Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can stick to a training regimen — and perhaps more importantly, now that I’ve convinced my wife and dad that I can stick to one — I figure it’s time to pick a race.
When we started, I mentioned my goal was to run a 5-kilometer fun run at the end of the summer, but I didn’t have any specific one in mind and just assumed there would be hundreds to choose from.
I was almost right.
After a quick Internet search — runningintheusa.com seems pretty helpful — I’ve narrowed my options to about a half dozen, depending on if I want to race in early-to-late August or into September:
The Midvale Harvest Days 5k — This was the race I often took part in growing up, and the route runs right past the house I lived in during high school. It’s scheduled for Aug. 8.
First Dam Pancake Run — I went to college in Logan, so I can kind of imagine where this one might go. And who doesn’t like pancakes? It’s scheduled for Aug. 13.
Midnight Moon Run 5k — Running at night in Sandy? Sounds vaguely interesting. It would definitely be a lot cooler than running during the day. And no one would be able to see me at the back of the pack, either. It’s scheduled for Aug. 19.
The Color Run — I just had flashbacks to my social media wall three years ago when the majority of my friends took part in this. It’s scheduled for Aug. 20 in Salt Lake.
Man vs. Mud — Again with the social media flashbacks. I’m not convinced my wife would like to get all muddy after this Wellsville, Utah, race. It’s scheduled for Aug. 29.
Escape Gardner Village — This is also pretty close to my old stomping grounds. What do they mean by ‘escape’? It’s scheduled for Sept. 3.
Kickin Cancers Can — Finally, I’ve found a listing for a race in Tooele County. Looks like last year’s results have lots of entries around the 30-minute mark, so this might fit perfectly for what I’m looking for. Ooh, and there’s a bake sale? This one is scheduled for Sept. 25.
Here’s this week’s workout:
Here we are, back at it because I promised it’ll get easier from here on out. We’ll start out a little harder today, so be sure to warm up with dynamic stretches. It’s OK to walk every now and then today — just try to limit how often and for how long. Keep a mental tally for later of how many times you stopped. Pick a spot on the map 1 1/2 miles away and uphill from where you want to start. The uphill portion of today’s run is the workout, and the downhill portion is the reward. Take a breather at the top. Stretch at the bottom.
Another road run today, but choose a new spot 3/4 miles away. Don’t walk until you get to the halfway point, even if you have to jog really slowly. Be sure to warm up and stretch.
Hooray for a one-mile run on easy day! The only catch is that you can’t walk at all today, even when you’ve hit the halfway point a half-mile away. You can do it. It’s time to be tough.
Remember that stupid uphill run we started the week with? We’re going to do that run again, but this time we’re going to stop fewer times on the uphill than we did on Day 15, and we’re not going to stop on the way down. Don’t worry, we’ve got an easy day tomorrow. Take your time stretching after the workout, because you’ll have earned it.
Today is another easy day. Be sure to warm up really well and do extra dynamic stretches after yesterday’s stupid run. Repeat Day 17’s workout, but this time run a stone’s throw past the midway point. Try not to walk, but it’s not critical to today’s workout if you need a breather. Stretch well afterward.
Bad news, we’re doing that hard uphill workout from Monday and Thursday again, so be sure to take your time warming up. See if you can beat the number of times you needed to stop and walk on Thursday. If you’re feeling good on the way back down, jog around the block once or twice and enjoy the rest of your Saturday.
Don’t worry about going for a run and getting all sweaty because you’ll have earned a rest day after sticking to the program for three weeks. Check out some of the so-called fun runs scheduled for the end of the summer and start of autumn to see if there are any that spark your interest.
Tavin Stucki is the head coach of the Copperview Rec Center youth track and field team in Midvale, Utah. Share success stories with him by email at email@example.com.