Doing Workouts After Races
Coach Alberto Salazar popularized the post-race workout with his star pupil, Galen Rupp. Not wanting to sacrifice the volume of training needed to reach the podium, yet still needing to work on Rupp’s finishing speed and racing tactics, Salazar began having Rupp run workouts after some of his races. However, you don’t have to be an Olympian to benefit from this innovative workout concept.
Similar to the race/long run combo, working out after a race takes a little planning, but if you get creative, it’s not hard to accomplish. You simply need to pick a workout that fits within your training goals, give yourself the appropriate rest after the race, and find a good, safe place to run hard.
For example, when training for the marathon, you could do a workout like one of these:
1. Normal race warm-up, 5K race, 10 minutes rest, 5 x 1K (run the course again) at 10K to half-marathon pace w/60 seconds rest between repetitions. Great for working on improving your lactate threshold.
2. Normal warm-up, 10K race, 10 minutes rest, 8 x 60 secs at 3K to 5K race pace or 8 x 60 sec hill repeats w/equal rest. Develops speed and teaches you how to run fast when tired.
3. Normal race warm-up, 5K race, 5 minutes rest, 5K at marathon pace. Excellent way to work on lactate clearance.
Depending on your pace and the course layout, you can either run the course again (yes, you may look silly, but we all do in short running shorts anyway) or find a nearby track or traffic-free road.
While this type of race/workout combo means you have to wait to get your post-race snacks, it’s the perfect solution if you want to run the race well (i.e. your local rival is making an appearance and you’d love to flatten them) and not drastically interfere with your training.
Like the race/long run combos, these days can take a lot out of you — more than a normal workout because you’re running so hard. I suggest no more than one of these race/workout combos per month.