How to Peak for Your Goal Race


Being truly ready for race day is harder than you think. If you think cutting your mileage in half, taking more rest days and running, swimming or biking faster than your target race pace is the way to do it, you’re mistaken.

Dramatically reducing your speed and increasing your intensity is not the best way to peak and do your best during a race.  In fact, it may do just the opposite.

Yes, you should reduce your mileage, but do so strategically. Reduce your mileage on some runs, while maintaining it on others.  Your body will recover faster with this small decrease and you’ll feel great.

As you get closer to your goal race, your workouts should start looking like the specific race.  You should be building up to it. But dial down your speed. You don’t want to run too fast to wear yourself out.  About two to three weeks before your race, your workout should mimic your goal race.

Peaking is an art form. Working with a good triathlon coach will help you perform better.  They’ll teach you why peaking for a goal race is more than just working out.

Here are some tips to help you plan your next peak correctly:

Schedule Backwards

Plan your trainings starting from race day backwards to today. This way you’ll be able to see how long you have to train and you’ll be able to plan your training accordingly. The two weeks before your race you should focus on correct form rather than trying to get faster.  This will help you improve during this time period rather than injure yourself.  Your peak phase should be proceeded with lots of strength and speed workouts, but only after you have a good base of moderately-paced training.

Pace Yourself

Do not head into your goal race and run all your workouts faster than you’re truly capable of doing. This will only hurt you during a race.  You’ll end up going fast off the starting line and you will fade must faster than others during the final miles. Pace yourself in the several weeks coming up to a race.  This will allow you to recover faster, feel fresh and perform your best during your goal race.

Balance Your Stressors

If you are stressed at work or at home and worried about your workouts, you need to find a way to find a balance between ideal training and realistic outcomes.  How can you rearrange your training schedule around stressful times so you don’t overdo it?

You could do one hard session instead of two, or reduce your sessions’ time or pace.  If the stress lessens itself near race day, this still isn’t the time to slide in extra sessions or harder/faster sessions.  Don’t ever try to make up for lost training.  Do easier workouts so you don’t feel like you are going to mentally lose it.  This will give you a chance to let your body recover and get some freshness back into your workouts.

However, if your life stressors are sticking around longer than you’d like, you may have to adjust your training to help meet your goals.  Because of the stress, you may not be able to train at your maximum capability. However, I recommend shorter, quicker trainings rather than long ones.  This will be plenty without risking injury.

The key is to make your goals challenging, but realistic. You want to be able to meet the goals, feel confident and strong.  If you are having trouble structuring your training plan to peak for your races, contact me today.  I’d be happy to work with you to help you achieve your best result on race day.

Train Right, Tri Right!

Coach MJ


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