The major goal of the intraining running training system is to have our runners run their best potential performance in their most important race. While this seems like an obvious goal it is often an elusive result for many runners. The reason why most runners struggle to accomplish this feat is they make small training errors, especially in the final weeks.
The importance of periodised training
Our training program is based on a periodised approach where you have a different training focus at different times of the year. Quantity, intensity, frequency and recovery are modified to create a base phase, specific phase and competitive phase of training. In the last few weeks, there is a focus on sharpening and peaking that is achieved by increasing intensity and recovery while reducing quantity and frequency.
Two common training mistakes
The most frequent mistakes people make are building up quantity too quickly. This often results in injuries like stress fractures after about 2 months. The other mistake is attempting too high an intensity early in the season. While you may be able to train fast early in the year there is then no possibility of having progression through the season. That is why we do current pace targets early in the season and goal paces later in the season. It is also why we run our long runs easy early in the year but do the last few kilometres at our goal race pace when winter arrives.
This training strategy may result in sub-optimal performances in lead up races as you train through many of them. What is important is to maintain your training consistency and stay positive that performances will come when you need them. If you have faith in your training plan then you can run better than expected in your major goal race.
Mike’s major milestone
One good example of successfully achieving this goal is from intraining club member Mike Dickson. Mike has been very consistent with his training hardly missing a session since February. What he has struggled with was not being able to meet his race targets in the lead-up races. This was aggravated by some hot humid weather that seemed to affect him more than most.
His half marathon PB was 1:57 and the aim for the year was to get down towards 1:50.
His first major goal race of the year was Sunday’s Brisbane Half Marathon.
Together, we created a race plan to run 1:53:34. This would be a really challenging goal considering his lead up races. However, I felt his training consistency with the periodised training approach would come through for him and that is what happened on the day.
Mike nailed it.
His final nett time was 1:53:27 to beat his target time and achieve a personal best of 4 minutes.
My Two big tips to run your next major race with confidence
Tip 1. Stay focused on your ultimate goal
While recovery weeks and frequent racing is an important part of the training cycle you must stay focused on your ultimate goal of running your best at your major goal races. That can mean sacrificing a faster run in your less important lead-up races.
Tip 2. Use a race plan
Training gives you strength and endurance. Race plans give you an educated strategy. They take the guesswork out of how you run on the day and give you even greater confidence to run to your potential.
I enjoy talking through race plans with my runners and will usually do this in the last two weeks from their goal races.
Good luck this season with your races. Be “Like Mike”, stay confident in your training and you too can run to your potential in your most important races.
Steve Manning – intraining Coaching Director ( L4, AT&FCA)
Steve has been coaching recreational and elite athletes since he was 18 years of age. Helping runners of all abilities to achieve their potential is one of his greatest joys.
Need a training plan, or a race plan?
You can book in to see Steve for customised TRAINING PLANS. He will make the program suit your busy life and fit in with all your other exercise sessions.
He writes programs for all runners, recreational runners, elite athletes and beginner runners.