Optimum competition preparation

Valentin Belz 15. July 2016

He who tests is at an advantage

When you take part in a competition, you are normally nervous and tend to lose the composure that would otherwise set you apart. Experiments are gladly made out of uncertainty, and these can cost you dearly to some extent. It is therefore all the more important that you test as much as you possibly can under competitive conditions prior to your major goal. For example, your training during the week of the competition, your diet prior to the competition, your food during the competition, not to mention your socks, running shoes, and running outfit as well as racing tactics.

Real competitions or simulated competitions 

This is easy for runners. Practically every week they have the opportunity to take part in a run. Whereas triathletes also have many opportunities to take part in a triathlon during the summer months, this is not so easy for racing cyclists, bikers, and skiers due to there being fewer events, which means they are more likely forced to simulate a competition during their training.

The characteristics of a preparatory competition 

Ideally, the distance and duration of exertion in a preparatory competition is shorter than the main competition to ensure the effects of fatigue don’t last too long and the training program can be continued after a short recovery period. The start time, the profile of the route, and the ground conditions should be as similar as possible to those on the day of the competition.

Tips on the length and time of preparatory competitions (for runners)

  • The preparatory competition is shorter than the main competition.
  • It makes sense to select different distances in several preparatory competitions. This ensures that different abilities are trained in line with the competition.
  • Several weeks should lie between the individual preparatory competitions to ensure there will be time both for recovery and the training program.
  • The main competition will be a success with this preparatory competition:

Competition run Preparatory competition test run Time

Marathon Half marathon 4-6 weeks beforehand
Half marathon 10 kilometres 3-5 weeks beforehand
10 kilometres 5 kilometres 3-4 weeks beforehand
5 kilometres 3 kilometres 2-3 weeks beforehand

Foto: Alphafoto