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Does racing provide any PHYSIOLOGICAL benefit? (Read 916 times)


Cool as a Cucumber

    I was discussing this with my friend this morning: while there is a lot of mental benefit to racing to improve your times, is there any physical or physiological benefit? Does racing help develop speed? endurance?

     

    Just curious.

    The pavement fears me.

    xor


      I'm gonna guess that depends on the race and how you run it.

       


      day after day sameness

        ...while there is a lot of mental benefit to racing to improve your times...

         

         

        Do you have anything to support this generalization? Personally, and from talking to others, it seems many folks find racing something other than encouraging. The cold hard facts of race times can't be ignored. 

        Choosing my words carefully has never been my strength I've been known to be vague and often pointless

          Of course it does, as long as you recover properly.

          Runners run.


          A Saucy Wench

            It's a workout.  If you race it it is a hard workout.  If you "run to finish" its an easy or a long run"  If you pansy ass around with your friends holding hands and singing kumbaya its a recovery run. 

             

            Unless you are injured or sick and would benefit from a weekend on the couch with tea and kleenex.

            I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

             

            "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

            xor


              What if  I pansy ass around by myself?

               

                I was discussing this with my friend this morning: while there is a lot of mental benefit to racing to improve your times, is there any physical or physiological benefit? Does racing help develop speed? endurance?

                 

                Just curious.

                Are you seriously asking this question?  Well, let ME ask YOU this question then; why are you training and what are you trying to achieve by training?  Suppose there's no benefit at all, mentally OR physiologically--and some people might argue if they can't quantify it--, would it matter IF your objective is to race well.  Have you heard the term; "dress rehearsal"?  Why do they do it?  What do they do that for?  Does racing help develop speed or endurance?  What event are you talking about?  Are you talking about a 1500m race for a marathon runner?  Or a half marathon race for a 5k runner?  If you start racing, say, a 5k; just by racing, your time will come down mainly simply because you'll get used to racing a 5k.  Do you need to know the physiological reasons why it happens?  It's nice to know but does it really matter?  Usually, my understanding is; you train to race well.  You race so you can race better.  End of story.


                Cool as a Cucumber

                  Are you seriously asking this question?  Well, let ME ask YOU this question then; why are you training and what are you trying to achieve by training?  Suppose there's no benefit at all, mentally OR physiologically--and some people might argue if they can't quantify it--, would it matter IF your objective is to race well.  Have you heard the term; "dress rehearsal"?  Why do they do it?  What do they do that for?  Does racing help develop speed or endurance?  What event are you talking about?  Are you talking about a 1500m race for a marathon runner?  Or a half marathon race for a 5k runner?  If you start racing, say, a 5k; just by racing, your time will come down mainly simply because you'll get used to racing a 5k.  Do you need to know the physiological reasons why it happens?  It's nice to know but does it really matter?  Usually, my understanding is; you train to race well.  You race so you can race better.  End of story.

                   

                  Hah, yeah, I'm seriously asking the question. As what I tried to allude to by announcing that it was only a curiosity, it doesn't matter. You said it perfectly:

                   

                   

                  Do you need to know the physiological reasons why it happens?  It's nice to know but does it really matter?

                   

                  No, it doesn't matter.

                   

                  I agree with your understanding: you train to race well; you race to race better. However I was just wondering what goes on in the realm of supercompensation after a 5k race for a 5k runner. You're right, I forgot to be specific. But my question still stands: WHY does racing a certain race make you better at that race?

                  The pavement fears me.

                    Treedog:

                     

                    Besides, as you had mentioned, the mental aspect of it; by racing, or time-trialing at similar distance, you will become more efficient at running near race pace (specificity) over the distance.  I can't really explain what happens inside physiologically--someone might be able to if he/she can explain scientifically why dogs learn not to pee inside the house when they get spanked if they do so--but pretty much the same thing; you learn, not just in your head by with your body that, if you take off too fast, you'll die at the end, so you just learn to run more evenly; or your body will lean to run at, say, 6-minute-pace 3 times in a row by running 6-minute-pace 3 times in a row.  This is something we don't quite learn by running, say, a half mile faster than 6-minute pace 6 times.  For some reason, a lot of people don't seem to get it; I think it's L-Train or whatever his name was; he recently PRed in a 5k which is great.  But he shared his lap time and his 3rd mile was significatly (enough) slower than the first and the second one; with the first one quite a bit faster.  A typical reaction for doing a lot of interval type workouts faster than race pace but never learn to run a 5k.  Naturally, his body is used to running faster than 6-minute pace (or whatever the target pace was); but his body was also looking for some recovery rest after a certain duration.  I know of a well-known European coach who always emphasize "specificity" and has his runners do lots of race=pace (or faster) intervals.  But what's so specific about it if you break it down into short segments?  There's no rest period in a race!!  Whether it's mental or physiological, I don't know.  But it's so logical. 

                     

                    Of course, it's not easy doing races or time trialing near race distance all the time.  Specificity doesn't mean running the race distance at near race pace all the time, which the above mentioned coach seem to advocate.  There are some risks that involves with doing that.  I can't really explain in physiological terms but, basically, you do too much racing and you get stale.  It's something to do with blook pH level or cortisal level or cell membrain break-down or whatever.  If you don't want to call it "pulling aerobic condition down"; I really don't care what it's called, but most experienced coaches would understand that if the athlete race too much, they go stale.  In order to handle, and survive, lots of races or race-specific workouts and continue to improve, you'll have to start with a very solid aerobic foundation.  When it comes to this topic, most people who claim they need to see scientific proof for that, for some reason, turn around and they want to see some practical examples.  Of course, today we have tons of examples of those Kenyans and Ethiopians training very hard/fast week in and week out.; so they claim that that's the way to train.  Well, good luck with that. 

                     

                    We had this young Japanese kid who finished a grad school a few years back.  His thesis was how hill training changed the angle of knees.  Sounds fair but I asked him if that actually made a runner run faster.  He couldn't answer it.  I introduced him to young Coach Watanabe whose team won the national road relay championships a few years back.  He said the same thing--did it make a runner run faster?  Yes it will and running hills is one of the best ways to train.  But there IS such a thing as doing too much hills.  If you never make a transition to running flat (track) fast by doing so, it just won't matter unless you are preparing for all-uphill races.  That's race specificity.  Running lots of short distances faster than race pace with lots of recovery in between is not necessarily that "specific". 


                    A Saucy Wench

                      What if  I pansy ass around by myself?

                      We dont need to know details.

                      I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                       

                      "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

                        It's a workout.  If you race it it is a hard workout.  If you "run to finish" its an easy or a long run"  If you pansy ass around with your friends holding hands and singing kumbaya its a recovery run. 

                         

                        Unless you are injured or sick and would benefit from a weekend on the couch with tea and kleenex.

                         

                        I agree in hopefully a less creepy way.

                        I literally don't care that I use the word literally incorrectly.

                          I think it's L-Train or whatever his name was; he recently PRed in a 5k which is great.  But he shared his lap time and his 3rd mile was significatly (enough) slower than the first and the second one; with the first one quite a bit faster. 

                           

                          L_Master, I think.  Me and PR haven't been together for a while now. 

                           


                          HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                            L_Master, I think.  Me and PR haven't been together for a while now. 

                             

                            I'm really sorry to hear about your relationship troubles. I hope you two can get back together pretty soon.

                            It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.