Aching To Race

As of press time, I’m a few days away from starting my third trimester with my third child, and I just signed up for a fall half marathon—and not just to take advantage of the early-bird pricing. I am itching to race again—not for time, not to place. I need a goal to work toward once this little one arrives in April.

Racing is not every runner’s goal, but for me—and likely many of you—it can serve as motivation to lace up my shoes and get out the door consistently. And when race day comes, the only minute I regret signing up is when my alarm goes off at super-early o’clock. Otherwise, I soak up the crowds, the start-line music, the self-styled cheerleaders, the handwritten signs and the scenery—and, of course, that post-race libation.

Because of that, I love putting together our annual racing issue, this time with the divine Jenny Simpson gracing our cover. The three-time Olympian and track star has been racing professionally for well over a decade, and at 32, she isn’t slowing down—literally or figuratively. Starting on page 48, writer Sarah Wassner Flynn expertly captures Simpson’s passion and commitment to the sport, as well as her tricks to staying motivated—nuggets of which we can all apply to our own training.   

If you’re inspired by Simpson’s story and looking to set a racing goal, you might want to turn to page 56 to check out “Major League,” a guide to the six Abbott World Marathon Majors around the globe. Writer Daphne Matalene breaks down the history, prestige and courses of the world’s most famous marathons—and lays out exactly how you can race in each one. Within that, you’ll find more about the biggest race of the year—the Boston Marathon—and the American women to watch on Patriot’s Day.

And if you’re itching to update your run shoes for spring racing and training, dive into our annual spring shoe review (page 29), and don’t miss our Fuel Up Awards (page 39), for which a team of testers downed a crazy number of energy gels, protein powders and energy bars just to find the 15 best sports nutrition products to come out in the last year (you’re welcome!). This issue also features safety tips, advice for fine-tuning your electrolyte needs and more to help you reach your potential on race day.

Happy racing!