The five phases of training for a 10K or marathon race.
Run sprints of about fifty meters, but with a fast jog of fifty meters recovery. You could start with a mile of these efforts; build to three miles as you get used to them. This is similar to the fartlek of 40 weeks ago, or the bends and straights in preparation for interval training. Now though, in addition to the efforts being fast, the rest must be fast. Your body is not allowed to recover completely. This develops speed and will help you cover an opponents race burst. Run it as a sprint...coast...sprint...coast. Don’t ease to a jog at the end of each stride. The six minute mile 10K runner should be sprinting at 5:30 pace and coasting at 7:00 pace. The ‘coasting’ section does not last many seconds--but nor does the fast part. The cumulative effect after a mile, or sixteen of these efforts is your goal. Your net pace is close to tempo run speed, yet you’ll be working more of the fast twitch muscle fibers. Sprint drills. You should have been working on running form from week one of your training. That was the purpose of the form hints and fartlek in Chapter One. Now you can run some 150 meter strides working on a relaxed, fast running action. Speed up in five stages every ten meters, maintain at maximum speed for fifty meters or so, then run out (ease down) over the last fifty meters. Run these on well groomed grass if possible. Lean forward while staying tall. Run off of your forefoot. Reduce wasted motion...keep the head still. Feel the surface, pull the surface back to you and devour the ground. Push off from the toes with full leg extension--at the hip and in the calf muscles. Practice these strides on their own as a separate session, then do four to six acceleration runs at the end of a track session once a week. Differentials The differential involves splitting an interval into two parts. Run the first part at 10K pace to take the stuffing out of your legs: Then, accelerate pace by four or five seconds per 400 meters--to about 2 mile race pace. Do fewer efforts with longer recovery than in an even paced session. For example: 8 x 800 in 2 min 30 secs with half lap jog could become 6 x 800 first lap 77 secs, second lap 73 secs, with a full lap jog. 12 x 400 in 72 secs with half lap jog becomes 8 x 400 split 37/35, with a full lap jog. Downhills Running up a slight hill costs almost twice as much energy as you gain coming down that hill. Practice both ways with relaxed form. Downhills teach you relaxation. Run perpendicular to the slope--work the arms to increase leg speed and stride. Run downhill reps of 200 to 400 meters. Spring off your calf at maximum leg speed. Swing those legs through close to your buttocks. Start with two or three efforts...increase the number as the buttocks, hamstrings and calves get used to the effort and speed. This session gives the soleus muscle a bonus workout. Wind. You can do long reps with the wind to help your legspeed, or while resting up pre-race. To improve legspeed, run the reps at what you consider to be your normal intensity...at long rep heartrate for those who use a monitor, while letting the wind push you to a faster pace. Stay relaxed though, or you will lose the benefit. Running with the wind you can have 2 mile legspeed at 5K effort Pre-race, you can also run at your usual pace, but the effort will be easier as you are pushed by the wind. Jog back into the wind at easy effort. Run fresh in order to run fast. Keep the steady runs easy to allow recovery between speed sessions. When you have more racing experience you can break a session into sets. Run 300s a second faster than you’ve been doing them, but take shorter recoveries. Start with two 300s, and take a fast 100 recovery between the reps. This pair is a set. Run a full lap of the track extra rest before commencing another set of 300s. The first effort will seem easy; maintaining pace on the second and third 300s gets progressively harder. For best training effect, the last 300 should be as fast, or faster than the first. When you’ve done this session successfully a couple of times, you can try sets of three, four, then five reps. Five reps will give you a close simulation of a mile race. Don’t do more than three miles of these intervals in a session. Due to the short recovery your muscle lactate levels remains high. This will increase your anaerobic capacity and lactate tolerance...the amount of lactate your muscles can hold before forcing you to slow down. Increasing lactate holding capacity before it makes you slow down, will allow you to maintain high speeds longer. Exercise physiologists would call it increasing your ‘buffering system’ or ‘buffering capacity’. Like running at two mile pace, you breath deeper, thus increasing the maximum quantity of oxygen your lungs can take in, and which your blood has the opportunity to absorb. You can also run 200s with an even shorter rest if you intend to race at 2 miles.
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