This week, a few humble reasons to persist with those 10-12 mile runs. For experienced runners, Phase One of the 10K training schedule for the Redondo Beach 10K is closing. You will repeat last weeks training, then move to Phase Two in week four. However, most of you are still building toward regular 10-12 mile runs once a week. You are also getting your muscles used to speedy running with fartlek. As we said two weeks ago, add one mile to your long run each week, while also adding one quarter mile of speed running each week: you need to maintain good running form for that extra mileage. Your long run goal is one third of your weekly mileage, or a maximum of fifteen miles for higher mileage runners; your speed training goal is one session using 10 percent of your weekly mileage...as fartlek running. Last week we expanded on the benefits of fartlek running, see
The main benefit from your weekly long run. (10-12 miles for you 30 miles per week runners) is that: You’ll race faster at 10K! But here’s why:
Long runs build the aerobic base or stamina needed to run relatively fast for a relatively long distance such as the 10K. Long runs improve your aerobic pathways at the cellular level, stimulate more and larger mitochondria, red blood cells and Myoglobin. Long runs also prepare you for the hill running, threshold pace and interval training, which you will do in the next three phases. How long should your long run be? Top British coach, and frequent contributor to the British Athletic magazines, Frank Horwill, says that “Physiologists believe steady runs should be at least 35 minutes to get a training effect.” Horwill continues, “Exercise physiologist David Costill reports the volume of steady running alone at 80 percent VO2 max improves fitness by as much as 12 percent to 80 miles per week. After that, there is very little return for the mileage expended. A good way of building to this volume is to add 5 minutes per day per week to the running. A 35 minute per day runner will reach 70 minutes after seven weeks.” You only have 30 miles to play with, so make all your runs greater than 35 minutes, (one of the reasons you only run 4 days a week), and run long once a week, most weeks.
Add muscle strength or endurance because you: Increase the size and number of your mitochondria, which process oxygen and sugar into fuel inside your muscle cells. Increase Myoglobin within the cell, which delivers oxygen to the mitochondria. Expand your capillary network, to bring in nutrients and excrete waste products. Increase the size and number of red blood cells (RBCs)--which bring oxygen to your muscle cells. Increase your blood volume--which takes most of the carbon dioxide to your lungs for excretion. Your RBCs get diluted, so you may appear anemic on blood tests. Build bigger muscle fibers...in the heart and in the running muscles. Develop strength endurance in your diaphragm and intercostal muscles, allowing you to breathe in deeper, more often, more forcefully. Enlarge the chamber size and stroke volume of your heart--increasing the quantity of blood pumped out with each heart contraction. The net result is an enhanced capacity to take in and distribute oxygen. The more of the above factors which you improve with training, the more you will improve your aerobic ability, or your maximum oxygen uptake capacity--VO2 max. Don’t start these long runs too fast. Your legs get tired early, and your muscles fill up with lactic acid--the wastes of running in oxygen debt or anaerobic running. Your running action becomes labored. You’ll be forced to slow down...which is demoralizing. Start runs at 60 percent of maximum HR.
The mileage build-up for racing 10K should not be a slow mileage build-up. Complete your longest run at or above 60 percent of your maximum heartrate. Stay close to 60 percent in the early runs; once you’ve done several long runs, guarantee that your cardiopulmonary system is sufficiently stimulated by running at 70 percent. How do you know what your maximum heartrate is? In your early fartlek running weeks, subtract your age from 220. On your long and your easy runs, you should be able to maintain a conversation without huffing and puffing. Running pace is likely to be 90 seconds per mile slower than your current 10K racing pace. When you’ve worked your way through Phase Two, you can run a maximum heartrate test. Regular long runs, combined with fartlek speedwork at realistic pace, will give you the solid foundation of speed endurance required to race 6.2 miles, or 10K running. Preview next weeks hill training at
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