I hear discussions of peaking for the big race whether it be the Olympics or HS Districts or States. How does one train to peak at the right time, as for me it will be county/district meets in October to make it to the state meet?
Peaking For the Big Race
Mike Young on July 26, 2004 at 5:37 am #31100
Typically, it's done by decreasing the volume and increasing the intensity of training. So for example, as a XC runner, you'd reduce your milage but start doing some faster repeats as you approach your big meet.
Mike is correct in stating the most successfully used method to peak. The last 2-3 weeks of the season is basically maintaining what you've worked all summer and fall to obtain. I probably wouldn't up the intensity too much-except for the accelerations (or striders) you do, work done at current race pace is plenty fast enough at that point.
Peaking can be tricky because some people get a bit flat if they back off too much too soon.
More than anything, you want to address the mental aspects of peaking. It's a good idea to have a race on the course(s) where your "peak" meet(s) will occur. That will help you to visualize the different portions of the course(s) while you are planning your possible strategies. I find it best to have a flexible plan in cc due to the length of the race and the many different scenarios that could play out while racing.
You can have visualizing sessions where you close your eyes and see the course in your mind and run through the course in a relaxed fast effortless fashion. You can also design workouts in which you simulate things such as going out fast, but under control. You can practice mid race surges on unique portions of the course, such as turns or hills or paths in the woods or whatever the course gives you to work with. You can even make your session contain opponent or clock specific goals as well. You always want to include a torrid sprint to the finish at a point in the session where you can simulate the fatigue you will feel at that point. Remind yourself during your training and especially during the race that you don't want to "save up" for a sprint by running the middle third of the race too slow because that defeats the purpose of the overall race which is to gain the highest place possible by running your best time possible.
Another one of the best ways to insure a late season peak is to be getting plenty of mileage in during the summer! Lots of steady runs, hills, tempo, and fartlek should be on your menu at this point.
Good luck to you and your team!
Carson Boddicker on July 26, 2004 at 9:49 pm #31103
as he said about running on the course, if you are not able to do that try and see if there is a course map to print off so you are somewhat familiar with it.
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