Sunday, January 20, 2019

Target Races for 2019

I've already posted my running goals for 2019, but those are different than racing goals. Time to focus on what races will be my main targets for good performances this year. Sure, I'll have lead up races and time trials to prepare for my goal races, but you can only have a limited number of prime targets in one year. I'm thinking four for 2019. Two ultras and two half-marathons.

My first goal race of the year will be my local Illinois half-marathon on April 27. This darn race has lured me in and crushed me on several attempts. I've done the marathon and the half on multiple occasions. Race weather is unreliable, but the course is rather flat and fast. Plus, lots of friends run the race or volunteer. It's a great place to try for a personal best. Well, I'll try once again. With several ultras leading up to this half-marathon, I'll have the aerobic endurance to stay strong to the end. I'll simply need to incorporate speed training for 4-5 weeks to sharpen for this test of stamina. And hope for good weather. I think running a 1:35 is possible. Perfect training, perfect weather, perfect motivation and maybe a new PR of 1:32?

My second target race of the year is the Howl the the Moon 8-Hour ultra on August 10. It'll be hot and it'll be humid. Probably sunny too. Miserable conditions to run for 8 hours. I know what I'm getting with this race. I've run it 16 times! Last year I skipped the race. Time to make a real comeback. I should have a nice set of build-up races to simulate the summer heat and distance. I'll definitely break 40 miles and grab a top 3 in my age group. It's important to impress the new Howl race director!

After the summer heat, I'll turn my attention to a fall race I hate: the Half at Fort Ben on October 5. It's actually a really nice race course, with fine organization, run through a state park in Indianapolis. Hilly too. And the last two years it's been warm and humid. I don't expect any personal records to fall here, but I do expect to run my best for this specific race. I guess that would be a personal course record. Me against this darn course. It's humbled me twice. Time to end that domination. I'll be ready.

I'll end the year with my fourth and final target: Tunnel Hill 50 miler on November 9. I ran my best 50 miler here in 2014 (9:04). I want to go sub-9 this year. If the rest of the year goes as planned, I'll have both speed and endurance developed by November. And I know where I typically fail on this damn race--the long and steady uphill around mile 31. It lasts for 5 miles. Not steep, just unrelenting. I'll be ready this time. More strength training leading up to the race and more calories on race day.

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