Race Season Balance

Hello! I’m currently writing to you from Houghton Michigan! After a couple weeks of dense racing at the Period 1 Super Tours, it was nice to come back home to CO for a bit of sunshine, family time, and all things Christmas! If you missed either recap from period 1 you can find them ,here. Following these busy first weeks of racing, and wrapping up the fall semester of school, it was nice to be able to unplug a little bit from the constant daily stressors and enjoy the delightful environment at home. I had 2 weeks in CO which was enough time to put in a short training block in preparation for the heart of the race season, which is now upon us!

That leads us to this week’s topic of choice; how to keep things balanced during the race season in order to race fast. While this might sound like a how-to, simple step by step guide to obtain performance, it’s NOT. In reality there are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration when deciding how training should look during the race season. For example, how your training went all summer and fall, if you’ve stayed healthy and injury free, etc, etc. In general, there are three things that are important to look at during the race season.

1.) Recovering from races. 2.) Sharpening for races. 3.) Bringing balance back to the concoction of ingredients that culminate to form what we call fitness. Obviously it is necessary to properly recover after races, and the time needed to recover will depend on many factors like how many races there were, the types of races, how fit you were coming into the races, etc. “Sharpening” for a race simply means training in a manner that sheds any fatigue and furthermore primes the body for the upcoming race. Both recovery and sharpening play a role in bringing balance back, however you can look at recovery as being what happens directly following races. The “balance phase” is between the recovery and sharpening phases, and the sharpening phase is the final phase prior to races.

When looking at how to balance your “fitness portfolio,” I like to think of it as a pyramid. The pyramid is split up into the different intensity levels we use in training. The bottom part of the pyramid is the majority of your training, which is distance training, while the top represents racing. It goes without saying that in order to race fast, especially when races are close together, you won’t be training at peak volumes. When you race and race and race, the body gets really sharp. The pyramid gets taller and more pointy but the base doesn’t grow. In fact, after enough time of training at lower volumes and racing a lot it will eventually start to shrink. Eventually the base of the pyramid will not be a viable support structure and the top will collapse to a manageable size. In simpler terms, your racing will likely go from very good to not so good. So here’s the meat and potatoes. For recovery, only distance training is necessary, but easy training sessions are important to aid recovery. To balance race intensity, stick with distance training, and L3. Then when sharpening, lose some of the volume in distance training and start to add some L4 to get the body used to going hard again.

In other news, I was named to the World University Games (WUG) Team! WUG is a series of races that brings together the best collegiate athletes from around the world for numerous head to head competitions. This year it is special because it will take place in Lake Placid, NY, the first time it will have been on US soil since 1972. With that said I’m super excited to rep the stars and stripes! More updates on that to come.

For now though, the focus is on US Nationals here in Houghton, and afterward the season could look a couple different ways depending on results. Here is a link to a live stream for US Nationals: ,https://livestream.com/engagelivetsream/2023usnationals Here is a link to be able to follow the results: ,http://www.superiortiming.com/

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year!