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How to Use a Race as a Training Run

Mar 20, 2014 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

During my NYC marathon training last year, I used a lot of races as training runs. I loved it as normally I had friends racing too, could use the course loos and aid stations, and crucially, I got a medal!! I know it’s not always a cheap option to do this, however there are lots of smaller local races available (or Park Runs) that you might be able to tag onto the end of a long run and give you a bit of extra motivation in the final few miles.

Back in October of 2013, I took part in the Human Race Kingston Run Challenge and ran the 24 mile race as my longest training run of my marathon cycle (it was miserable and rained non stop). This weekend I’m using the Wholefoods Market Breakfast run 16 miler as my last long run before the Paris marathon before I begin to taper next week. It’ll be a great time to see if my planned pace for Paris is realistic, or if last week’s 8.50 min mile pace was a fluke! 

When using a race as a training run or part of a training run, it’s important to remember a few things;
  • Don’t get swept up with the race mentality of running as fast as you can, stick to the pace you need to in order to finish strong and injury free.
  • If you need to complete more miles than the race distance, try to complete them beforehand, and with as little time as possible between your run and your race so that your body doesn’t cool down too much.
  • Use it as an opportunity to practice your goal race day routine, including pre-race breakfast, fuelling, hydrating and outfit. 

Good luck to everyone running this weekend, I know a lot of you that are training for spring marathons are in the final few weeks of training. Have you used any races for training? 


  1. Mary Moore

    Never heard of a 24 mile race before!
    Just wondering why you complete extra miles before a race rather than after. That’s what I’d been advised to do by a few people before, but unsure why it’s not the other way around?

  2. mia79gbr

    Great timing! I was thinking about doing this next weekend! I’ve got 15 miles in the traiing plan and there’s a half marathon on that day too!

  3. Kirsty

    I did the silverstone half as part of my London training, but so wish i’d done more! The atmosphere definitley makes it a lot more fun than running 15+ miles by your self!


  4. Lauren (@poweredbypb)

    I definitely think it’s a good idea to combine training and races. I really regret doing a 20 miler trail race in Feb though as I’m pretty sure all my injury problems have stemmed from there.


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