You put in numerous hard workouts, keeping yourself in shape, as you try to get ready for an upcoming race. How do you know when you'll see the results of those hard workouts? What is the magical mix of workouts and rest that result in that PR? It really is a balancing act, like stated in my previous blog, of hard, medium and recovery days. The body adapts to repeated stress in a number of ways depending upon how much, when and how often it is applied. I have heard the application and adaptation to stress explained as rubbing your skin with your hand. If you rub too hard, too often you get a blister. If you rub too soft, you get no change. And finally, if you rub just right, you'll get a callous. That's probably where the great coach Bill Dellinger of University of Oregon coined his training methods as "callousing" – a series of workouts that make you tougher.
It's a matter of spacing different types of workouts appropriately. Here are some basic guidelines:
1. It takes about 10 days (give or take a day) for your body to realize the benefits of a medium/hard workout.
2. Spacing of hard/medium workouts should be such that after race paced efforts should be at least five to six days apart, possibly even having a recovery day before your anticipated hard day. Space out medium workouts (lactate threshold/tempo) maybe every three to four days.
3. Spacing becomes even more important as you begin your racing season. Timing is everything, and your hard work can be lost in a previous workout if you don't give yourself enough rest before another hard workout or race.
Be patient and learn your rest to work ratio. It will bring you many rewards.