Most top track middle-distance runners tend to reach their peak between their fourth and seventh race of the season, and track world records are more likely to be set in July than May. For them, the best way of training is to race the distance. But while that certainly seems the case for 800m and 1500m races, does it apply to longer events too?
For a marathon, the experience might help you in a later race, but the toll on the body means it would not be advisable to have raced the distance in your build-up. However, many runners have found that theyve run their best half-marathons either a week or two weeks after another.
Its worth noting, though, that racing a distance too much is likely to have the opposite effect: youll risk becoming stale and seeing your performances tailing off. With that in mind, heres how many races we recommend you do in the three months before tackling a PB:
- Mile: One 5K, two 800m and four 1500m or mile races. Ideally no more than 10 1500m/mile races in a year.
- 5K: One mile, one 10K, and three 5K or 5000m races. Ideally no more than seven 5Ks in a year.
- 10K: Two 5Ks, one 10-miler and two 10K races. Ideally no more than six 10Ks in a year.
- 10M: Two 10Ks, one 5K, one half-marathon and one 10-mile race. Ideally no more than five 10-milers in a year.
- Half-marathon: Two 10-milers, two 10Ks, one 5K, one off-road race and one half-marathon. Ideally no more than four half-marathons in a year.
- Marathon: One 10-miler, two 10Ks, one off-road race and two half-marathons. Ideally no more than two marathons in a year.