Plan your next race, the way you will win it and beat the competition and beat them. For this plan to be successful there are some considerations that must be addressed before starting a training program. The first consideration is how to interpret your current heart rate. Each athlete has a unique “zone” of exercise intensity that varies from the next. Your zone is the driving force behind how you will feel during each exercise session, the “sweet spot” where you exert the most effort to achieve the most desirable results. Click here for more information about tracking your running with a watch
To find your zone, you will need to know your maximum threshold power or EP (exercise performance), your one-minute heart rate record (one-minute x mph) and your maximum threshold power recorded during any previous race. Once you have these numbers, divide them by 2 and that is your EP per minute. If you are an athlete with a fast start, you may not need to increase your workout intensity very much beyond what you can do now. You may be better served staying within your current EP comfort zone. If you are completing a race in which you are looking for a high finish line speed, however, you will want to raise your level of perceived exertion to at least a higher level. A good rule of thumb is to try and maintain your current EP levels throughout the duration of the race.
The second part of your strategy for your next race is setting a pace based on your zone three and zone four readings. Your zone three and zone four readings are taken one minute before you engage in an exercise bout. Your pace for that particular bout will be based on your EP calculations as described above for your previous race. Zone three and zone four readings are then taken two minutes and one minute after your exercise bout. The readings you take on your subsequent occasions should represent your average effort during those earlier exercises.
Your threshold power is a major component of your pace. Your threshold power is defined as your maximum heart rate for a given period of time. This number is typically around fifty to one-hundred percent of your maximum heart rate during an exercise bout. For example, if you have been working out for one hour and you start out at your target heart rate of seventy-five percent, you would place yourself at about seven minutes per mile. In terms of intensity, you would consider running a three-minute mile with a three-second threshold power.
Your recovery or recuperation time is another element of your race strategy. If you have been doing your warm-up and stretching exercises and you feel you have enough strength to go ahead and race, then you can probably just go ahead and run. However, if you have been building your endurance levels for a week or more and your ability to get over the halfway point of a long distance race is still up in the air, you should probably plan your next run by running slow, relaxed, and easy. Only work on this run when your endurance has been built enough to handle it and not when you are starting out from a low base of strength.
One final element of your next race strategy is how you will get past the obstacles that you see while you are running. Most people who plan their race strategies already know the course map and know where the starting line is. For others, however, the course map may not be a big factor, but knowing the direction of each aid station and how to get past it is very important. It can mean the difference between taking a long term roadblock or staying on the track for an extra half hour. When you are racing, your biggest goal is to last, so knowing the course map and how to maneuver through the obstacles is a huge advantage. Make sure you check these details before the race and try to get good solutions for the problems you see as you are running.