For those preparing for an upcoming goal race, the last part of any training plan should be about maintaining and sustaining your hard-earned fitness; not necessarily increasing it further. It should also be about increasing your confidence and feeling ready and well-prepared to run your best.
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Building fitness–including strength, speed and endurance–is all about what you consistently accomplish over days, weeks and months of training. It cannot be drastically changed by one hard workout or killer long run at the end of your training. Rather, late-season workouts and long runs should be considered opportunities to practice and perfect the fitness you already have.
It’s also important to reduce the risk of injury and ensure you make it to the start line healthy which is another reason to avoid overly taxing efforts in the final weeks before your race.
In the week or two before your big race, you should practice running at a pace you are already familiar with (preferably goal race pace), rather than trying to run at a faster speed (which you don’t need). This type of race specific training will help you feel more comfortable with race pace and which (we promise!) will feel much easier on race day.
The following are a few example workouts for some of the most popular race distances. Begin each workout with a short warm-up of light jogging and a few strides or dynamic stretches. Proceed to run the repeats at goal race pace and finish with a short cool down of easy jogging.
Warm-up then run 400m-800m-1200m-1600m at goal 5K pace with 400m easy between.
Warm-up then run 4 x 1K at goal 5K pace with 500m easy between.
Warm-up then run 500m-1000m-1500m-2000m at goal 10K pace with 500m easy between.
Warm- up then run 3 x 3K at goal 10K pace with 500m easy between.
Warm-up then run 7K continuously at goal half marathon pace.
Warm-up then run 4 x 3K at goal half marathon pace with 1K easy between.
Warm-up then run 10K continuously at goal marathon pace.
Warm-up then run 3 x 5K at goal marathon pace with 1K easy between.