Thesis to be proved or disproved – For the greatest chance at success coaches must determine the type of muscle fibers an 800-meter runner has prior to calculating the balance between aerobic and anaerobic training.
Term essential for proving this thesis – avoiding overtraining and extra practice
It seems counterintuitive that purposely taking a break instead of doing more practice would be beneficial. Recovery in any sport is the action of taking no action by letting your body and brain relax from your activity. This is important for improvement in any sport, but when it comes to runners, whether than be sprinter or distance runner, recovery is absolutely crucial for success. When strengthening muscles you literally tear then by working them, then let them heal. This healing process is the sore feeling many are familiar with. When sprinters sprint, and distance runners run distance, they rip their muscles and have to let them heal. So part of practicing is letting the body relax and heal from previous stress. What is not part of practicing is ignoring the pain and soreness and running another workout. This will lead to overworking your muscles and can result in possible injury. There are other things extra runners can do like weight training, core workouts, and coordination workouts, but doing more to stress your already worked legs will be detrimental to improvement.
Race stages and race strategy go hand and hand with each other. Both will change depending on what kind of muscle fibers an athlete specializes in. For an athlete with slow twitch fibers they will want to keep a fast pace that doesn’t change through the 800 meters. A consistent pace will allow the athletes to utilize their fibers the way their meant to be utilized. Over the 800 meters they will be completely drained and feel like there is no gas left in the tank, and that’s how you know you raced with the proper strategy. On the other hand a fast twitch fiber athlete will want to explode off the lane an run their first 400 meters 2-3 seconds faster than their second 400 meters. Utilizing the speed these fibers provide is key in this case. The second 400 will hurt immensely more than the first and the last 100 meters will feel like a fight for your life and is usually why the second lap is 2-3 seconds slower, but the speed from the fast twitch fibers will get you through it. The mental aspect in both of these strategies is essential for either succeeding. In the slow twitch case the mental pain is more bearable because the pain doesn’t start until about 600 meters into the race. However in the fast twitch strategy your legs will be burning from the speedy first lap making the second lap a race against yourself. You will have to fight the body’s survival instinct telling you to stop running because of how bad the pain is.
Overtraining syndrome is likely the most counterintuitive idea stemming from athletics. In short dedicated athletes are punished for attempting to get better by doing more than their body can handle over and over. According to Marci Goolsby in her article “What is overtraining,” chasing pain or overreaching is when the muscle soreness goes above and beyond what you typically endure as result of when you don’t take enough rest between training sessions. The answer to getting better to such athletes is going out there and doing more than the competition. In reality the best thing to do is let your body recovery and heal in-between training sessions.
When it comes down to racing, you can push your body past limits that you didn’t know existed, that is if your brain allows it. The mental edge of racing is based off the idea of “who wants it more”. If your so passionate about winning a race or beating a certain time your body will ignore the pain and keep pushing with everything your physically capable of. Training your mental strength differs from person to person, but according to Jim Afremow in the article “9 ways to boost your mental strength” keeping your success in mind and going over what got you to the point your at is an effective strategy to get that mental edge.
In the summer training season of my senior year of high school, I wanted to do absolutely everything extra that I could to give myself an advantage over the competition in the upcoming track season. Among other things I would go for a second run that was slower and shorter than my first the shakeout my legs. I did this for approximately two months before official practices started, and when it did start, I told my coach about what I had been doing for training over the summer. To my surprise he told me that those extra 2 mile runs I did everyday most likely had little to no effect on my fitness. It turns out my body didn’t actual start to work it aerobic system until 4-5 miles into a run so anything short of that did nothing for me. After being told the extra runs I was doing weren’t benefiting me at all I looked at my training plan with an entirely new perspective, as it had already been made to work me to my fullest despite my brain telling me to do more. I should have been doing more recovery instead of more miles. Part of practicing anything is taking a break and letting yourself recovery from what it is that you are practicing. For middle distance athletes, since they are by far the most worked and diverse athletes when it comes to training plans, they have to immediately let their coach know if they feel overworked or are having any sort of unnatural pain. Failure to do so can result in months lost of training and competition. Furthermore, if you feel like you can or should be doing more let your coach know and they’ll give you safe options on what else you can work on that wont risk overtraining.