The first part of this article explored how runners can prepare to race at their peak level of fitness. The second part of this article helps runners navigate the most common issues they'll encounter when training to reach their peaks.
When you've reached your peak level of fitness on race day, few things can top the feeling of sheer joy you'll experience as you rocket across the finish line. With endorphins pumping, your family or friends waiting to applaud your newly minted finish—and possible PR—you throw your arms skyward and euphorically proclaim, "YES!" Not only do you feel on top of the world at the finish line, but you also felt unstoppable on the race course.
Perfect days like these can be few and far between the more you race, but you train hard in an effort to recapture these precious moments. The key to experiencing more days like these is to plan your training so that you peak at the right time.
According to exercise physiologist and USATF-certified running coach Greg McMillan, "Every runner needs to understand how they adapt to certain workouts, and once you figure that out, you can individualize your training."
Personalizing your training is how you'll reach your fitness peak on race day. This sounds ideal, but what about the bumps in the road that happen to every runner at some point in their training cycles, no matter how well-intentioned the plan? Here are eight solutions to common problems runners can encounter during the training process.
Issue: How do you know if you're peaking too soon before your goal race?
Solution: These are telltale signs that you're peaking too soon:
- When you kill all of your workouts
- When you feel great all of the time during training
- When you hit times that are way faster than expected frequently
According to McMillan, training should be hard. It shouldn't be the most euphoric feeling. "It should mostly be, 'That was tough but appropriate, and I should now see the results of that workout in two or three weeks.' The idea of feeling really great in training and hitting times way faster than expected is a sign you're getting fit too quick," says McMillan.