Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/12/2014 -- Runners who are racing toward a goal might take a little advice from the tortoise rather than the hare. A recent study showed that crash training prior to a race doesn’t provide any improvement, and may actually decrease performance if overdone.
A study looked at a group of runners who engaged in high intensity training over a period of eight-weeks showed a 10% increase in aerobic capacity. But, when that same high intensity training was done in only a three-week period, their fitness actually declined and only improved after taking a two week hiatus from any running exercises. This brought to mind advice from NYC Marathon Champion Grete Waitz – Hurry Slowly.
This advice is hard to swallow when a big race is looming and a runner isn’t in the peak physical condition they had hoped to be. It’s tempting to think crash training is a solution to the issue, but according to the information gleamed from the above study it may just be better to keep the current training pace and hope for the best.
Another important note highlighted in the study is the importance of rest for physical improvement. When runners in the study stopped the crash training and let their bodies rest, their performance capability did return, but not until 12 days after they had stopped activity.
A better plan than crash training prior to a race then resting for an extended period of time would be to plan out a few days of intense training, followed by a few days of very light running. Obviously, the best approach would be to stretch training out over the course of a few months prior to a race, but even the best plans can be derailed for life reasons. Keeping in mind what the body needs to improve – challenges mixed with rest – can help keep a runner on track to improved performance throughout racing season.
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