The Importance of Race-Specific Training

For runners, the shift to cooler fall temps away from the summer heat and humidity is a glorious thing! So why on earth did I choose to run at the hottest part of the day today? 😳🤔

Am I trying to punish myself? No.

Am I dumb? No. (although some may argue that! 😂)

So why? I’m running when it’s still 70 degrees because I still have races in Florida the week of Thanksgiving and at best it will be low 60s on race day. But most likely it will be mid/upper 60s to low/mid-70s. So I’m trying to stay heat acclimated as best I can so that those November races don’t seem so hot.

I could easily and happily run right now while it’s cooler, feel better while doing it and even run faster with less effort. However, the more I train in hotter temperatures and work on my speed in the heat, I’ll know more likely how I’ll perform in those races and set realistic race pace goals.

But if I train now in the cooler temps and run faster, it would be way easier to think “look how fast I’ve gotten!” 🤩 and then have a rude awakening on race day when it’s hotter and end up slower. 😞

✔️ If you’re running a trail race, train on trails more than pavement.

✔️ If you’re doing a hilly race, train on hills.

✔️ If you’re racing in hot temps, train in the heat.

✔️ If you may end up racing in the rain, it’s always a good idea to have done at least a couple of training sessions (run or bike) in the rain to know how to handle it.

✔️ If you’ll be racing in cooler temps, you can get extra benefit from training in the heat and race easier in the cooler temps! But also train in the cold so you know how to dress, fuel and hydrate, as it’s different in cool vs hot.

✨ So remember, the closer you can train for the race you’ll be doing, the better race day will go!

Dr. Jeanne Williams, PT, DPT, OCS
We help endurance athletes (from beginners to pros) train and cross the finish line faster and injury-free!


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