As I gear up for the 2008 Antarctica Marathon http://community.active.com/blogs/CoachJenny/2008/02/11/specificity/working as crew this time I can't help but think about race specificity. It is one of the golden rules in training and optimal performance. The principle of specificity simply means that in order to perform optimally in a particular exercise or skill, you must perform http://community.active.com/blogs/CoachJenny/2008/02/11/specificity/train that exercise. To be a good runner, you must run.
One important next step for athletes is to train to the race. In other words, if you want to perform optimally in a trail race, you should train on a similar trail. If you event is on a flat road, spend time training on a flat road so you body and mind can adapt to the specific demands of that course. Taking your preparation to the next most specific level really can make a difference in how you perform both physically and mentally on race day.
When I prepared for the Eco-Challenge in the jungles of Borneo, Malaysia and Fiji my team raced and trained in similar terrain. Although training in humid, muddy conditions produced many bad hair days it ultimately prepared us to perform at our very best in the expedition race. Last year when I trained for my first 50K Ultra Marathon, I ran on the course and other similar single track trails. It not only helped me learn to run on technical trails, I got a visual image of the course and redesigned my strength program to include specific balance and core exercises.
This is the perfect time to plan your season. Set that goal. Register for those races and then plan your strategy to include specific preparation so you too can perform well on race day.
Coach Jenny Hadfield