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Peaking for extended periods

Answered By Jordan Schillit

Question

I live in Illinois and our state meet is early in November, but Footlocker Midwest isn't until the 28th, not to mention just getting out of my sectional is going to be hard... I'm planning on freshening instead of sharpening, since I'm definitely a slow twitch guy, but also since I'm thinking it might help to slow down my peaking. Is it possible to be running at my best from late October to mid December if begin racing in early September? (BTW: I'm going to average over 55 miles a week this summer) any help would be great. thank you

Answer

Here are some tips to make your peak stretch out over several weeks: (1) Keep your mileage up. The tighter your mileage is within a certain range, mixed with several weeks of comparable training will help your races be more consistent. In Florida, for example, there is no Indoor track, so racing goes from early September to early December. Because the season is so lengthy, "summer-length" long runs should continue throughout most of the season. In your case, continue your 55 miles per week through the end of October... (2) Aerobic workouts are more useful in your case than anaerobic workouts. Runners are able to maintain aerobic fitness for a longer period of time then anaerobic fitness. In your case, you said you wanted to have your race speed last over a few months, rather than peak for one specific race. Also, discuss with your coach which races are the MOST important. State or Footlocker may be the most important race for you, but other people have to just concentrate on getting to the State Championship in the first place. Your training and "sharpening" would change slightly because of this. (3) If you then decide that some races take precedence over others, make your training progressive towards those races. Just as runners typically build their training off of previous years (i.e. more mileage as a junior than as a sophomore), you should build your training within a given season too. NOTE: The term "peak" is different for every runner. Depending on amount of mileage, types of training, experience, and several other factors -- a distance runner could potentially stretch out his/her fitness level over a longer period of time. Whether that stretched out time frame becomes a week, a month, or a few months is uncertain; there is no "rule of thumb" for a vague term, but planning out your entire season before it begins is moving in the right direction. If you have any further questions, feel free to email me at: jordo1010@me.com --Jordan Schilit www.inthelongrunbook.com

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