RACEDAY: SATURDAY VS. SUNDAY
Life is full of choices:
- Coke or Pepsi
- Paper or plastic
- The Beatles or The Rolling Stones
- Star Wars or Star Trek
- Window or aisle seat
- Steamed rice or fried rice
- Ginger or Mary Ann
Often there is no clear cut choice, rather just the subjectivity of personal preference.
When it comes to racing, we have a plethora of choices at our disposal: Regular shoes or minimalist, iPod or sans music, walk breaks or not, half or full marathon, etc…
And as I ran the REVEL Big Cottonwood Race last Saturday, I thought about another preference we get to consider…
Saturday races vs. Sunday races.
In years past, Sunday seemed to be the default day for races to be scheduled, with far fewer races slated for Saturday or Monday.
A quick aside: My very first full marathon ever, Los Angeles 2009, was an interesting case where the race had to be run on Memorial Day (Monday), different than its typically Sunday slot in years past. Why?
Partly because some local LA churches complained that their congregation couldn’t make it to church on marathon Sunday (seriously). Fortunately, it was a one time snafu that was thankfully corrected. You can read more about it here.
Back to Saturday and Sunday races.
As more and more half and full marathons have been added to the calendar (only 52 weeks in a year after all), the number of Saturday races has increased steadily to the point where runners typically have a choice between running races on either Sat. or Sun.
Or in some cases, just be hardcore (or some would consider crazy) and run races on consecutive days.
There are a several reasons why race directors might pick one day of the week over another to schedule a race, but are there any advantages/disadvantages to runners?
I do my long training runs on Saturday morning (although the majority of my races tend to fall on Sunday). Of course I also know plenty of people (and training groups) who choose Sunday as their day of choice when it comes to long runs.
The one way I think the day of the week might matter is when it comes to preparation/travel.
For those who work the Monday-Friday grind, Saturday races can pose a bit of a challenge.
If the race is out of town, you’ve typically got to take Friday off of work for travel in order to get to the race location and hit the expo. Even if the race is local, you’ll probably have to duck out of work early in order to get to the race expo for your bib/shirt/swag (unless you enlist a friend to grab your stuff for you).
Also, if you’re in the midst of a crazy work schedule you might not have the luxury of getting a good night’s sleep on that Thursday night (two nights before a race is considered by many to be the night you should get some extra shuteye). In addition, if you’ve got a full plate at work you may end up working late Friday night and not be able to properly relax/unwind.
Sunday races allow the 9-5’er (not that there seem to be many out there these days… more like 8-7’ers) to get some sleep on Saturday morning, or hopefully not stress out about getting to the expo and being able to relax.
So, what are the advantages (if any) about running on Saturday, as opposed to Sunday?
Well, since we tend to be good boys and girls on the days leading up to a race, a Sunday marathon pretty much means you won’t be partying it up (more than normal anyway) on Friday night or Saturday night. And if we’re traveling for a race, we might have to rush right after the race to catch a flight or drive home.
With a Saturday race you can head out that night (if you can still stand, that is) and party it up, eating that big ‘ole dessert without feeling guilty in the least. Perhaps you can even use your race medal and war story to score a free drink or gain some “cred” points with any non-runners you come across.
Not to mention that you can sleep in on Sunday and perhaps even check out the sights before you head on home if you picked a destination race.
For me, it’s kind of six of one, half dozen of the other. I enjoy both Saturday races and Sunday races, just for different reasons.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go have a Diet Coke. Or maybe a Diet Pepsi.
Oh, and it’s always Mary Ann… coconut cream pies, anyone?
What about you? Do you prefer Saturday or Sunday races? And why?
Let me hear your thoughts… and Run on!