Each week there are things we can be constantly implementing into our workouts to get
the most out of our workouts! How can you “Train Like You Race”? Small details &
successes over time add up to big results! I started thinking about all of the different
things that help to make me successful with my workouts each week. How do I best
prepare myself for each run to make sure I am getting the most out of my training
program along with recovering & staying balanced?
Here are the things I thought of and I am sure all of you can help me build onto this list!
If you currently do not do these things with your training it is time to start!! I want to
make sure each of you are getting the most out of your training and helping to best
prepare you to crush your next race & PR!
1-Practicing Supplementing & Nutrition
“Eat to Run, Don’t Run to Eat”
We talk about how nutrition is all the time and how we need to try to fuel our body
the best we can each week through our daily nutrition. This is more specific to timing
around your workouts. One thing each of you needs to be doing is practicing
supplementing in your workouts. Especially for those of you that are training for longer
distances like half marathons, marathons and ultras. You should start practicing your
supplementing like you would during a race. What I recommend is: 5-10 minutes before
the start of your workouts (Gu packet or supplements) along with every 10K/6 miles or
so on your run. This should be the same for your races. You should practice this during
your longer high intensity workout days along with your long runs. Not only to improve
your performance and get more out of your workout ,but to also make sure the
supplements work well for you on race day. We need to fuel our body to perform it’s
best during a workout along with best preparing it for race day. Also practicing your pre
race dinners and breakfast through out your training. This works great before your long
run or even before a harder workout. Try out different foods to fuel your workout along
with post workout nutrition. Make sure to get a good source of protein and carbs to
replenish your muscle glycogen and having the nutrients available to rebuild your
muscle and help your body to recover.
2- Good Warm Up & Cool Down
“Failing to Prepare, is Preparing to Fail”
Everyone needs a specific warm up that works best for them. This can be
different for everyone. Warm ups should be done on interval/higher intensity days of
training along with before a race. This should be the warm up that you know best helps
you get ready to run at your best. Also something else to not switch up too much on
race day. For workouts make sure to get a good 1-2 mile warm up in before starting
your workout. During your warm up, the first half you should ease into the pace and the
2nd half of the warm up you can start to push the pace slightly to get ready to run fast
for your workout/race. I have different warm ups for different training environments. If I am running on a treadmill, I ramp up the pace from an easy easy pace to just below my
threshold pace by ramping up the pace every 2 minutes for 2 miles. I then take a 5
minute break to stretch, get water, have a gu packet and mentally check myself into the
workout. If I am doing an outdoor workout or track workout, I typically keep my warm up pretty easy with slightly pushing the pace in the last couple laps to get my heart rate up. I then take a 5 minute break, stretch, grab water, have a gu packet and just before I
start into my workout I do 4X10-15 second strides to get my legs ready for the pace. For
me, this is what works best for me for my workouts and also for race day! Also doing a
light cool down after a workout helps to bring our body back to a resting state, flush out
the waste products from the workout while helping to maintain healthy muscle function
and overall to help our body to start recovering from the workout.
3- Focus on Effort
“To Give Anything Less Than Your Best is To Sacrifice the Gift”
Your workouts don’t need to be perfect. A lot of the details I am mentioning in this
article will help to continually help you to perform at your best & feel great from each
workout. What Ive noticed about runners is that if anything throws your workout off,
even if it’s running your last interval 5 seconds slower than you wanted, we suddenly
throw the workout away. Like everything we just put into the workout wasn’t good
enough and suddenly we are upset about the workout. First of all, be good to yourself.
You are only human & things happen. Secondly, no matter how well you want a workout
to go, it is tough to always nail your workout & paces. This comes through years of
experience. Instead of blaming yourself for what could have went better, take every
positive learning moment from that workout & then bring it to your next workout to do
better the next time around. Don’t forget about all of the hard work you just put in & try
to keep a positive mindset. Your body is making adaptation whether the workout went
perfectly or not and next time around it will only help you do that much better.
4-Reflect on Your Workouts
“Run Your Strengths & Train Your Weaknesses”
Just like focusing on effort, even if you workout goes perfect, reflect on your
workout! This only takes a few minutes. For days that go great or even better than you
expected, what did you do differently or what was your mindset going into that workout? Why do you think the workout went so well? And again if it didn’t go well, what are some things you brought into your run that day that didn’t serve you. What kept you from performing at your best?? Running is physical but also completely mental! We can mentally talk ourselves out of anything & when it comes to weekly training, mindset is everything. Especially when workouts gets tough. Train your mind to see the positive in your weaknesses to help turn these into your strengths. This will only help your workouts go better and improve your overall running performance.
5- Always Be Dressed Ready to Run
“Dress Up, Show Up & Never Give Up”
Being dressed ready to run is the first step to success in any workout! First of all,
be dressed for the weather! If it is freezing outside, I typically recommend dressing one
layer cold since you will warm up once you start running without over heating. If it is hot outside, wearing clothes that are going to keep you as cool as possible for the run. Also a big one for me is my running shoes! If I am doing a workout I wear a lighter training shoe (the shoes I race in or something similar). If I am doing a long run or easy recovery run I wear a softer cushioned shoe. This is not only a good way to allow your shoes to bring the cushion and support back into your shoes but also mentally to know that the shoes you are wearing is going to set the tone for the workout! Unless I am breaking shoes in or just trying them out, I always associate my shoes with the type of workout I am doing. It’s like when I am driving my mini cooper & I can either put it in “green mode” to save gas, efficiency & ease back or “speed mode” to push the pace & speed around. I honestly feel the difference and it completely changes my mindset depending on the shoes I am wearing. My lighter shoes I know I am training more for pace & speed. My heavier cushioned shoe I am focusing on nice & easy recovery running. Try having different shoes for different workouts! Honestly I think you will know the difference and know what I am talking about along with helping your running performance!
All of these things help to improve your weekly running performance along with bringing that much more purpose to your workouts! Also I want to make sure that you are getting the most out of the time you are putting into your workouts & training program! You should “train like you race” and no matter if you are doing an easy recovery run, a workout, a long run or a rest day, every day of the week should have purpose & you should do what you can to optimize your training to get closer to your running goals & dreams each and every damn day :).