We know you desire strong quads, toned calves and powerful hamstrings as you kit up for a big race. In other words, you want to be in peak shape as race season rolls around, ready to crush any competition in your way.
However, in the weeks leading up to your race, endurance, energy and recovery become the main priority of your program, and hitting the gym becomes a daunting task.
But it’s important to retain the strength gains you’ve made, as this will improve your overall performance and help you prevent injury.
Here are some tips to keep in mind during race season:
1. 45-minute sessions, one to two days a week, is all you need in the gym.
2. Focus on compound exercises. Squats, deadlifts and presses use multiple joints and muscle groups.
3. Compound exercises will help you maintain power.
4. You do not need to crush your strength training sessions. Remember, the goal is to maintain the level of strength that you currently have.
5. Awareness—not stubbornness—is a must. If you are beat up from a high volume block of training, use some common sense. Rest or drop the amount of weight you lift for that day.
6. There is no need to do any exercise to complete muscle failure; it’s counter-productive.
7. You do not need to do hours of core exercises. Limit yourself to one to three core exercises in any given training session.
Split Squats1 of 7
Start by standing with your back to a bench or box and hold a pair dumbbells or kettlebells. Place your left foot out in front and lift your right foot back onto the bench. Bend your front knee to 90 degrees and then drive yourself back up to the starting position while keeping your eyes focused on the horizon.
4 to 6 reps, 2 to 3 sets
Deadlifts2 of 7
With both hands, grab a barbell lying on the ground and bend your knees until your shins touch the bar. Lock your arms, and keep your shoulders blades directly over the bar with your back in good lumbar and thoracic extension. Pull the barbell in a straight vertical path until you have fully extended hips. Repeat.
3 to 5 reps, 2 to 3 sets
Push Press3 of 7
Hold a pair of dumbbells up near your shoulders. Set your feet about shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees as if you were going to do a small jump. In one quick motion, drive your body up by extending your knees while pressing the dumbbells straight up in a vertical path. Lock your elbows and return the dumbbells back to your shoulders and repeat.
4 to 6 reps, 3 to 4 sets
Bent-Over Rows4 of 7
Grab a barbell with both hands and, bend over slightly at your hips. Be sure to keep your torso tight and pull the barbell towards you while keeping your elbows against your body. Slowly lower the barbell to the starting position and repeat.
4 to 6 reps, 3 to 4 sets
Pikes5 of 7
You can use a stability ball or TRX suspension trainer for this exercise. Get yourself into the pushup position and bring your feet toward your wrists as you push your hips up. Make sure your legs are straight throughout the exercise. Slowly return into the starting position and repeat.
6 to 12 reps, 2 to 4 sets
Stability Ball Rollout6 of 7
Place your elbows and forearms on a stability ball and enter a plank position. Roll the ball forward by extending your arms out in front of you. When you reach a comfortable distance, pull the ball back toward your body. Be sure to keep your core tight during the entire movement.
6 to 10 reps, 2 to 4 sets