There are many theories on how often an athlete should race, peak and recover during the racing season. As more and more races are beginning everywhere there are so many options and can be a tendency to race often without a purpose.
The key is to make sure your races each have a specific purpose. For most athletes, it’s important to focus on 2 or 3 key races to target during the race schedule. Many factors will dictate the specific strategy and time periods between races such as length, difficulty, and effort expended for the event. Of course common sense applies and racing too much can cause minor injuries to turn into eventually season ending misery.
Each race must have a specific purpose and it’s important to rank the races based on your specific goals. You may be racing to get back into conditioning (racing yourself back into shape) after a layoff or recovery. The races might be a series of events at different levels of effort based upon your schedule leading up to the key event. Your racing purpose might be to have several hard efforts with little recovery time to build mental strength and learning how to run on fatigued legs in preparation for you big race. Many endurance athletes will use combinations of short and long events to strengthen various components to get ready for the key events.
Also, an interesting new trend and purpose for many athletes includes doing many races to check off the various bucket lists. For example, running marathons in every state, racing on every continent, racing multiple events over the weekend, completing a goal list of races, competing in point’s series races. These racing strategies will be completely different than targeting a couple key events. The focus for these athletes with so much racing is mainly on recovery. The actual training between events is just to recover the body and mind to be somewhat fresh come race day.
Remember as you get older and your speed is not like it was when you were in your 20’s, your racing purpose might include longer races where you go slower. So going slower is not always bad, just increase the distance and watch the un-experienced 20 year olds drop off the back of the race! Remember to always have a purpose for your race.
By Wayne Kurtz
Wayne Kurtz is founder of RaceTwitch.com and Endurance Racing Report, he has a lifelong passion for racing in various endurance sport races throughout the world. He is also the author of: ‘Beyond the Iron, a training guide for ultra-distance triathlons.’