I'm sure the everyone fondly recalls my post last December in which I shared with the audience my secrets to achieving a PR. After reviewing one's past performances, the next phase is planning how you will train for a goal race. (And remember that if you are going to go through all the effort to train for something, you better make it good.) This planning phase MUST have you peaking in fitness for your race. Peak too early and your race result will be disappointing.
Say for example your goal is a PR in a 10K. Your plan would have you doing the right amount of speedwork each week so that you are getting a little faster and stronger as the weeks progress as you are nearing the goal race. So finding the right balance in your training so that you improve but not overdo it is critical. As you approach the race the key thing to keep in mind is to not "leave your race on the track". Workouts are meant to prepare you for the real test. Put too much into your workouts and you can easily leave your legs dead for the race.
As I reflect upon last week's 5K in which I just missed a PR by mere seconds I am left reflecting on what may have gone wrong. Or they say in this day in age "what could have gone better". My speed sessions leading up to the race were perhaps my best ever. Week after week I was knocking out 1200 meter repeats better than I had ever done before and all indicators were that a PR was certain. It was becoming a matter of By how much will I blow away my old PR? So I'm left to wonder if I had peaked too soon. Although I took it relatively easy the week leading up to the race perhaps I had done just enough "damage" in my previous workouts that my legs were not as fresh as they could be on race day. Maybe my last track workout 6 days before the race was too much? Or maybe it was my track workout 12 days before the race that overdid it? Maybe it was both. Whatever the reason, come race day my legs did not live up to what their true potential seemed to be. Did I peak too soon?
Finding that winning combination in training to peak at just the right time, race day, is tricky. And it will vary from person to person. So we live and learn. Next time I'll make sure to leave a little something in my reserves when doing a speed workout. I'll back off a little earlier prior to the race so my legs go into it feeling fresh and ready for a new best time.