Judgement Call

Sometimes the races we sign up for, particularly ones that support our key events, are a judgement call. Such was the case the past few weeks for today’s Dick Beardsley Half Marathon in Detroit Lakes.

The half marathon, one of my favorite, will be run by many friends today, and I wish them the best of luck. There’s also another race, the Jack Pine Classic in Bemidji, which is sure to be a fine event.

Over the last several days, I had been contemplating heading to Detroit Lakes for the Beardsley event, and then I considered staying put to run the Jack Pine. Normally, I like a good tune up – and both of these serve that purpose – before a marathon.

However, midweek, I chose to go another direction – stay home but run long instead. It’s really a guessing game. There’s no doubt that avoiding a tuneup race will impact pacing for me during the Twin Cities Marathon. The question came down to whether I’d be better off trying to gain some endurance benefits by running long instead.

It’s well documented that I like to get up to 7 long runs – 18 miles or more – before racing a marathon. That hasn’t been the case this year as it’s been an atypical pattern for me dating back to last December. So my judgement call, to log a long run, instead of a pace-setting fast half marathon is a bit of a gamble.

For me, the biggest reason is that to race a half marathon – and make it a quality run reflective of my ability – I’d want to get into a chiropractor first. That wasn’t going to happen this week. So I opted for long miles instead.

A half marathon – ideally timed for 4 weeks before the marathon – should be a confidence booster for anyone running the 26.2-mile distance. A race that doesn’t build confidence, though, can serve as a detriment, sapping energy by causing stress unless you’re supremely confident in your training.

Now, for those long miles, it’s time to hit the pavement…