EP 657: From Start to Finish: Laying out Your Running Calendar

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Scott & Don

In this episode, we talk about the strategic aspects of building a race calendar, emphasizing the importance of setting clear goals and having backup plans. Coaches Ian Sharman and Stefanie Flippin join us to help us understand some ways to approach building a race calendar.  The conversation goes beyond just focusing on popular races or qualifiers, highlighting the enjoyment of trail running as a sport and the enriching experience it offers beyond mere competition. Special attention is given to alternative ways of experiencing races, like pacing or participating in training camps. The episode also explores the attraction to the iconic 100-mile race belt buckle and discusses the transition from ultra-distances to marathons. Concluding with thoughts on the longevity of a running career, the speakers share their perspectives on how runners can continue to improve with age. They stress the need for balance in life, considering factors like work, family, and hobbies, and the importance of taking a long-term view when setting running goals. The episode underscores the significance of flexibility in race planning, intentional rest, and the surprising benefits that can emerge from taking time off, both for preventing injuries and enhancing overall performance.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Goal Setting: The importance of having clear goals and backup plans when planning your race year.
  2. Race Selection: Looking beyond popular lotteries and qualifiers to choose races that offer personal enjoyment and significance.
  3. Beyond Competition: Finding joy in trail running outside the competitive arena, including alternative experiences like pacing or training camps.
  4. Personal Enjoyment in Racing: Choosing races based on what brings personal satisfaction rather than solely for achieving specific goals.
  5. Longevity in Running: Understanding the potential for improvement with age and prioritizing well-being.
  6. Balancing Life and Running: Maintaining a healthy balance with work, family, and other interests while pursuing running goals.
  7. Long-term Perspective: Adopting a broader view when setting goals and planning for the future.
  8. Flexibility in Planning: Being adaptable in race planning to accommodate changing circumstances.
  9. The Role of Rest: Emphasizing the importance of intentional rest and recovery to prevent injury and sustain performance.
  10. Surprising Benefits of Time Off: Recognizing how taking breaks can lead to improved outcomes and performances.

Check Stefanie’s article we referenced in Trail Runner Magazine, “Building a Race Calendar for the Year Ahead”

Find out more about Stafanie and her coaching at and her podcast, “Making Strides”

Find out more about Ian and his other coaches at

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Episode 657