Should you set a running goal 6 months out?

Planning for a 38K trail race

2017 trail running goals - planning for a 38K trail race

This post will not answer the title question for you. I did, but that doesn’t mean you should. It also doesn’t mean I should…check back in 6 months to find out.

Oh, you want to know about the goal? It’s a 38K trail race at the beginning of July. Β It would be the longest race I’ve done by about 9 miles, but on the other hand it’s a distance I know I could hike in a day if necessary. The goal, though, is to run most of it.

I ran a 25K last July, but, um, I haven’t run farther than 5 miles since then. I think ran maybe once a week through November and December. Given that, 6 months doesn’t sound so long any more. Six months does sound like too long to plan all at once, though, so I’m starting out with training priorities instead of a plan. Here they are:

Training priorities

Plan monthly, evaluate weekly: because sometimes the run you planned 2 months ago would be a dumb idea for today. January’s plan calls for getting back to consistent 3x/week runs.

Recover hard: This is the part where a running coach would say to foam roll, do mobility exercises, etc. They are right and you should do those things, but I am not a running coach and this plan is only for me. And for me the most important part of recovery is the rest/sleep part, because if I push to the point of too tired I will crash hard and it can takes weeks to recover (thanks, wonky immune system). Long runs require long rests; sometimes long rests require not doing or putting off other things you want to do.

*Maximum* 2 strength training per week: I actually like strength training, so sometimes I want to do more. My body does not like this in combination with running.

Hike if you’d rather: meaning, if your plan says trail run but you feel like hiking, do. There’s no rule about how fast you have to go.

Take a wilderness first aid course: I know only the most basic of first aid basics, because I am appallingly squeamish and have thus far successfully avoided further education in that vein. That won’t cut it for being on the trails, potentially alone, for hours at a time. This is definitely the part I’m least looking forward to, but I think it’s the responsible adult thing to do here.


How do you plan for a race that’s 6 months away?

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday & Coaches’ Corner



14 Comment

  1. I think you almost need to plan for a race of that distance – 6 months away! My last marathon I trained 4 months in advance but had a solid base of running going into it, which I think it is necessary to stay injury-free and be able to enjoy the race. That being said my plan definitely ebbed and flowed throughout the 4 months, along with my goals and abilities! Enjoy kicking off your new training priorities!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I am definitely anticipating ebbs and flows. Thank you!

  2. What an exciting goal! I don’t think it’s too soon to plan as long as you’re flexible with your schedule to allow things that might come up- seems like you’ve got that covered πŸ™‚

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      That’s the plan at least πŸ˜‰

  3. What a great goal. Good idea to take the first aid course, I probably wouldn’t have even thought of that.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      The first aid course is probably more of a life necessity, honestly!

  4. That’s such an interesting question as six months feels like so long – but it will also pass by in an instant!

    I think planning monthly and evaluating weekly is a brilliant idea as you never know what’s going to pop up – but setting your goals so far in advance is a must when you’re running such an incredible distance!

    A first aid course is such a smart and responsible idea, too! You’re killing it at adulting because I would never have thought of it πŸ˜›
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recent Things: Unexpected House Guests, Unicycles and SketchesMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Well, there is a glaring lack of any kind of first aid in my adulting skill set πŸ˜›

  5. Planning for a goal race 6 months out? Absolutely. Heck, some runners plan YEARS out! I give myself at about 6 months of planning for marathons!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Well this is close to marathon length, so I guess I picked the right time to start!

  6. Absolutely plan that far out! If I have a big run our tournament a few months away I work backwards and set weekly mini-goals to get to the big goal. That helps keep me motivated and feeling like I am accomplishing something. In fact I need to go do that right now for a tournie I have in April! Good luck with training πŸ™‚

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I agree, mini-goals are necessary!
      Hannah recently posted…Should you set a running goal 6 months out?My Profile

  7. […] January. I could recap each point of my plan, but there’s really not that much to say. Everything went according to plan the first two […]

  8. […] the beginning of the year I set a goal to run a 38K trail race in July. As you probably guessed, I’m not running it. The first […]

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