If you want to be successful at your main competition, you should not just blindly follow the training plan but also analyze the specific requirements of the race course and include them in your training. If, for example, you do a city marathon, you have to consider totally different aspects than someone who puts a mountain marathon race bib on his chest. These tips make sure your competition will be a success:
Try to include the characteristics in your key workouts. Here are some examples:
- Flat marathon: do your long run and the medium speed on flat course. Deliberately go for altitude when doing steady runs.
- Flat road race: do your interval on the track and on the road alternately. Look for a hilly course for the other training sessions.
- Mountain race: do your key workouts primarily on hills. Still, make sure you do some fast runs on a flat course occasionally so you do not unlearn to run at fast pace on the flat.
- Hilly race: do your medium speed workout in particular on a hilly course similar to the race course. The other runs can be flat, hilly, or on real hills.
- Special case: Jungfrau- Marathon. Do your workouts on hills after a long pre-exhaust on a flat course. Do several trainings on hills in the preparatory phase where you run uphill at least 1 hour. Do 3-4 cross-trainings where you simulate the forecasted race duration. Cross-training is a mix of different sports. For example: 2 hours running, 2 hours cycling, 1 hour hill-running.
Get your musculoskeletal system used to the strain you will face on race day.
- Pavement: do your intensive workouts and the long run on pavement; steady runs can be done on dirt roads.
- Dirt road: you should do the intensive workouts on dirt roads. As for the remaining runs, you are free to choose.
- Track: interval workouts are done on the track. All other runs can be done off the track and you are free to choose.
Do your key workouts at the same time as your main competition if possible. When preparing for a marathon, this is important for the long run in particular.
Nutrition is very important especially during competitions that last longer than 1 hour. Prepare the eating during competition in advance; it is very important to get used to the product of the official nutrition provider if you do not want to bring your own products.