While I worked on drafting this year’s Chicago Marathon training plan back in the late Spring I also looked at possible races that I could run that would double as a long training run. When I saw that the date for this year’s Leesburg 20k aligned well following the week after a 16 mile long run, I knew that registering for this year’s race was a no brainer.
I have run numerous Potomac River Running races, and as I’ve shared before I am a huge fan of this local race series. However, its been four years since the one and only time that I have run the Leesburg 20k and I am excited to challenge myself to this race and course again.
The Leesburg 20k course is a challenging one. It is an out and back course, mostly on the W&OD Trail. Although parts of the trail are shaded, which is especially nice for a summer race, the trail in Leesburg is also quite hilly. Thankfully, the majority of the hills are in the first two-thirds of the race, and the last third of the race is mostly downhill. Back in 2014 this helped me finish the race strong, and I’m optimistic that it’ll help me to do the same this year.
Although one of my 2018 goals is to PR every race distance that I run, I also want to balance my desire to push myself with knowing that this is a long training run for Chicago. Hopefully the weather will be in my favor Sunday morning during the race and I’ll feel comfortable with pushing myself. Depending on how I feel will depend on which goal I push myself to reach:
Goal A – Finish the race in under 2:22:55 (11:30 pace) – Given that I’ve been struggling recently with heat and humidity during all of my runs, especially my long runs, I’m not sure that it will be realistic to push myself much more than an 11:30 minute per mile pace on Sunday. This already will be a stretch for me given my recent long run paces.
Goal B – Finish the race in under 2:26:01 (11:45 pace) – My finish time when I ran this race in 2014 was 2:25:47 (11:44 pace), so reaching my B goal will likely also result in a PR.
Goal C – Finish the race in under 2:29:08 (12:00 pace) – If the weather isn’t on my side Sunday morning and/or my legs struggle to recover from the hills during the front half of the race then I need to accept that its okay for this to be a slower race for me.
I’m not going to lie, its hard to see these slower times and paces in the goals that I have set for myself. However, I would much rather be realistic and honest with myself than risk pushing myself too hard during the height of marathon training.
QOTD: When you set goals for yourself do you try to be realistic or do you try and shoot for the stars?