Heating up for Spring race season: RunTheATL, Hot Chocolate, & More…Oh my!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate Atlanta and I’m promoting the Palm Desert Half Marathon & 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

My goal/strategy for this spring training and racing season is to focus more on my base fitness and less on hitting specific training marks. In short, I plan to have more fun and improve my overall fitness, rather than be hyper focused on specific training plans and goals. Some of this is by design; when I train simply based on how I feel, I have always performed better without meaning to. Every time I train my damn little heart out and try to hit a specific PR goal, even when I go into the race well-prepared, it never really works out. So…have more fun, eat well, train when I feel like it, and then do stupid shit and see what happens. Check! Inspired by the words of a good friend, I’m gonna train and race like I want to see a fucking reindeer! I guess you needed to be there…

This past weekend I had a long training run (supposedly 18 miles on the schedule) built around a 5k race, the Atlanta Track Club Hearts and Soles 5k. This is always a fun, fast course, and we always have training around the race, i.e. we have 18 + miles to run before/after a 5k. Not well timed but it’s a great way to push a hard tempo effort into the middle of a long run, so it actually works well. Every freaking year I tell myself I’m just going to go easy and NOT RACE. Every year I run 5ish miles before the race and then remind myself, again, DO NOT run the 5k as a RACE. And every freaking year I hit the first mile of the 5k like I’m running away from some nightmare, i.e. Donald Trump in diapers, and I have the painful realization that even though my brain told me NOT to race, my heart had different plans and, dammit, we’re racing. Remember how I said above that I always seem to perform better when I don’t mean to? Yeah, well 10lbs overweight from Christmas and shitty training got me another 30 second 5k PR last weekend. WEEEEEE! It’s always exciting but equally frustrating to think what I could do if my training and nutrition locked into place in perfect harmony and I actually raced well in the races I trained for…or something like that. As frustrating as that all is, it also gives me energy to think of myself as a better athlete than I often give myself credit for, and I keep thinking there’s definitely more I can do. #NeverSatisfied #CantStopWontStop


The idea of having more fun with my fitness has really invigorated my excitement for some upcoming events and races further afield this spring. This Sunday is RunTheATL #WinterEdition, an annual adventure run of sorts and decidedly unofficial race. It may or may not be legal; just don’t ask too many questions and definitely don’t tell anyone in uniform that it’s a Matt B. Davis race. 😉 Each year I get a few more roadies to join the insanity so I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with some more “virgins” this year.

If you’re already out west and/or willing and able to travel to warmer weather, the Palm Desert Half Marathon, 5k, & kids race is this Sunday, February 10 in the Coachella Valley, CA. I’ve loved checking out the race photos on social media leading up to this race and I’ve definitely had race envy. Just having another reason to visit Coachella rather than a music festival I’m pretty sure I’ve aged out of already is enough to get this beautiful race on my feature, post-PhD/more $ in the bank race-cation list. There’s still time to register if you’re up for a last-minute jaunt through the desert. Use code BRPD19 for 10% off.

In less than 2 weeks is the sweetest race, of course, Hot Chocolate 15k Atlanta! I first did Hot Chocolate in 2016 and it’s one of those races I ended up enjoying much more than I expected. I luckily didn’t race last year when Atlanta experienced the freezing rain monsoon on race day, so I’m hopeful this year we’ll have great weather and an awesome post-race party with the start/finish area moved back to Centennial Park. I’m most excited this time around since I can actually run or ride my bike to the start since I now live so close to downtown. City dweller for life! I did set my goal time on Athlinks to a PR of 1:35. After the last couple weeks of “training” for fun, I’m feeling positive about that goal but plan to keep my heart in the “have fun” game more than my brain, since that seems to be the most effective strategy for me. It’s a race with hot chocolate after all; there may not be reindeer (who knows??) but I definitely won’t miss opportunities to stop and enjoy extra treats along the course. I think there’s no better race to further test the run for fun race strategy. You can still join the fun too! Registration is still open. Use code BRHCAtlanta for some extra free swag! Let me know if you’ll be there and maybe we can utilize the “reindeer” race strategy together!

I’m so ready for my new Hot Chocolate swag!


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