While not without its potential pitfalls, it is possible –and can be beneficial — to race yourself into shape.
Planning the perfect training schedule is always a delicate balance between doing what is “fun” — e.g., ripping 200 meter repeats, 24-hour relays with friends, and racing every weekend — and doing the right kind of work to spur the physiological adaptations necessary to run personal bests. Unfortunately, even when you’ve found the ideal training plan to follow, things don’t always go as smoothly as you might like.
Injuries, sickness, or even a tough spell at work can sometimes leave you in less-than-ideal with a long list of already-paid-for races on the schedule. Or, you might be involved in a running club or race series that requires you to run all its events, even though that might not be conducive to your marathon buildup. Whatever the circumstances, you might find yourself in a situation where you have a strong obligation to race often while still wanting to make positive fitness gains. While not without its potential pitfalls, it is possible to race yourself into shape.
Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives of racing yourself into shape so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you, and , if so, provide some helpful tips for effectively implementing this strategy into your training schedule.