CAN YOU RUN A RACE EVERY WEEKEND?

You too can't get enough? One race is barely over and you're already thinking about running another next Sunday to make the most of your current fitness? But is it wise to pin on a running bib almost every weekend?

YOU RUN FOR FUN

Although running is a simple sport, there are nevertheless different ways to understand it: people run to feel good, lose weight, make progress or discover new trails. What's good about this sport is that there is nothing to prevent all these types of runner from coming together under the same starting arch!

Recreational runners do not regard competitions as a performance and manage their exertion at a controlled, comfortable pace. They enjoy running in a group along unknown trails rather than trying to surpass themselves to achieve a particular ranking or time.

By not completely exhausting their reserves, these runners retain a certain degree of physical and mental freshness. This can encourage some of them to run one race after another, week after week, without any signs of weariness! With this in mind and staying in tune with your body, it is perfectly possible to register for more and more races without any risk of injuring yourself.

 

COMPETITION OBJECTIVE

Faire une course tous les week-ends

In contrast, other runners swear by time and position, and hence by performance, alone. If you recognize yourself here it is because you are never more motivated than when on a starting line. You want to surpass yourself and push your limits.

Unlike recreational runners, it is impossible for you to run regularly in competitions while also hoping to achieve lasting performance and progress, including on short distances. The tiredness caused by intense exertion during races takes longer to go away than from runs requiring moderate exertion, which include a much greater recovery time. By running more and more races you will gradually accumulate tiredness, which inevitably results in feeling physically and mentally weak. It is therefore important to meticulously plan your season to avoid stagnating, regressing or even injuring yourself. 

 

HOW MANY RACES SHOULD YOU RUN A YEAR?

If you are focused on a specific race during your season, you will follow a specific training plan lasting 8-12 weeks. You can include a preparatory race during this training plan to take stock of your physical fitness.

You can only set yourself 2 or 3 training plans during a season since they must be broken up by recovery periods (2 weeks for a short-distance competition, and up to 6 weeks after a marathon or long trail run). You must take a break during these recovery periods to revive your body.

Even if you are a competitor at heart, you can still register for a race to replace a long run and hence break the monotony of solitary running sessions. But this depends on being able to control your fervour and respect the intensity prescribed by your training plan!

With 3 real objectives and their associated preparation a year, you should therefore not exceed 6-8 races a year, or 9-10 if you can hold yourself back on some training races.

 

Running one race after another does not help runners make lasting progress. But according to each runner's motivations, this can be a way to stay in shape if you approach each one as a training session. And if your competitive spirit reawakens, be sure to ease your schedule to achieve peak fitness at the right time!

Nicolas

This article was written by Nicolas, running adviser at Decathlon Périgueux and passionate about short trail running - 3 or 4 trainings a week

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