Betty Says: What’s Next?

The road ahead.

With four days until race day, people are looking ahead to what’s next.

Hi Betty,

What’s your plan for after Nike? Do you have any other races on the calendar? How do you plan to stay in shape?

– Planning in Portland

Wow, the race hasn’t even happened yet and you’re already talking about the future? You guys are tough. Can’t a girl even get a couple of days off to rest her tired legs?

The truth is, I don’t know what’s next. For a long time I’ve sworn that 13.1 miles is more than enough distance for me, and that I’d retire from the distance running as soon as I checked the box on this half, sticking with 10k and 5k races in the future. But the truth is, I’m not built for speed. I’ll never be competitive with the naturally fast runners in a 5k, and the 10k is too short to be long and too long to be short. Is that really the right length for me?

More than a few people have insisted that I’m really cut out for marathons, but I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s not race day that scares me (well, it scares me a little). I don’t think I’m willing to commit to the lifestyle change that a marathon would require. That’s a lot of time away from the family, a lot of careful and creative schedule-juggling to make it work. That’s stressful. Is it worth it to check the marathoning box? I’m really not sure.

I don’t have any races on the calendar, the first time I’ve been without a race goal all year. I’m eyeing a few, but I haven’t committed. I want to see how I feel after Nike, and what I’m prepared to take on. It’s been a long time since my last half — three years, to be exact — and I really don’t know how much of a difference my training will make. Of course, I have all of these fantasies about running faster than my goal pace and proving to myself that I’m some sort of distance runner extraordinaire. Reality will probably involve cramping legs and blisters.

For now, I’m planning on a slow, easy recovery for the first two weeks after the race, and probably a nice pedicure and leg massage to thank my feet for carrying me to the finish line. Once November rolls around… well, we’ll see.

Do you always have a big race on your calendar, or do you have a running pendulum that swings from all-in to couch potato?

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6 Responses

  1. freesia39 says:

    After Nike, I’m done-zo for the year. I usually stop by November anyways since it starts raining, and I hate running in the rain.

    This winter, I’m going to see if I can start running for speed, although I also get the feeling I’m not built for speed. I would like to just improve my overall mile times, and my overall fitness.

  2. Alisa says:

    I know what you mean about the rain. I invested in a really good rain-resistant running jacket to try and push myself through the winter weather (and I can’t believe that I gripe about winter weather in northern CA!) and keep the fitness going. I recently read that winter is a good time for working on speed because the best speed workouts are the shorter, more intense workouts, and those are perfect for days where you don’t really want to be outdoors, anyway.

  3. Jason says:

    You’re totally doing a marathon.

  4. Alisa says:

    We’ll see. If I go through with it, I think I’d need to do it through Team in Training. I need the coaching and structure.

  5. Rachel says:

    I have to know what the next race is…or I won’t get out there and run. The goal of being ready for a race is my motivation on some days.

    I’m doing my first full on Dec 3rd and then would really like to do this neat-o race where we run a half on New Year’s Eve & then do another on New Year’s Day.
    The marathon and the 2nd half wouldn’t be speed…just covering the distance. I would like a PR for the final race of 2011, though!

  6. Alisa says:

    Rachel, I really think that I need to get something on the calendar, even if it’s just the Bah Humbug 5k. Otherwise it’s much too easy to sit on the couch.

    I love the split-half race for the new year. That’s really cool!

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