I have a feeling after those AOR posts that I may get a few more people who are interested in running than usual. This post will also be my last running related post until I segway into my normal writing. With the Broad St Run coming up, I want to share my feelings on peaking for a big race. This will apply to people who maintain 9 to 5’s and are out of the education schedule. We all know that after you get out of school, responsibilities increase and training time decreases.
It’s extremely difficult and not very practical to be in RACE shape 99% of the time due to the time and dedication. My suggestion is to never let yourself get out of shape. During times when you aren’t training for a race, run 3-4 times a week to stay toned. When you sign up for a big race, I’d give yourself about 6-8 weeks to make that effort to peak. Before any training begins, ESTABLISH A GOAL TIME! If your goal is to finish that’s one thing, but having a mark to hit helps you in how to train to hit that time. My goals are always better than my personal best. If I know I’m not going to be near my best, I usually don’t enter races because my motivation isn’t to finish, it’s to improve. Now back to how to train.
Let’s use the ten mile Broad St as an example. 2 months before the race I’ll start with 5 mile runs at as close to race pace as I can get. My philosophy is to train at race pace at lower miles and continue to work up to where I want to be. This doesn’t mean killing yourself but it means pushing yourself at these lower distances. I also throw in longer, slower pace runs to increase miles as well. It’s important to mix it up so you don’t get stale. As time passes, you want to keep moving closer to the 10 mile mark in your training runs. I don’t think it’s smart to run 6 or 7 days a week, more like 3-4 and 5 at the most. Your body needs to heal because getting hurt is pretty much the absolute worse thing you can do. In my life I’ve been hurt one time due to training so I’ve learned how to avoid injury. If it hurts, don’t press it. You aren’t setting world records.
Within 2 weeks of the race I want to be as close to 10 miles as I can be and as close to pace as I can get in order to achieve my goals. My real life example is to break 59:45 this year. I have one week to the race and my run today went like this: 2 mile warm up, 4 miles at 6:10 pace, break, 10 miles on the Art Museum steps, 2 mile cool down. I didn’t kill myself but I wanted to make sure I could hit pace for an extended period of time. A race will always be faster than practice because the adrenaline makes it happen. No alcohol this weekend and a good night’s sleep before the race. I’ll put in an easy run tomorrow, a long hard run on Thursday, an easy run on Friday, and nothing on Saturday. This will have me prepped for Sunday. Once this race is over I won’t let myself get out of shape but I’ll tone everything down until I sign up for another race. That is my wisdom and philosophy on racing. Giving yourself plenty of time to prepare is essential to setting and achieving goals.