Keep a training log to nurture self-belief and prepare for race day
“Even if progress seems slow, it’ll give you a big boost to look back on training stats and see seconds shaved off,” says personal trainer Scott Marsh (xceleratefitness.co.uk). Analysing information can also reveal clear patterns in your running and racing. Think about the following:
Highs and lows If you run purely for fun or fitness, it’s fine if you’re hitting the same mileage every week. But if you want to race, step up to a schedule with a buildup and recovery period. Full and half marathoners build over 10-20 weeks; 5K-ers may do their highest mileage during base-building. All runners should dial down two to six weeks before key events. Your average mileageYou may find that increased mileage actually hurts your performance, as the law of diminishing returns kicks in. If that’s you, avoid overtraining by adding new runs rather than repeatedly tacking distance on to your long run. It’s fine to double up with shorter sessions in both the morning and the afternoon. Injury preventionEight to 10 weeks before a race, look at your training intensity and volume. “Runners often ramp up their mileage too quickly or don’t allow enough recovery time after hard workouts,” says sports physician Dr John Martinez. Avoid getting injured with a step-back week every three to six weeks, cutting mileage by 10-20 per cent.Race performanceExamine your key workouts in the six weeks prior to race day. “You may find runs are scheduled too close together, or you’re not doing enough,” says coach Greg McMillan. Sleep, stress and nutrition also affect success.
You can also buy a Runner's World Training Diary packed with motivation and training tips, or log your training online with our sister site Fetcheveryone.com.
Picture credit: Chase Jarvis/ Getty Images
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