Got a big race goal coming up? If so, you can use other races to train for it. What this means is that you can use a series of races as building blocks to the bigger event. Suppose you have set your goal to do well in the Run for the Water 10-Miler, which takes place on November 5, 2017 in downtown Austin.

Using races as building blocks to a bigger goal is a fun way to achieve race fitness.

Your weekly training continues as usual, but instead of your weekly Wednesday speed session, you chop that down to no more than four-six 400-meter repeats, and then race on Saturday.

  • In this case you might try the Catalyst Trail Run 5k/10K in Cedar Park at 3300 Brushy Creek Road on Saturday, September 30 at 8:00 a.m. This is a low-key event on a flat course, which gives you the chance to get in a hard effort and rehearse race strategy without a lot of pressure.
  • Or as an alternative, head south for the Race for the Stars 5K at Fuentes Elementary School (901 Goforth Road, Kyle) also on Saturday, September 30 at 8:00 a.m.
  • The Circle of Hope Community Center 5K in Pflugerville (Lake Pflugerville) on October 7 at 8:00 a.m. offers a “soft, flat unpaved course,” and would work quite well as a 5K time trial.
  • Don’t like getting up early on weekends? Try the Dark Sky 10K/5K on Saturday, October 14, 8:00 p.m., at Calaveras River Bike Path at Canyon of the Eagles Resort 16942 Ranch Road 2341 in Burnet.
  • On Saturday, October 21 at 9:00 a.m., jump into the Great Pumpkin Dash 5K at San Marcos Toyota (5101 IH 35 South in San Marcos.
  • Try the Run for the Hills 5K/10K Saturday, October 28 at 800 a.m. at the Hays Hills Baptist Church (1401 N FM 1626 in Buda. Caution: if your goal really is the Run for the Water 10 Miler, you’ll want to hold back somewhat on this one, as it’s only a week out from your goal race.

By building races into your training, you have the opportunity to see what works in training and what works in a race. It can serve as a way to see where your fitness is and determine how your training is going. You’ll be able to practice navigating through a crowd of runners, drinking aid stations, and timing your finishing kick.