I’ve been writing a lot about race experiences lately, but not enough about the training that should go into a major goal race.
It’s kind of like having chocolate cake at a coffee shop. What you see and taste is just the finished product: layers of moist sponge cake, rich fudgy icing, and maybe a few shavings of chocolate on top. It’s delicious, but you don’t taste the flour or the eggs that went into making it. (Flour or eggs by themselves don’t taste very nice, anyway.) But it’s these mundane ingredients that are vital to making a cake.
In the same way, good performance at a race is determined by what you put into training for it. Those are the days you debate with yourself whether to take that trip to the track oval or to the mall, and the track oval wins out. Those are the hours you spend sweating doing speedwork and distance work, complementary aerobic and resistance workouts, and stretching. Those are the minutes every work night you go to bed earlier than your colleagues just so you can squeeze in an early-morning run. Compared to the excitement of a race, those times don’t seem very glamorous. But it’s the training that makes racing well possible.
Starting this month, my run training will have to become more structured. As early as now, I know I want to run the Condura Skyway Marathon in February (yes, the full marathon). This helps me with scheduling my long runs to increase mileage gradually without risking injury, with training to increase my fitness and lactate threshold so I can run faster for longer, and with diet so I can lose fat but keep essential muscle fiber.
So, are you training to make your next big race a great one?