Two Ways to Skin a Cat Or How to Prepare for a Race…
Apologies to all you cat lovers out there.
Option 1: say I am running a Half Marathon (or you can pick the equivalent in cycling/swimming)
I can focus on building my AEROBIC base and run lots of long, slow distance runs and races, mostly in Zone 2. This is what I did when competing. I think I ran a whole year or so doing Marathons and UltraMarathons before I ever did a 5K race. By the time I ran a short race at Zone 3 or 4, it was definitely ANAEROBIC, but my brain and body said: “So what? It will be over soon, we can handle it.”
Option 2 is what I think the famous Emil Zatopek used and it made him the only Olympic runner to win gold in three different events.
Focus on running short distances in Zone 3 or 4 and build the ANAEROBIC base. Now your body is used to blasting away and knows that it won’t have to do it for very long. Then you decide to jump up to that next distance, all you have to do is drop your speed a bit to Zone 2ish, which is probably going to be higher than the average person’s Zone 2 and your body will handle it just fine.