Making Races Fit Your Training Plan

Signing up for a big goal race and following an official training plan is a sure sign you’ve caught the racing bug. Once you’re in this racing mindset, all those local 5Ks and 10Ks start to look like a fun way to pad out your training for your big event. So, you sign up for a couple, then it dawns on you as you look at your specific training plan, “Um, how do I fit this into what I’m supposed to be running this week?” Never fear, fellow racers, I’m here to give you some options and specific tips on making races fit into your training plan.

Making Races Fit Into Your Training Plan There are a few different ways you can approach a race scheduled during your training program. There’s no right way, or wrong way to decide which approach is best for you, but you should decide ahead of time what you want to do so you can adequately prepare for your training races. THE RACING APPROACH: If you want to take advantage of the opportunity to race, then you can run a race during training as a fitness/speed test without jeopardizing your goal race result. For this approach, you should ease off for two to three days prior to the race. Make sure your long run is early in the week to give yourself as long as possible to recover. If you have a speed work run scheduled that week, make it easier, with a longer warm up and cool down. Run a couple of miles at tempo instead of doing a planned intervals workout, for example. Do a short shake-out run the day before the race, and take the day after the race off, or do some easy cross training. If you take the racing approach, remember, even with a mini-taper, this is not the event for which you’re training, so give yourself a little leeway with your goal for the race. Making Races Fit Into Your Training Plan THE LONG RUN APPROACH: Let’s say you’ve signed up for a 10K four or five weeks out from your half marathon – at this point in most training plans, your long run is usually 9 or 10 miles. So, turn your 10K (6.2 miles) into a longer run, with an extended warm up. (This is also a great way of familiarizing yourself with part of the course you’re about to run). Take it easy for the 4 mile warm up, running a little slower than your normal long run pace. Time it so you finish the warm up at the last possible moment before you have to line up, so there’s not much of a break between your two running segments. Run the 10K either at your long run pace throughout, or you could start at your long run pace and try to gradually get faster, to get used to running fast when you’re already tired. The dual benefits of this approach are that you don’t need to adjust your training plan – the race just becomes your long run – and you are also learning how to take it easy at the beginning of a race. Making Races Fit Into Your Training Plan THE SPEED WORK APPROACH: Make the race your speed workout for the week. Enjoy the crowd support and adrenaline of a race environment and use it to your speedy advantage! Take your speed workout for the week and modify it for the race. Do a warm up before the race, then you can run the race as intervals, half mile repeats, or if you’re following a very conservative training plan that doesn’t call for much , run it as a fartlek (that’s Swedish for ‘speed play’ – usually you’re randomly picking points in the distance, speeding up to get there, then backing off until you feel like trying the next speed segment). If you choose this approach to your race during training, be careful to keep the recovery portions of the race/workout as a true recovery, so you’re not inadvertently running the whole race faster than you would if you were racing. Making Races Fit Into Your Training Plan Finally, remember that regardless of which approach you choose, these races during training should be considered training for your goal event, not the be-all and end-all. If you do try to race one and get a disappointing result, don’t feel too bad about it – unless you’re training specifically for an event and tapering adequately, it won’t be indicative of your best racing effort, regardless of how well your program is going and how excellent your fitness level. Always keep your eyes on the real goal race.

Good luck! And happy training and racing. :)

Carly Pizzani - Fine Fit DayCarly Pizzani is a mama to a rampaging toddler, a personal trainer, the author of the fitness blog Fine Fit Day, a freelance writer, and an ex-pat Aussie living in Brooklyn. She loves running, lifting weights, yoga, spin class, dancing with her son — basically anything active. Keeping mamas (and mamas-to-be) fit, healthy and motivated is what she loves most about her job. You can connect with Carly on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.


Yoga 101 Lessons Learned

On Saturday I went to a 2 1/2 hour workshop at Valley Vinyasa called Yoga 101. It was my first experience in an actual yoga studio and I’m so glad I went.

Our teacher was Amy Hunasker and she was very knowledgeable. I liked when she admitted that a pose wasn’t comfortable for her and would use blocks or other props to help. I always thought that all yoga teachers were super flexible and could bend into a pretzel (although she was incredibly flexible!). We started with some discussion about yoga, it’s origin, what to expect in a yoga class, proper etiquette, and the different props. There are more props than I thought. I have the basics…a mat, blocks, and a strap. I don’t feel the need to use a blanket ever but she also showed us different sized bolsters and how you might use those and got out an eye pillow. I think I need to get an eye pillow and use that with some meditation to get me too sleep when my insomnia is acting up. I think that might get me a full nights sleep. Anyway, back to the workshop.

Yoga 101 Lessons Learned

We went through some basic yoga postures, a half sun salutation, and a full sun salutation. Amy was really great about gently correcting my posture. I told her that is the reason I wanted to be there. Luckily there weren’t many poses that required correction and I’m pretty decent at correcting myself when I know something isn’t quite right.

I think the biggest thing I got from this is that regular studio practice is not for me. I like to run first and then do yoga right after. Unless the class is going to fall when I’m done with my miles that day it’s just not going to work. The chances of that happening are pretty slim. The studio is by my work and I don’t have any yoga studios in my area.

I’m also too self-conscious for a group setting. Half way through the workshop I decided that my yoga pants might be on inside out and became fixated on that. When we had a bathroom break I checked and everything was fine. For the record, I’ve worn these pants inside out on multiple occasions so I’m not totally off my rocker.

Inverted poses irritate my blood pressure and being in them too long will give me a headache so I’m always doing everything at a different time than everyone else. Yes, I know that everyone’s yoga practice is their own and it’s okay in a yoga studio but once again, I’m too self-conscious for that.

And I think the biggest reason is MyYogaWorks is exactly the same as the class was. The only difference is that with the computer no one can correct my form. But on MyYogaWorks the explanations are just as thorough, you see the instructors correcting others form so you know how to correct yourself, and it works around my schedule. Just so you know, I have multiple yoga DVDs and while they are good, it’s not like being in a class but MyYoga Works is. So, yes, I’d rather pay $15 a month to practice in my home at my time than pay $99 at a studio.


However, I do plan to attend other workshops at Valley Vinyasa and continue to advance that way. There is one next week that I really hope to attend (I won’t know until last-minute because Jason is not doing well). The instructor will be from Elizabeth “EJ” Neuse from Yoga Works in New York. I’ll check to make sure my pants are on right before I get there.

Do you practice yoga? Do you prefer at home or at a studio? New York B.F.F.’s, have you ever taken a class with EJ?

For the record: I wasn’t compensated in any way for this post. I paid for the workshop and I’m using a month free pass at MyYogaWorks that I got through Brittany at My Own Balance. I do plan to continue using MyYogaWorks and paying for it…I like it that much.


Keep Me Groovin’ with Some Energy #AAF

Welcome to my July Ask Away Friday swap! If it weren’t for this swap there wouldn’t be any posts this week at all. I had this done way before my Monday and Wednesday posts. It’s just been like that.

Ask Away Friday

Thank goodness Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings  saved me by agreeing to be my partner. Stacey is a married mom of three children. She home schools, has mad gardening skills, some interesting tattoos, and loves castles. Of course, I had to grill her about them all so go check out her answers to my questions on her blog.


1. What does your workout schedule look like during a week? Do you work on different things on different days? Do you workout every day?

This really depends on what goal I’m working on. Right now my focus is on half marathon training. My workout schedule during the week is definitely different from the weekend because I don’t like to use an alarm.  Since Jeffrey needs to eat at 6:00 am (seriously, he thinks we’re starving him) and I rarely get up before 5:00 am that means that I review the weather report and determine when it will be coolest without being too close to my bedtime to workout which is usually around 7:00 pm. On the weekend I get out around 7:00 am, you know, after Jeffrey’s fed. Here’s how my weeks are shaking down:

  • Monday: wrangle 4 & 5 year old in/out of leotards/car seats for dance class (counts!)
  • Tuesday: run; yoga
  • Wednesday: Zumba/Pilates/Yoga/Fitness DVD/whatev’s
  • Thursday: run; yoga
  • Friday: yoga/Pilates
  • Saturday: run; yoga
  • Sunday: long run; yoga

I do 31 push ups a day as part of the July Fitfluential Challenge and the mileage for my runs varies depending on where I’m at with my plan. I also put on my big girl running pants and bought a foam roller and will be incorporating that into my workouts on run days. The amount of yoga I do depends on various factors but I’m working on increasing my time. I think that the real thing you’ve learned here is that everything revolves around this guy:

Jeffrey chewing on my Polar FT60. He thinks it's a workout.

Jeffrey chewing on my Polar FT60. He thinks he’s working out.

2. What types of tunes do you workout to? Give me your top five.

I only use music when I run and it’s all over the place. Since I’ve posted about my raunchy music before I decided to give you five songs I ran to recently:

  1. According to You – Orianthi
  2. Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) – Looking Glass
  3. Funkytown (Long Version) – Lipps, Inc.
  4. Drivin’ My Life Away – Eddie Rabbit
  5. Lotta Boot Left to Fill – Eric Church

(Try not to look at the singers crazy eyes…weird!)

3. What does your dream vacation look like? Where do you go?

I’ve had my dream vacation. I just want to do it over and over and over again.


I love going on cruises. Norwegian is my favorite cruise line. I’ve gone on a Carnival cruise but after having been on Norwegian I thought Carnival kind of sucked. Carnival is cheaper up front but they nickel and dime you to death on board so it really winds up costing more. Plus it’s not as relaxed as Norwegian.


On both my cruises I went to Cozumel and I love it there. I could visit other places but only if it’s warm and has a beach. Otherwise I’m perfectly happy continuing to go to Cozumel or just staying on the boat.


In case you’re wondering what I do on a cruise: I get up at some insane hour because of the time difference, workout, eat, workout, eat, workout, eat, play the slots, sleep (maybe).

4. What would a pamper day include for you?

My husband rubs my feet almost every night that he’s feeling less like crap. I’m good.

5. If you could go back in time and interview any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

This one really has me stuck because I’m not into history and I don’t really know much that happened between The New Testament and 1984 (I have limited childhood memories). I don’t know if she really counts as a historical figure but I’d really love to pick Mary Kay Ash’s brain. Even though I’d never go down the MLM road again (I guess I shouldn’t say never but I’m 99.9% confident it wouldn’t happen), I have a great deal of respect and admiration for what Mary Kay built.

6. What is your favorite thing about being a Grandma?

Although I had hoped my children would wait until they got older to have kids, I really do enjoy being a younger grandma. I love swinging and swimming and running around just as much as they do. My absolute favorite part though is snuggling and just hanging out with them. In general, I don’t like to be touched (unless my husband is rubbing my feet — ha!) but with the grandkids I can turn that part of my crazy off.

Me and Izz

7. Do you have a television show that you just can’t miss?

I watch very little television…we don’t even have cable (gasp!). During the week I don’t watch it at all that I can think of. Unless I really just need a day to turn off my mind. We do have Hulu Plus, Neflix, and Amazon Prime (still cheaper than cable) and sometimes I might go through some binge watching on the weekends. I just finished up Big Love. It’ll probably be another month or so before I go back to watching something again.

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

8. What movie would people be surprised that you love to watch over and over?

I’m not sure if anyone would be surprised but besides watching Legally Blonde more times than any one person ever should, I also watch House Bunny pretty regularly. I love The Nightmare Before Christmas so much that I have the soundtrack on my iPod (I just don’t run to it).

9. If you were given 1 million dollars, what would you do with it?

Pay off my house, buy a new car, put the rest in some sort of secure financial thingy (it’s a good thing I don’t really have a million bucks), and have the interest deposited in my bank account so I can go on cruises. I will not quit my job. Nor will I pay for cable. A million dollars really isn’t that much anymore.

10. Do you have a dream that you have yet to accomplish? What is it?

I work on my biggest goal every day. Every time I run, every time I do Pilates or Yoga, when I choose a sweet potato over fries, plain chicken breasts over fried chicken, when I laugh, when I relax, all of these things bring me one step closer to my goal. To live to be 100. And I really want to live it.

Margaret Mckenzie turned 100 years old on October 6, 2013. She celebrated with a workout. Source.

Margaret Mckenzie turned 100 years old on October 6, 2013. She celebrated with a workout. Source.

Do you think that wrangling children counts as exercise? What is your biggest goal? What are your weekend plans?