Summer Training & Tips
If you are currently planning your training around a specific race, you are already practicing a seasonal approach to your training; the training term for this is periodization. Periodization structures your training program using a planned program composed of base training, strength training, speed training, racing and rest. This produces a successful performance without the risk of over-training and minimizes injury risk. This type of training doesn't mean you have to race, but by planning for peaks in performance you structure your program around the time you would like to be in top shape—like the summer when you might be seen wearing a bathing suit!
Dividing your training into units will allow you to structure a progressive increase in training incorporating rest phases to allow for regeneration and adaptation. Building your intensity or volume progressively includes some rehabilitation, consisting of a rest week or recovery period. A rest week is rehabilitation: it consists of lower intensity and volume training sessions. You train but at a modified speed and distance.
If you do race, give your body a chance to rest and recover following a peak performance. The distance you ran, the intensity at which you raced and the corresponding muscle soreness determine the amount of recovery you require.
If after the race you have no soreness, you can continue training, but do not race or do any speed training during the recovery period. If you have some mild muscle discomfort to the touch, reduce your training intensity and distance for seven days.
If walking is uncomfortable or you are unable to squat with ease, reduce your training for 14 days and do no racing or speed work. If you have pain and discomfort while walking, reduce your training for a full month and do no racing or speed work. Better to take a few days off than a few weeks or even months.
8Ks can be run weekly, 10Ks every two weeks, half marathons once per month and marathons three times per year. These guidelines will work if you train using a seasonal approach and remain injury free.
The key to increased performance is your body's ability to adapt to the rigours of training and racing.