A few weeks ago I described the “balancing act” I face between (a) doing so many races this summer, and (b) training sufficiently to swim races such as the 10K. I just realized I never followed up on that post!
So, what’s the strategy? As the title implies, I time the intensity of my training around the races. What that means in practice is that I do my most intense workouts (including weight-lifting) near the beginning of the week, and reserve the end of the week (Friday, and possibly Thursday as well) for recovery. Then, come what may on Saturday, I’m ready to perform.
The elegant part of this strategy is that recovery days should already be part of the training plan – whether or not I have a race on the weekend. Work followed by recovery is how the body gets stronger. Training intensity that follows (approximately) a sine curve over time will be more effective than a flat line.
The only adjustment I make is that my recovery days are fixed – always at the end of the week rather than scattered at random. If I don’t have a race on the weekend, I’ll use Friday for recovery anyway – but then do something intense-ish on Saturday to keep the cycle going.