How To Adjust Your Training Schedule
Finally, the question remains, how do you adjust your training schedule to account for these smaller races?
First, you shouldn’t taper your mileage unless it’s a tune-up race or you’re using it to test your fitness. These types of fun races should slide into your training seamlessly and tapering mileage to run well could sacrifice your preparation for your goal race.
Second, choose the type of race combo workout you want to do and don’t go crazy. One of the biggest mistakes I see is when runners go into these races thinking “oh, I’ll just take it easy and run for fun or run a certain pace”. However, as soon as the gun fires, the adrenaline starts pumping and they are running as hard as they can. The problem with this is that you’ll very likely push yourself too hard and find yourself struggling in two weeks when the effort catches up to you. Know yourself, be honest with how hard you will run and stick to the plan you set out ahead of time.
Lastly, make sure to give yourself extra recovery time. More than likely, the race effort was harder than a normal workout would be for you. As it is with any workout, the results don’t come from the torture you put your body through, but from the time you give the muscles to repair and rebuild.
With a little planning and innovation, you can turn those fun local races on your training calendar into great workouts while keeping your eye on the big goal race down the road. If you have questions on how to implement races as part of your overall training plan, let me know in the comments section below.