Thursday, December 14, 2017

Knowing how to train

Training to be the best runner you can be, involves knowing how to train.

As we approach the holiday season (aka the off season for racing in Upper Michigan) I thought it would be a good time to blog about building your training plans for the 2018 season.  If you want to be able to realize all of your potential and race the best that YOU can, it involves so much more than just going out to beat the pavement at the same pace everyday.  You have to first understand the different types of workouts, then apply them to your goal race. 

These principles apply to all runners... regardless of pace.  If you follow the basic training principals, you can put yourself into the best position to succeed.

I have spent countless hours reading every book running I can get my hands on (I consider Daniels Running Formula and Advanced Marathoning by Pfitzinger and Douglas to be the best) and learning from from the best runners who have taken me under their wing over the years.  This blog reflects my research.

The Goals

This training plan is based on solid science, and its physiological facts from proven sources and years of experience.  It should produce maximum results and reduce the risk of injury and help you understand how to train at the right pace for the right distance on the right days.

Five types of workouts in a training plan
  1. Basic speed
    1. This is short fast speed work to improve leg turnover and running form
      1. It is how fast you can run all out, but not how far.
    2. Basic speed is the least important to distance runners
      1. But still needed for that finishing kick
    3. Speed is stride frequency times stride length.
    4. Strides
      1. Accelerate smoothly up to full speed then hold that for 50 meters then decelerate
      2. Maintain good form stay relaxed
  2. VO2Max
    1. Longer reputations of 2 - 6 minutes at 3 to 5k pace improve VO2Max
      1. It is difficult to hold VO2Max pace for much longer than 6 minutes
    2. VO2Max is your aerobic capacity
      1. A combination of your genetics and your training determine how high of a VO2Max you have
    3. Possible to improve your capacity by 20 to 30%
    4. Can estimate your VO2Max based on your recent race times as a rough estimate
      1. Typically it is between your 3k and 5k pace
    5. Best way to improve it rapidly is by running 2.5 to 5 minutes of intervals per workout
    6. One high volume workout at 95 to 100 percent VO2Max per week
    7. Improve most rapidly by running repetitions of 2 to 6 minutes of duration, which is about 600 to 1600 meters for most runners
    8. Speed of these workouts is important
      1. It is narrow band where you don't want to go too fast or too slow or you aren't getting the true benefit of the workout
    9. Recovery should be long enough to bring heart rate down to 65 percent
      1. As a guideline the rest between intervals should be from 50 to 90 percent of the interval time
      2. Active recovery is recommended with slow jog
  3. Lactate Threshold (LT)
    1. It is an intensity level of exercise above which the metabolic waste product lactic acid accumulates in the blood faster than the circulatory system can remove it
      1. Lactate is a byproduct of carbohydrate metabolism
      2. VO2Max plateaus but your lactate threshold continues to increase
    2. Your LT determines how fast you can race
      1. When racing you select a pace that prevents the accumulation of lactate
        1. Lactate threshold is more important when running beyond 10k
        2. For 10km VO2Max and lactate threshold are equally important.
        3. For 5km it is more VO2Max
          1. For shorter races you can exceed your lactate threshold
      2. Lactate threshold occurs at about 15k to half marathon pace
        1. Lactate threshold is at about 85 to 92 percent of maximal heart rate
    3. Best way to improve lactate threshold is to train at or slightly above your lactate threshold.
      1. LT training is a determinate of your endurance, the ability to maintain a certain pace for a prolonged distance
      2. Higher the lactate threshold (percentage of VO2Max) the better the distance runner you are
    4. Three Types of LT Workouts
      1. Tempo runs
        1. A continuous run of 20 to 40 minutes at lactate threshold
          1. Tempo runs of 20 to 40 minutes at ten mile race pace to delay lactic acid build up
          2. Two mile warm up, 4 miles at 15 k to half marathon race pace and a short cool down
      2. LT Intervals
        1. Can gain a similar benefit by breaking your tempo run into two to four segments.
          1. We call these cruise intervals.
          2. A short break in between sometimes can help mentally and phyiscally
        2. Three repetitions of 8 minutes at lactate threshold with 3 minutes of recovery.
        3. Its how much time you accumulate at LT that counts
        4. These can be 3x2 mile, 2x3 mile, etc
      3. LT Hills
        1. Hill repeats or mix in hills at lactate threshold during a long run
        2. Hills also make you stronger
  4. Long runs
    1. Used to build endurance
    2. You need to be able to cover the distance on race day
    3. With pure endurance runs you are testing the limits of how far you can run without having to slow to a jog
    4. By increasing the distance of your long run and secondarily your weekly mileage you gradually increase the capacity of your muscles to store glycogen.
      1. Glycogen is the stored form of carbohydrate in your muscles.
    5. Some experts say that long runs are at 70 to 85 percent of max heart rate or at 1 to 2 minutes slower than your half marathon pace
      1. Start off long runs at 90 seconds slow and work toward 40 seconds slow
      2. Long runs will rarely be at the same pace for the entire run
      3. Most experts I consider experts say that ideally you work in up to 50% of the long run at marathon goal pace
        1. After all, when you are able to run 22 miles in training, if 15 of that can't be at marathon goal pace, then how can you expect to run 26.2 miles at that pace on race day?
  5. Rest
    1. Easy recovery runs to allow top effort on the other days
    2. Rest is very important and should not be ignored but placed strategically within your week
Again depending on your goal race / distance, which workouts you do will vary.  And within the full macro-cycle of your training, each week may vary pending the purpose of the micro-cycle.  So while a perfect week for marathon training with 4 weeks to go might look something like this below, the very next week may differ.

  • Monday: VO2Max 4x1200m
  • Tuesday: Easy 3-5 miles
  • Wednesday: Endurance 10-12 miles
  • Thursday: LT 30 minutes at LT or 3x2 mile at LT
  • Friday: Easy/Rest
  • Saturday: Long Run 18-22 miles or Race (half marathon) 
  • Sunday: Easy

Good luck with your training!