Should You Plan for a B-Race? - Live Slow Run Far

Should You Plan for a B-Race – Benefits, Drawbacks and Effective Strategies for Runners

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Elite marathoners often focus on one big A-race each year, tailoring their training specifically for that event. Other athletes plan an entire season of racing, including multiple A, B, and C races. So, what’s the best approach for you? In this blog post, we delve into the world of B-races, discussing their benefits, drawbacks, and how to effectively use them to your advantage.

First off, what is a B-race? 

A B-race is essentially a secondary event that isn’t your top priority, is usually shorter in distance, and serves as a tune-up for your primary goal. 

Benefits of Incorporating a B-Race

  1. Practice for Your Main Race: A B-race allows you to experiment with pacing, fueling, and hydration strategies without risking your main goal race.
  1. Builds Confidence: Successfully completing a B-race boosts confidence in your fitness level and abilities.
  1. Keeps Your Training on Track: Having a B-race on the calendar helps maintain focus and motivation during training.
  1. Serves as a Fantastic Training Session: B-races provide a unique training effect that can significantly improve your fitness.

Negatives of Incorporating a B-Race

  1. Risk of Injury: Adding a B-race to your training plan can increase your risk of injury due to additional stress on your body.
  1. Risk of Overtraining: Incorporating a B-race can increase the risk of overtraining, especially without adequate recovery time between races.
  1. Discouragement: A disappointing B-race could negatively affect your mindset leading up to your A-race.
  1. Miss Out on Training: B-races require recovery time, which may lead to 1-3 weeks of reduced training volumes.

So how do we get the most out of a B-race?

  1. Distance: Select a B-race that is shorter and complements your goal race’s distance; aiming for about half to two-thirds of the total distance is a good rule of thumb. For example, if you’re training for a marathon, a half-marathon B-race might be an ideal choice. If you’re training for a 100k, a 50k would be great.
  2. Terrain: Choose a B-race with a similar terrain to your goal race to help you prepare for the specific challenges you’ll face on race day.
  3. Timing: Schedule your B-race far enough away from your goal race to allow for adequate recovery and training adjustments.

Ultimately, incorporating a B-race into your training plan can be highly beneficial. If things don’t go as planned in a B-race, it’s not the end of the world; instead, it becomes a valuable learning experience that can guide your future training. On the other hand, if your B-race goes well, it can be a fantastic confidence booster that propels you into your A-race.

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