Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Training Dilemma

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, April 07, 2011 with 1 comment
(a) We know that if we rest up for a week or two before a big race, making our long runs a bit shorter, making our fast runs a bit slower, or adding more rest days after long and hard efforts, and do a little more gentle exercising, stretching, and recreating, we can expect an improved race performance.

But (b) we know that if we "train through" week after week, in the long term we can expect to reap the benefits of much improved fitness levels.

And (c) the more we race, the more we are motivated to keep training. Racing frequently can motivate us to be disciplined and train all the more consistently.

So (d) to improve steadily in any given year we need to strike the right balance, and
(1) select only two or three important races during the year for which we will ease off completely, taper, peak.
(2) Still race frequently, but determine that only for the two or three important races will we step back training.

What is hard about this?
(a) It is tempting to rest up before every race, not just the important ones.
But on the other hand (b) it is tempting to keep quality training going when we should be tapering.

Two common stories.
(1) The Olympic representative who ran a hard long interval training session a couple of days before his Olympic final because.... psychologically he felt he needed to keep training and testing himself. And yes, he was "a bit flat" when he raced, not achieving what was expected of him.
Or (2) The Olympic representative who was bedridden with the flu a week before his big race, and bounced back to win gold and an Olympic record.
Both stories are true.

What made runner #1 feel bad about resting up? Do you feel bad about resting up when training is going well?

In the case of runner #2, how much better might he have done if he hadn't had the flu and had still rested?

Can you train through most of your races, and also rest up properly for the occasional big one?

How addicted are you to your weekly routine, or can you adapt to what is needed at the time?

Maybe the ideal situation is that you just keep training through all the time, racing and all, until one day, only two or three times a year I suggest, you feel that the training is going so well that you should ease off for a couple of weeks DESPITE how well you are feeling, and see what you can really achieve in a race.

Confession of a runner who suffers from "taper tantrums":

Candid Canberra #70: fountainbow

Tim Calver's progress
After day four of the Marathon des Sables: Tim has remained 143rd. He is still the third Australian, but is ten minutes closer to the leading Australian, moving from 44 minutes to 34 minutes behind him. Tim’s run time totals 15:39.11. See All-rounder's blog for blow by blow details of the race and of the course. And be amazed.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed - an interesting dilemma. Bron has been racing well week after week. CJ trained through the half and missed the main event due to injury. Just two random examples.