course preparatoire

The preparatory race

If you've set yourself a major objective during your season, you may have thought about running a preparatory race beforehand. However this is not absolutely essential: Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of running a preparatory race.


The advantages:

- The preparatory race can be used to consolidate the entire initial phase of one's preparation. If the race goes well, this will bolster your confidence and convince you that the set objective is entirely achievable.Mentally, this is a big advantage for the next event and an additional source of motivation.

- It can help to adjust your pace (particularly for a road race), your running strategy and your equipment (particularly for trail running). In other words, it can help to prepare your race configuration.

- It gives you an opportunity to get used to wearing a race number, which always adds a certain stress and to become familiar with managing the pre-race preparation.

- It makes a change from the training routine. Nothing can give more pleasure than experiencing the feeling of running in a group and the state of mind that pervades an event! And this is the key thought that will encourage you to get back to work in order to finish the second part of your training plan.

To conclude, if your objective is in keeping with your current potential, the preparatory race will probably run smoothly.

Here is an example of a preparatory race for running a marathon in 3 1/2 hours, i.e. 12 km/h:

Run a half marathon about 4 weeks before the marathon by running the first 15 km at your planned marathon pace (specific speed of 12km/h) and finish the race at the pace you want.


The disadvantages:

- A preparatory race involves splitting the training plan in two parts. This therefore involves extending the overall preparation because you will need to schedule a short period during which the training is lighter prior to the race and several days of recovery after the race.

- If you have a competitive personality, there is a danger of it becoming an objective in its own right leading to two objectives instead of one with the corresponding repercussions in terms of physical and mental fatigue.

- If it does not go as planned, it will force you to re-examine your capacity to achieve the target you have set yourself for later. Rather than bolstering your confidence, it will sow the seeds of doubt.


In conclusion

A preparatory race is therefore not absolutely necessary to attain the objective. you must take into account how you feel, your aspirations and your prior experience in order to decide on whether you need it or not. Good luck for your training and races!