By Dr. Jack Daniels
Many coaches ask how to organize Quality training during weeks they are racing. Sometimes you just have to try different things to determine what’s best for your runners. First, I like to always have two Easy days before a race. If it’s a really important race then your last Quality workout should be 3-4 days before. Also, when organizing training always consider that peak muscle soreness comes 48-hours after being stressed rather than just 24-hours after stress.
I’ve found back-to-back Quality days a good way to train while in-season. If you have a Saturday competition try doing Quality on Tuesday and Wednesday. The advantages include the following:
- You get two easy days of training after a Saturday race and before a Quality session.
- You get two easy days before a race.
- Knowing you have to come back with a good session on Wednesday keeps you from getting carried away on Tuesday and overtraining.
- Helps runners prepare for two-day meets
It can even be beneficial to try different combinations among different members of your team. When you do back-to-back Quality training days, how do your runners feel on the second Q day? It may depend on the type of Quality work you’re doing. Intervals usually leave you feeling worse than Threshold or even Reps so try Intervals on the second day.
Remember, in general I consider long runs Quality workouts, so two other Q days are adequate in most weeks. Early in the season do more Reps and then Intervals. Then, start letting the meets determine what type of workout races count for. Definitely not all runners respond the same and the coach has to try different combinations with different runners. Keep in mind that it’s important that your runners don’t think you are treating some more closely than others; the point is to find out what works best for each runner.