Ben Barrows wrote:
I'll also join in the camp of putting that last big vo2max workout less than 2 weeks out (8-12 days or so) from a peak race. My evidence will be purely anecdotal, and I feel like some people have different needs to peak properly, so take it with a grain of salt.
I've done a decent amount of trial and error with my peaking plan, and here's what has seemed to work really well for me from 5k to the half marathon in the past couple of years. I like to touch on all different types of training once in the last 2 weeks, and that includes vo2max intervals, lactate threshold work, maximum speedwork like short hill sprints, the long run, and some really light work at mile race pace or so (short reps, lots of rest). Every one of those sessions is not the most difficult of its type throughout the entire training cycle, but they are definitely not the easiest either - somewhere right in the middle. The only one that is on the more difficult end is the vo2max interval workout, and again, that's somewhere around 10 days out.
For example, let's say the easiest LT workout of a training cycle was 5x1 mile with 1:15 jog rest and the most difficult workout of the cycle was either a 6 mile LT run or 4x2 miles with 2:00 jog rest. For me, a workout somewhere in between the difficulty of those was 6x1600m with 1:00 rest. It's a little bit more volume than the first workout and a little bit faster due to better fitness, but not as high volume as the 4x2 miles and easier than the 6 mile LT run due to having some rest.
I pretty much follow that type of logic for all of those types of workouts that I mentioned. Getting in the vo2max workout earlier in those last 2 weeks is important, throw in the LT workout 4-6 days out, and fill in the blanks with the rest while making sure the long run is at least a week out as well. That's what has worked well for me. Of course, there's a lot of psychology that goes into peaking as well, so that should be taken into account when planning a taper too.
The only thing I question about your 2 week out from race day workout program is the need for a long run. You didn't specify the distance of your long run, so are you referring to a distance that is more than 10 miles during your workout time period?
If so, I have to bring up the literature that it takes 3-4 weeks to recover and to see any benefits from a long run. However, we don't all have the same biological systems, so adaptation varies from runner to runner. You stated that it works for you, and at the end of the day, that is all that matters. Personally, I think the body would still be fatigued, and not be in peak form to sustain the intensity of a 5k- half marathon race. And wouldn't a long run be counterproductive while trying to maintain maximum speed intensity 2 weeks out before race day?
If I'm perceiving your information incorrectly, please let me know.