Mail! I get lots of email and questions from runners about why they’re not seeing the race improvement they’d expected from their training. Here are the most common issues I see (besides nutrition and course conditions) that lead to a disappointing race:
1. You do all of your training runs too fast. The first order of business in distance running is establishing a solid aerobic base. When you run at a conversational pace, you’re training your slow-twitch muscle fibers and building blood volume, which carries oxygen to your muscles. A well-conditioned aerobic system will keep you consistently strong and powerful for an extended period of time. When you run too fast all the time, you’re running anaerobically and putting excess stress on your body, which leads to bonking, burnout and injury. Here’s some great info. about aerobic base training.
2. You routinely cut runs short or miss them entirely. Doing all or as many of the workouts on your plan as possible not only builds running volume and physical ability, but mental confidence as well.
3. You skip rest days. A regular day off restocks glycogen stores, allows muscles to repair and rebuild leaving you stronger, and reduces fatigue. Don’t think of rest days as “off” days as they an important part of training.
4. Your workouts are flat. You’re always running the same pace. Whether you’re looking to PR a 5k or finish a marathon feeling strong, upping the pace on some (or parts) of your workout helps. A well-designed plan or coach can help you with progressive, quality workouts that take your performance to the next level.
5. You suffer from race anxiety. Being nervous at the starting line leads to poor pacing, with going out too fast a popular mistake. Anxiety causes muscles to tense up, especially in the upper body, which creates premature fatigue. Follow your pre-race warmup with deep breathing. Calm down and visualize the way you want the race to go. How will a strong finish, look? Feel? Make a conscious effort throughout the race to relax your shoulders away from your ears, breathe and let tension ease down your back. Trust your training
I’ve been personally guilty of some of these. How about you? Any others?