Dear Coach Jay,
What do you do when you don't have races coming up?
Many runners, both high school runners preparing for outdoor track as well as adult runners preparing for spring races, have several weeks, if not months, before their key races come up. So what should you do now to insure that you'll realize your potential in those races?The first thing you need to do is acknowledge that strides should be done two or three times a week, all year long. While doing strides may be more difficult in the winter because of snow or ice, it’s not impossible, so find a treadmill or a safe hallway at school…or even “run hills”
in the form of running the ramps in a parking garage. When you ask your legs to run faster than race pace, you ensure that race pace workouts will feel slower once you get on the track for those sessions. The other elements that should be in your training program are a weekly threshold effort, a weekly long run, and daily general strength and mobility (GSM) after your runs. That's it. If you can infuse your training schedule with those elements at this time of year, you're going to have a nice aerobic foundation (from the threshold workouts and long runs), you're going to be more injury resistant (from the GSM), and your legs will be ready for faster workouts when the weather gets milder (from doing strides several times a week).
Set yourself up for a great spring and summer of racing by keeping these elements in your weekly training.
*Coach Jay's advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.