Principles of Training
Becoming a quicker runner is like baking a cake. To get the best results you need to get the right ingredients in the right quantities. Too much of any one ingredient and your “cake” will fail.To make our endurance athlete cake we need the following ingredients:
Strength – Be strong, but not like Arnie.
Hills are your friend when working on running strength. Gym weight sessions are also useful. You should be looking to do high reps with lower weight so as not to bulk up with too much muscle.
Speed – We need to be able to run fast.
Short interval sessions and vO2max sessions are king and promoting leg turnover, and good running form whilst at pace.
Speed Endurance – No good being able to run fast if we can sustain it.
Lactate threshold runs of up to 1hr in duration build up the mental and physical tools for sustaining efforts over a long period of time.
Endurance – Gotta’ go the distance.
As endurance athletes if we can’t run the distance then we might aswell stay in bed. Before we begin, it’s important to understand how the body use’s energy.The human body uses several systems for producing energy.
· ATP-PC System (Phosphogen System) - This system is used only for very short durations of up to 10 seconds. The ATP-PC system neither uses oxygen nor produces lactic acid if oxygen is unavailable and is thus said to be alactic anaerobic. This is the primary system behind very short, powerful movements like a golf swing, a 100 m sprint or powerlifting.
· Anaerobic System (Lactic Acid System) - Predominates in supplying energy for exercises lasting less than 2 minutes. Also known as the Glycolytic System. An example of an activity of the intensity and duration that this system works under would be a 400 m sprint.
· Aerobic System - This is the long duration energy system. By 5 minutes of exercise the O2 system is clearly the dominant system. In a 1 km run, this system is already providing approximately half the energy; in a marathon run it provides 98% or more.The goal of a vO2max session, is to work the body’s anaerobic .
vO2max relates to how much oxygen your body can carry for a given volume of blood. In simple terms, a higher vO2max values means more oxygen per ml of blood. This in turn means that the heart has to beat fewer times to supply the oxygen required by the muscles to work.Given that it takes up to 2minutes to expend your anaerobic energy, when performing shorter intervals (200m or 400m) we need to prevent the body from being able to fully recover between efforts. To do this we keep the recovery periods shorter.
Some sample v02max sessions would be:
6x 800m with 3mins recovery
12x 400m with 2minutes recovery
24x200m with 200m recovery
vO2max sessions (REPS) should make up around 6%-8% of your total weekly miles.
Lactate Threshold (Tempo) releates to how efficient your muscles are at using the oxygen that it is given. In simple terms, if your body needs if your heart can supply 30 units of oxygen per beat at maximum heart rate, but your body only needs 10 units, then your heart will not need to pump so hard.Lactate threshold runs are as much about the mental aspect as they are about the physical. They are not an easy training session to perform on your own they require you to work around 10k race pace.
Following a mile or two warmup, try one of the following sessions:
4x 10mins with 1min recovery
2 x 20mins with 2mins recovery
Lactate threshold workouts should make up around 12 - 24% of your weekly miles.
Endurance is arguably the easiest system to train. Miles, miles and more miles. The long slow run (90mins+) is the fundamental workout around which all runners should base their plans, with the remainder being made up of shorter recovery runs. Most runners are surprised how easy the bulk of their miles should be. The saying “easy sessions should be easy and hard sessions should be hard” is a useful mantra to follow here. Easy miles should make up around 70-80% of your total weekly mileage with one of these sessions preferably being over 90mins. To see a graph of suggested training Zones click HERE
If you require any coaching advice or more information on how to improve your running ability, then email our club coaches.