I know what you’re thinking…why in the world would anyone train through a Texas summer? To that I say: My favorite time of year to train is actually in the summer! I know it, sounds crazy, but hear me out.
I like the long days full of sunshine (no suiting up in 5 pounds of blinky reflectivity). My boys are home from school, so I’m sick a LOT less often. Even my laundry pile goes WAY down – since I certainly don’t need any layers! I‘ve even managed to convince myself that I’m getting fitter when I sweat.
Also, prepping for long runs is WAY easier. I don’t have to worry about how many layers to wear, or freezing solid after the run. I can take an ice bath without total dread. (Emphasis on “total”.) Even better, I can go for a swim at Barton Springs and totally count that as an ice bath!
Okay, yes, there are a few challenging things about summer training. For me, the hardest is that I have to slow down due to the heat. I KNOW my time trial pace is going to drop by 30-60 seconds, but I still worry those extra seconds on my watch are a sign of imminent decline. About halfway through summer, I typically fire my watch and just run. The first day we fall below 80 degrees in the fall, I remember the HUGE benefits of all that training in the heat. The temps go down, and suddenly, you can fly! This newer, faster you is BEGGING for a race in cooler temps to show off all these hard-earned gains. But what if you haven’t been thinking far enough ahead? New York has made their announcements on who got in, and Chicago’s lottery opens today! Yes, we all want to do those races someday but there are several other fantastic races that fit the bill of cool temps plus cool destination!
“I remember the HUGE benefits of all that training in the heat….suddenly, you can fly!”
To help you plan, we’ve compiled a list of several destination races for you to pick from this summer and fall. Of course we included the big ones, but we’ve also highlighted some smaller options you might not have considered. Fast courses, great scenery, even a unique challenge or two! Read on for the official list of “Rogues Rcommended Races” for Summer/Fall 2015!
Date – July 26, 2015
Location – San Francisco, California
“The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco”
Need a break from Texas heat in late July…when temps are already soaring over 100 degrees? NorCal fits the bill! With an average low of 53 and highs not even hitting 70, you are sure to run faster.
We all know San Francisco is hilly , and those hills can be a bitch if you are not prepared!! (Get thee to Mount Bonnell!) . Or there’s one other secret: Run the Half Marathon ( the 2nd Half, that is.). This option has a net downhill of ~300 feet over the last half of the race!
The Course: With over 25,000 runners and 5 races to choose from, there is something for everyone! The marathon starts at 5:30 AM and takes you on a loop course with big rollers (think Stratford & Mt. Bonnell) around all the historic parts of the city, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Mission Bay, and Presidio. The 1st Half also starts at 5:30 AM, but if you prefer to sleep in on vacation, the 2nd Half kicks off around 8 AM.
Not enough for you? There is also an Ultra-Marathon (52.4 miles) that starts Saturday at midnight(!), and a 5K, the one truly flat & fast course available.
Check out the elevation profiles:
Date – August 23, 2015
Location – Dallas, Texas
Are you the type of person who likes the sound of the term “Suffer fest?” Well shoot, you barely even have to travel for that. Up the road for a few hours in Dallas, you can enjoy what would be a fast and flat course…except it’s f’n HOT!!! (As long as there is cold beer at the finish, right?!)
The Course: The Hottest Half starts and finishes at Community Beer Company Brewery in Dallas and runs around the Trinity Trails. Start time: 7:30 AM. All runners receive 2 medals (one to wear and one to show)!
Date – October 4, 2015
Location – Portland, OR
*Note: Registration is filling up!
Portland, Austin’s sister city! Quite possiby the only place with even more craft beer and hipsters than we have! A perfect race destination! (Just don’t forget your ).
This race has rolling hills on a mostly loop course with nice cool weather! The scenery may be beautiful, but the swag and entertainment are top notch! With over 74 groups (music, cheerleaders, street performers, etc.) at 53 locations, you are sure to stay motivated throughout the race!
The Course: The first five miles traverse downtown Portland, leading to a nice flat stretch heading northwest through mile 12. The hill at mile 16 is TOUGH, but you’re rewarded with a gradual downhill to the flat border road of the Forest Park area. Miles 22 – 24 feature an elevation loss of about 140 feet, minus a slight rise over the Broadway Bridge. After that though, it’s back down to Marathon Avenue and onto Naito Parkway to finish along the water!
Date – October 5, 2014
Location – Minneapolis/St Paul, MN
Our promoted race last year, the Twin Cities Marathon is a hidden gem. The Minneapolis/St Paul area is stunningly beautiful; the Midwest fall weather is typically ideal for marathon racing, and the support & logistics are very well handled. The point-to-point course is mostly flat with a few gentle rolling hills, and it’s very scenic! You won’t quite hit all the 10,000 lakes Minnesota is famous for, but you might lose count of how amny you do see. Crowd support is reportedly awesome for this event.
The Course: This course is very “BQ friendly”, boasting a net downhill through 20 miles, 3 miles of gradual climbing & a 3 mile drop to the finish line. (Our own Allison Macsas not only PR’d here last year, but qualified for her 2nd Olympic Trials!) We cannot recommend this race more highly.
Date – October 11, 2015
Location – Chicago, IL
Lottery/Registration Opened Tuesday March 10, 2015 at 12 PM
The second largest marathon in the world, Chicago is where PRs are made! The winding, city-bound course is fast, fast, fast. The logistics, crowd support, course design, & epic field size make this race a MUST RUN on any marathoner’s bucket list. Of course, you’ve got to get in through a lottery, which always has its challenges. The weather is occasionally iffy – you could freeze or fry on an off year – but, on average, the weather is great in early October in Chicago!Worried about that famous wind? Don’t worry, if you typically run 3 hours or more for the marathon, trust us, their WILL be fellow runners to block the worst of it!
The Course: Your GPS watch will lose signal when you’re underground for about the first quarter of mile one. Breathe deep. You can always reset. After that, you get a running tour of 29 unique Chicago neighborhoods! From the skyscrapers in the Loop to vibrancy of Boystown to the all-out party in Chinatown, you will never feel alone on this course! (And the one and only hill is the infmaous climb up Roosevelt at mile 26.) If you are looking for a fast, well-supported, BIG race experience, Chicago is the best option in America!
Location – South Lake Tahoe, CA
The Lake Tahoe Marathon is one of the most unique events in the country, and has been a Rogue staple for multiple years. In fact, Rogue co-owner & Coach Carolyn Mangold can’t get enough of the fun; she has led a Rogue group to the race for the last FIVE years.
From Carolyn “Lake Tahoe is unique in that this race weekend has something for everyone, from the 10k to the marathon, from a single day race to triples. Last year (2014), 10 Rogues committed to the triple challenge, some returning from last year, others new to the event. The hilly course around the lake keeps the PR time-goal pressure off and allows the runner to enjoy the beautiful scenery. If you go in for multiple days, each day’s course starts and finishes at a different point around the lake. Try the triple half or triple full for to set a new goal and accomplishment for yourself!”
Date – October 18, 2015
Location – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
So we all read Jeff’s blog, right? The Toronto Waterfront Marathon course is flat and fast, and the typical race day weather is close to ideal for marathon running. The race presents very good opportunities for PRs and BQs. This is why Rogue has picked this race as our BIG destination race for Fall Marathon training! We plan on taking several Rogues here this fall to PR!
Air Canada will be (re)opening non-stop flights from Austin to Toronto starting in mid-May, or you can take the scenic route – fly into Buffalo and drive across at Niagara Falls! Toronto itself offers both big-city feel and famously friendly Canadians, making for one destination you can talk the whole family into. (Passports required!!!)
The course: The race itself is about the size of Austin Marathon, with great scenery for the first half and great crowd support for the second. (Someone should tell San Antonio that this is the preferred order!) Note that there are some out-and-back sections with hairpin turns, but you’ll get to see your Rogue teammates which will keep you smilin’! J
Date – October 24, 2015
Location – Cedar Park, TX
This race is capped at 150 runners! Early registration is encouraged! Register Here!
So you really really don’t want to travel? This local race is a 3 loop course on mostly sidewalk located along the Brushy Creek trail. It’s a Boston Qualifier, and though it is usually warm, it’s a truly nice, truly local race. (Our own Run Like a Mother Coach, Mae Coffman, won this bad boy in 2013!)
The Course: Talk about easy to train for! This one is right in our own backyard. Frankenthon is flat and spectator friendly – you’re going to pass them multiple times, after all! The swag is also pretty cool: socks, long-sleeve tech shirts, and medals, all with a Halloween theme. Pumpkin Jamba Juice is served, and there are plenty of snacks/drinks along the course.
The overall winners (male/female/masters) receive a free pair of Brooks shoes as well as a $100 gift certificate to Rogue Running – something we can all find a use for! Even the last place finishers will also receive special prizes.
Date – October 25, 2015
Location – Washington, DC
Lottery opens Friday March 13th at 12 PM for the 40th Anniversary! The 6th largest marathon, with a cap of 30,000 runners, this unique race experience is an opportunity to support the military. Most runners are not overly concerned with their race time – the true challenge is holding yourself together in the midst of thousands of military heroes and their loved ones!
The Course: The course through our nation’s capital is beautiful but narrow, so prepare youself for some bottle necks and congestion. Of course this is DC, so some years the weather is perfect, others it is hot and humid. This race is best for those who are looking for a unique race experience and not necessarily a fast time. Start time is 7:55 AM.
Date – November 1, 2015
Location – New York, NY
Congratulations! If you’re still reading this, if you’ve made it to the biggest of them all: the New York City Marathon!! This is the largest marathon in the United States with over 50,500 finishers in the 2014! The route touches all five boroughs of New York City: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan.
The course: Yes, you’ll have to trek out to Staten Island, but from there you’ll tour dozens of culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, cross five bridges, and finishe in world-famous Central Park! (Which all means a lot of hills, by the way.) With the crowds (2 million people up to 10 rows deep!) and serious elevation changes, this is not your traditional PR course, But every marathoner has to do New York before they retire, right??? PS – We happen to know that many Rogues have had stellar PRs here by committing to their training and race plans!
If you’re ready for the San Francisco Half, Hottest Half or any other summer-time half marathon, join our Summer Half Marathon Training Groups today!
If you’re ready for the Toronto, Portland, Twin Cities or any other fall marathon, join our Fall Marathon Training Group today!
Jen Harney is our Cedar Park Training Manager, a mom of two boys and pretty good runner. Stay on the lookout for her training programs over the next few months as she starts some adult programs. But, for now, if you want to train with Jen, you have to be pretty “new to running”.