How Do I Race Strong Through the End of the Season?

Photo: Getty Images for Ironman

Finish the season strong with these simple tips from XTERRA star and coach Josiah Middaugh.

1. Undulate Your Training

Put in the quality training necessary, and then allow for proper adaptation. Typically, 2–3 weeks of heavy training should be followed by one week of lighter training.

2. Consider a Mid-Season Break

This is a lesson learned from Southern Hemisphere athletes, and it works well with most race schedules. This is not a complete break from training, but rather a short break from racing and structured intensity. A two-week break is usually enough to reverse overreaching, and it allows athletes to mentally refresh and recharge for a strong finish.

3. Don’t Train Through Races

Especially when travel is involved. A race should be the most important “workout” of a training block, so give it the respect it deserves. A certain level of freshness is required to race above what you are capable of in training, and races require more recovery than a typical key workout.

4. Race Shorter Local Events

If you like racing and want to use local races in place of key workout sessions, then opt for shorter events that make you go faster than you would at your target races. This gives you a better training effect, and these events are easier to recover from. Examples would be a low-key 5K race, a 10-mile road bike time trial, a short cross-country mountain bike race (for those off-road athletes), or a mid-week swim/run event. Even though it might be a low-key race, it should still be the key session for the week, so space other key sessions accordingly.

5. Revive Your Strength Routine

If you have slacked on strength training through the first part of your competitive season, consider bringing back some corrective exercises and light plyometrics. Consistent strengthening—especially of weak muscles—can prevent injury and increase economy.