A good way to spice up your training and gain some confidence before a big race is to run a tune-up event, and Maritime Race Weekend is the perfect choice. Held in a small fishing village 10 minutes from Halifax with the start and finish line along the ocean, this year it is set for September 11 and 12. Thanks to the global pandemic, the 2020 fall racing schedule is jam-packed, and, if all goes as planned, many people will be looking for a tune-up race ahead of their October and November marathons.

Maritime Race Weekend

There are four races offered at Maritime Race Weekend: two 5Ks (the Sunset and Sunrise 5Ks on Friday night and Saturday morning), the Coastal 10K and the Scenic Half-Marathon. You can also enter the Tartan Twosome, which is a challenge to run the Sunset 5K and another race on Saturday of your choosing. The Tartan Twosome is capped and it’s always a sell-out, though, so if you think this sounds like fun, you should jump on it now before it’s too late.

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Tuning up for your A-race

Crushing a workout feels great, and being consistent in training is always a good sign ahead of a big event. But training and racing are two very different things, and adding a tune-up race to your training schedule is a great way to work out any kinks before the big day.

“There’s a lot of value of jumping into a race compared to just going to a practice,” says Lee McCarron, head coach of the Halifax Road Hammers. “People get nervous in races, so you can get some of those nerves rust-busted ahead of that race four weeks down the road.”

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McCarron says his athletes have used the Maritime Race Weekend events as tune-up races in the past “as a fitness test or one last hard effort to get in before that goal race.”

Fall racing schedule

If you have a fall marathon on your schedule, McCarron says the Maritime Race Weekend is the perfect opportunity to schedule a tune-up race. Because of the many spring race postponements, the fall race calendar is now filled with events, including three Abbott World Marathon Majors in the space of two months. While the fall calendar remains a little uncertain, as of now the Virgin Money London Marathon is scheduled for October 4, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is October 11 and the TCS New York City Marathon is November 1.

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London is only three weeks after the Maritime Race Weekend, but McCarron says that even for runners who don’t want to race a fast half-marathon that close to their goal marathon, one of the shorter races is still a great option for a tune-up.

“A 10K would be a good way to get in a solid effort but not destroy the body,” he says. As for Chicago, a runner could easily run a half-marathon in preparation for the full 42K a month later. If an athlete is running New York, the Scenic Half-Marathon is a great chance for them to go all-in to make sure they’re “mentally and physically ready to run hard.”

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Maybe you don’t have a goal race planned yet. There are still some great reasons to pick one of the Maritime Race Weekend events. Each of the races attracts hundreds of participants, the fields are competitive and the emphasis is on fun, with runners dressing up as pirates and cash prizes for the three best costumes. Maritime Race Weekend is a fun couple of days of racing, and it can also give you the final boost of confidence you need to tackle your A-race this fall.