Friday, January 8, 2016

2016 Race Plans

I have three main goal races for 2016. In addition to those three target races, I'll toss in a couple of other races as tests/benchmarks...or just plain fun. Maybe a 5K to test my speed. A 10K to work on stamina. A few trail races to build strength. Anyway, here are my three goal races for 2016:

Illinois Half-Marathon (April 30, Champaign, IL)
I've run the marathon here twice and really enjoyed the first half (nicer scenery). Why not just do the first half? I set a personal record at the half-marathon distance in St Louis (1:32:35, Oct 2014). That wasn't too long ago. I think I can set a new personal best this year. I dream of breaking 1:30. The course in Champaign is flatter than St Louis, but the weather will likely be warmer. Maybe those factors cancel each other out? The big difference is that I'll train harder for this attempt. Plus, the starting line is only a 10-mile drive from my home. No long travel, no hotel, no stress. And there will be tons of friends running and volunteering at the race. Not sure I could set a marathon PR here, but a half-marathon best is definitely doable. I'll be using the Hansons Half-Marathon Method for this race. More details on that training plan in a future blog post.

Jack & Jill's Downhill Marathon (July 30, North Bend, WA)
This will be my Boston qualifier attempt. Why this race?  Did you see the name of the race?  It's all downhill! A gentle downhill grade on packed dirt trails. I may kill my quads, but I'll qualify for Boston. Plus, my brother will do this as his first marathon. We won't exactly "run together," but it'll be fun to train for the same event and coordinate our efforts. I need a 3:30 to qualify for Boston (8:00 mile/pace), but you need to be a couple minutes faster to actually get into the Boston Marathon. I'm shooting for a 3:25. I'll use a formal training plan for this race too, but not sure if it'll be the Hansons Marathon Method or FIRST program. I'm leaning toward FIRST. While the course is downhill, the race is in the middle of summer. Weather could be a huge factor. Seattle area is cooler than central Illinois, so maybe all my heat training in June and July will pay off at the race.

Tunnel Hill 50 Miler (November 12, Vienna, IL)
I set my 50-mile personal best here in 2014 (9:04). Missed the race in 2015 (sick with a cold). Now it's time to return and set a new PR! I'd like to break 9:00 (shouldn't be too hard) and possibly hit 8:30 (much harder). The course is a rails-to-trails surface on a wide packed dirt path and no rocks and roots. Mostly flat with a few gentle ups and downs. Definitely a fast race. Well, as fast as you can be for 50 (or 100) miles. I turn 50 in 2016 so this is my capstone event. Run 50 miles at the age of 50 faster than I ever have before. Good goal, right? Works for me.

Three target races and three new personal bests. Sounds good.


Jake said...

Good luck on your 2016 races!

Your mention of the Jack & Jill's Downhill Marathon reminded me of a downhill marathon we have here in Colorado: the Revel Rockies. It drops more than 4,700 feet from start to finish, and they publicize it as a good qualifier for Boston.

Not sure if that actually increases the chances for a BQ time, though, since it stars at 10,510 feet above sea level....


Chris Ⓥ said...


I think I'll stick with the oxygen rich air of Seattle rather than CO. That's also a lot of drop. I think the Jack & Jill marathon drops about 2,000'.