Plan like Chili

Susan Donnelly running the Moab 240 mile race

The weather’s getting cold. Time for planning next year’s race schedule…and chili.

Which is great, because the two have a lot in common. 

For instance, you make them the same way.

There’s no “right” recipe - you get to combine ingredients to suit your own taste.

You don’t have to put green peppers in your chili if you don’t want to, and you don’t have to run Western States 100 if it doesn’t call to you. 

You can do a lot of races or only a few, travel to races or stick close to home, or do more adventure runs than races, Your choice.

The combination is more than the ingredients. 

When all’s said and done, the year’s total of races is more than the sum of some individual ingredients - it’s a body of work. Combinations within the year can total the same way.

Like my “Fall Challenge” this year. Cramming in a big race - even something as big as Moab 240 after a summer off to injury - didn’t feel spicy enough. It’s big, but I’d run it before.

So I added Javelina 100 a week and a half after that, and the New York City Marathon the week after that.

Finishing those three races, with the work and travel between, was a delicious challenge. Each race was totally different and the odd combination satisfied my craving for something big.

You can get as creative and daring as you want.

You can enter a big, tough race. Try a new distance. Tackle a new adventure like the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim. Or schedule a challenge that you might fail at...but might succeed at too.

Last fall, I decided to run Moab 240 and then drive 1400 miles to run Wild Duluth 100k in Minnesota three days later.

It was audacious but I wanted to do them both, and why not? If rain hadn’t mudded the trail at Wild Duluth, I'd have finished instead of getting pulled nine easy miles from the end. Nine miles!  It was darn fun to try and I’m still proud of the effort.

The point in all this is that race schedules, like chili preferences, are personal and that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s great to get ideas from other runners but you don’t have to use anyone else’s recipe.

You’re the one doing the running.

Your race schedule is your personal recipe - make it to your own taste.

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