Los Angeles, CA – 2/12/2014—
Runners who are racing toward a goal might take a littleadvice from the tortoise rather than the hare. A recent study showed that crash training prior to a race doesn’tprovide any improvement, and may actually decrease performance if overdone.
A study looked at a group of runners who engaged in highintensity training over a period of eight-weeks showed a 10% increase inaerobic capacity. But, when that samehigh intensity training was done in only a three-week period, their fitnessactually declined and only improved after taking a two week hiatus from anyrunning exercises. This brought to mindadvice from NYC Marathon Champion Grete Waitz – Hurry Slowly.
This advice is hard to swallow when a big race is loomingand a runner isn’t in the peak physical condition they had hoped to be. It’s tempting to think crash training is asolution to the issue, but according to the information gleamed from the abovestudy it may just be better to keep the current training pace and hope for thebest.
Another important note highlighted in the study is theimportance of rest for physical improvement. When runners in the study stopped the crash training and let theirbodies rest, their performance capability did return, but not until 12 daysafter they had stopped activity.
A better plan than crash training prior to a race thenresting for an extended period of time would be to plan out a few days ofintense training, followed by a few days of very light running. Obviously, the best approach would be tostretch training out over the course of a few months prior to a race, but eventhe best plans can be derailed for life reasons. Keeping in mind what the body needs toimprove – challenges mixed with rest – can help keep a runner on track toimproved performance throughout racing season.
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