How Many Races Can You Pack In to a Season While Avoiding Injury?
Whether you enter races to win, finish or just have a purpose to your training, most would agree that we push ourselves harder than we ever would outside of a race. And whether it's a 5km or a marathon, pushing ourselves in this way undoubtedly puts more strain on our bodies so just how often is it safe to race?
Listen to Your Body
Sorry to state the obvious but the number of races will be different for each person. The important thing is to listen to your body. You know when you've strung too many long training runs together and over done it when your knee starts to feel uncomfortable or you wake up with a painful foot, the same applies to races. It has a lot to do with your running form and general fitness as well as your nutrition.
It will be harder to estimate how many races you are capable of when you are relatively new to running, after my first half-marathon I was walking like a clown on stilts for a whole week and there's no way I would have been able to do another race a week or even two weeks later. These days, maybe I could so considering how you've felt after previous races could be helpful. However if you do decide to race every week you should definitely consider fitting in a rest period every few races. Maybe even choose a gym to keep your fitness up while giving your tired bits a rest.
Quality or Quantity
Some runners will race every weekend and the traveling to new places and taking part is part of the experience for them. I totally see the attraction to that and perhaps when I have more time I could get in to that but at the moment I prefer to have fewer races so I can go into them knowing I am fully rested, prepared and ready to give it my all in attacking my PBs.
Whatever you decide, have fun planning your running calendar!
I'd love to know your thoughts, how often do you run races?