can help motivate people to keep running even in the dead of winter, the sogginess of spring or the heat of summer.  On the other hand, too many races can burn someone out.  In fact, having too many races may actually be detrimental to your performance due to lessened training and recovery time.

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Running in Groups: Plenty of Running Club Options

Some folks have no problems motivating themselves to run everyday.  They have the discipline to get up and run by themselves, through hot and cold weather, day in and day out.  For others, it’s a little more difficult, and some additional motivation is needed. 

A good deal of that motivation can come from running in groups.  There’s something to be said about specifically scheduled days and times to run.  You’re more likely to either get up early or perhaps skip a post-work happy hour to run if there’s a group run with others in the same boat.  Group runs also seem to go by a lot easier, so you hardly notice that you’ve just run 5 or 8 miles. 

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Running While High: The Altitude Effect

Last week, I spent time in surrounding Salt Lake City, Utah area.  In addition to taking in the many beautiful sights, drinking low alcohol beer (only 4.0 percent or lower beer is sold at grocery stores) and enjoying the respite from 95 degree Philly temperatures, I also did get a chance to do some running.

Running in most areas of Utah, of course, is much different than running here in Philly.  In addition to gorgeous mountain and lake scenery, Utah is at a substantially higher elevation than our sea level city.  Eden, where I did most of my running is at an altitude of approximately 5,200 feet, with many hills along the way.  So what’s it like to run at altitude for a week?  Quite an adjustment and challenging but also possibly rewarding.

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