Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Peaking....how do you know if you are????

I have been thinking a lot about "peaking for a race" lately and though I understand the concept I am not sure I would know if I was peaking. I been surfing the web and combing books about training searching for the true definition of "peaking for a race", how you know your peaking and what it feels like. Surprisingly to me I have not found much about the topic and I sure haven't come across a concrete definition. I am having some really great runs and my recovery seems to be quick. Along with some other great feeling I am pumped up about this summer and especially WS. All of these uplifting, kick butt, strong as an ox feelings has led me to wonder.....could I be peaking? Since I realized I have no idea what it really feels like to "peak for an event" I went on a hunt for information.

During my search I found a ton about sharpening as that phase seems to be well described and a ton of research has been done about this phase of training. I supose it's because the sharpening phase of training is absolutely necessary in order to have a peak performance. You simply must do a good job at the sharpening phase to have any hope of peaking for you event. Maybe that is why there is in depth writings about sharpening and very little about peaking. Also, maybe peaking is very hard to pin point......just how would you know if you had a peak performance.....a PR......a great day on race day....quick recovery?

It seems that there a ton of measurements for the sharpening phase. Measurements that can help you determine if you are on track with your training and continuing to build endurance and speed. Every running book I own (a lot) all have some kind of measurement with regards to endurance and intensity throughout your sharpening phase. They also have pretty in depth descriptions of how you will feel during the sharpening phase which is very intense as your body ramps ups and adapts to the demanding workloads. When it comes to peaking all the books are very vague but here is what I have found. You know when your are going to peak when.........
  • During your speed sessions you no longer need to force your body through the workout session. Instead your body "surges forward at it own will" and "thirsts to accelerate".
  • About an hour after your training you feel supreme vigor instead of mild fatigue.
  • Your everyday physical activities, like climbing stairs, become easier.
  • You become extremely sensitive to everyday situations and mildly irritable as the body is "prepared for action and ready to fight".
  • As the body becomes flooded with previously latent energy, a heightened se_ual awareness is often evident. (this is "G" rated blog so I won't be talking about this)

I got this from of Lore Of Running by Tim Noakes, MD. When I was doing my web research I found some articles that talked about almost the exact symptoms as the ones above but that is about all I found. The symptoms above tell you that you have sharpened correctly and are getting ready for one kick butt performance. I also found lots of sources that indicate a "peak" doesn't last for more than about 4 weeks meaning you cannot expect to have great performances again and again as your peak will begin to fall.

I have been experiences some real fun highs lately and those moments lead me to ponder why I am feeling so great. Alex and I would leave for school and we would crank up the radio and sing at the top of our lungs then laugh our heads off about how horrible of a singer I was. Once I dropped him off and headed for my run I would again be antsy and be-bopping in my car as I drove to my workout. I'm surprised I haven't gotten a speeding ticket. I am so excited to get to it.....run tempo. On my speed workouts I have to hold myself back because my body is so revved up. I've even taken note that my household jobs are not jobs but more like a way to expend pent up energy, I even cleaned out my closet. Just thinking about WS gives me butterflies but I am not nervous just excited. The weight room is my friend and I am able to lift much heavier and can power through my workouts. I am sitting up straighter and walking with more confidence. I like everyone around me.....must be something in the air!!!!! I haven't noticed an additional irritation but quite the opposite. My body seems to be operating like a well oiled machine with regards to recovery, digestion and don't look tired or beat up. The muscles are beginning to loosen up and feel very springy and plyable. When I put my headphones on I feel like I am in a rock band jamming to my music and seem to be a zone.

I have no idea if I am heading for a peak performance but I thought the changes I have felt in the last couple of weeks were very evident. If I am peaking then bring it on!!! These are some great highs and I intend to milk them for all their worth....enjoying every minute of it.


olga said...

Wow, some serious peaking here! Better use it well!

Anonymous said...

Go Rhonda!!!

olga said...

Hi, Ronda
Was it your car this morning at Bridal Veil? Anyway, wanted to thank you for pointing me this loop with 5M downhill - great training, wish I could have done it ealrier, last steep mile I felt it!
I strongly believe you are ready to break 22 hrs, Ronda, I don't know what you have on your mind, but that's what I'd predict. Don't you love prediction gamble? :)
Also wanted to say one more thing, in case between my race and your race I won't be able to visit much or to think straight:) Back 2 years ago, when both of us stood at WS panel on Sunday morning, I was the only one wearing long pants - I was so ashamed of my fattest (and only fat) legs in top 10 girls. When I told it to Maura, she said a great thing: idiot, you have no idea how much people get inspired when they see that normal gals and guys can place high if they work hard and run smart, you give us hope. So here I am telling you: you give me hope. You give me hope that with time, precise training and focus and right attitude we, normal people just like you, can achieve great results. You've been climbing higher and higher every year, working determined, getting faster and stronger, and surely more experienced, and while I am not sure if I can apply the same meticulous training and lifestyle you do for various family reasons, I will always know - it is possible, when and if I decide to.
Now run hard, Ronda, finish Slam with a funfair, and never look back!