A definition of priority levels of your races ("A", "B", or "C").
Your season should have at least one "A" race and no more than 3. You are training for those particular races, so the focus of the training will be for those races. Your training builds up to these important races, then you do a legitimate taper for these races, hopefully excel in the race, and then have at least a good week of recovery afterwards. The reason why "A" races should be only a few for the year is that it presents a huge disruption in the training if you have many "A" races. The taper and the recovery are easier weeks that can break up the flow of training from one race to another, so it's best to save these for the races you want to truly focus on.
UTMB would definitely be an "A" race. So is Ironman. These long distance races will be the priority of 98% of the athletes that participate in these races.You want to be at your absolute best for these races, so a good taper is needed to be completely rested for the race and a good, complete recovery is needed after putting out your best effort in these races.
"B" Races! These are races you don't really focus on but would like to get some good intermediate goals leading up to your "A" race. The "B" race doesn't have much of a taper (maybe 2-3 days beforehand) and should be such that your recovery should be close to complete 2-3 days afterwards. You get a good workout in without much of a disruption of your training. Who knows? If you play the cards right or if the planets align, you could still possibly get a PR here, but don't expect it.
"B" races! Given my schedule, the NJ Marathon in April would be my "B" race. I would love to qualify for Boston in this race, but I do not want to interrupt my training for Ironman Ireland in June, so the taper for this race will only be 3 days, not 2 weeks. If I get the BQ, that would be great, but would be okay if I don't. This ultimately serves as support for Ironman Ireland; I have bigger fish to fry.
"C" races. Basically local, fun races that you can completely train through on with absolutely no taper and recovery. If you have a 5 mile race in your neighborhood, you can run this as a tempo run that satisfies your training schedule. You don't need a taper and you'll be ready for another fast workout in a couple of days.
I'll be supporting my club's teams running the Cherry Blosson 10K race as well as get in a good tempo run for my Ironman training. This is one of my "C" races. I don't need to taper for this race and should be completely recovered 2 days after the race.
Ideally, you should only have 1-3 "A" races, have up to around 6 "B" races in your season, and many "C" races (as long as they fit right into the training schedule). This is the reason why trying to excel at every race on your schedule is folly. Pick the 3 races you truly decide to excel, and that is it. The other races that you have should be in support of your training towards those "A" races.
Good luck planning your season; let's have an epic 2019!!!
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