Track/XC: Peaking: Don’t Let Athletes Run Faster in Practice
Track/XC: Peaking: Don't Let Athletes Run Faster in Practice

Track/XC: Peaking: Don't Let Athletes Run Faster in Practice

Dick Moss, Editor, Physical Education Update.com

When it's time for the championship meet, many coaches do a great job of reducing volume (often by 40% or more) in order to peak their athletes.

However, many of the same coaches make a common mistake during peaking workouts. They allow their athletes to run their reps at a faster pace than normal.

Why Avoid Faster Repetitions?
It's an easy mistake to make because running faster during peak-week is natural. With the reduction in training volume, athletes suddenly have extra energy. And with the excitement of the big meeting coming up - wham - they find themselves wanting to run faster in workouts than ever before. This is especially true of the last interval in a workout, where they'll often try to "hammer" a good one.

While it may be a confidence-booster, such an increase in speed can result in muscle soreness and a drain on the energy reserves - the last thing you need before a major competition.

As coach, it's important that you control your athletes' speed during interval sessions.

Example
For example, if you've been doing 8 x 400m in 60 seconds, you might schedule 5 x 400m in 60 seconds during the first day of peak-week and only 2-3 x 400m in 60 seconds in the second workout.

But don't allow your athletes to run the 400's in 56 seconds or even allow them to kick in the final rep at a faster pace. "Controlled" is the key word during peak week!


Reference: Jack Daniels (PhD), Head Coach, Distance Running, Centre for High Altitude Training, Flagstaff Arizona), Audio from the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre, November 30, 2007. http://www.athleticscoaching.ca


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