Race vs training performance

Afternoon all, quick question on trainging vs race performance. Bit of background to help.... Ive benn running for 15+ yrs, had some decent runs/races when younger but have had a rough time with injury since 2004. From then training is....patchy at best but has just started to pick up once again and has gone well for the last 10 weeks. Current weekly mileage hovers around 50 over 6 sessions a week.

Current annoyance is my training splints(on sessions) and general feel during long runs doesnt match my race performance. To be honest i always feel rough during a race, never feel like i get into my running and often feel very weak from early on. Most bizzare thing at the moment is that about 90 mins into a long run i can knock out 6 mile at 6:00 pace(depending on terrain) at what i feel is like 90% effort(best guess as unconfirmed with HR monitoring), however come cross country of 10k race i'm 30-40 seconds down on those splits and pinging what feels like 100% effort.

Ive tried going into races with/without taper, short/long warm ups, strides/no strides, slow start,fast start  but nothing seems to give the....proper outcome. I must admit a 2-3 mile warm up with a few mins at race pace prior to race seems to dull the shock to the body of the manic race starts.

Any ideas? Should i try running 90mins prior to a 10k race? Seems a bit extreme.


  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Does seem strange. Solution could be to do a pre warm up. I've never had a bad race when doing this.

    Sounds odd, but go and do a decent run/WU, finishing at least 60 mins before the race. Go and wrap up to keep the heat in, and wait. 15/20 minutes before the race,go and do another warm up. It will be easy as anything. Only drink water.

    Sometimes people load up on so called sports drinks or gels before heading out, but the high sugar content will cause your body to flood your system with insulin in an attempt to bring the level down. Problem is that it overshoots the mark and you end up with less sugar in the blood stream at the very moment you need it.

    Its like driving away from the petrol station with the fuel nozzle still in place.


  • Hi Rob,

    You are clearly someone with a good natural degree of competence. However, its no surprise that you've had injury issues if you bash out 6 x 6min miles at the end of your 90 min long run. That is suicide for a 50 mile per week runner! Could you be an individual who has been prone to overtraining in the past?

    I think you need a decent weekly training plan for your level of competence. Google is full of them (sub 35 min 10K, sub 80 min half marathon etc). Alternatively I'm currently enjoying The Running Formula by Jack Daniels.

    As for pre race warm up.....a couple of easy conversational miles and 4 or 5 strides seem to do it for most people. But I'd put my money on you being too quick a starter. You mention 'manic starts', but a start shouldn't be much faster than race pace. I think you probably bash yourself into oxygen debt chasing the better runners and feel awful trying to hold on.

    I'd gauge your level of competence for a certain race with lower distance time trials in practice at expected race pace, and try and run races at even pace by keeping a disciplined eye on the 1/4 miles on a sat watch.

    That you even jokingly suggest a 90 min warm up indicates that for all your natural ability you have very little direction with your training or race strategies. A bit of reading and research might be a good call.

    As for cross country, I wouldn't worry about your pace per mile. Its often far off what you'd expect on a flat road or track.

    Take care

  • RicF, good point about the pre warm up...warm up. Ive heard people doing this but only ever the elite runners. Its worth a stab, ive tried alot of other methods so it cant do any harm.

    Jamie Newton 2, fair point....i wouldnt say i'm over training at the moment but yes have been guilty in the past. Was alot younger then i didnt really know what i was doing, just ran as i felt and aslong as i enjoyed it would go eyeballs out the day after a track session. With regards to a 90min warm up i was 100% joking. Oxygen debt chasing better runners might be something to look into though....with better monitoring of my pace early on it could well be the issue. Another thing for me to try.


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