October 13, 2011

How to Be a Faster Runner: Part IV

If you’ve followed the prescription in the first three articles in my running series, then you’ve started to unlock the code to becoming a faster runner.  Now with that solid training in the bank it’s time to get specific.   But before we pull back the curtain on race specific run training let’s do a little recap to make sure we’re all on the same page.

At this point, depending on your fitness and previous training background you should have spent a minimum of 10 – 12 weeks on the low end and as much as 18 -24 weeks or longer to get ready for race specific training.  If you’re relatively new to the sport or you’re stepping up in distance then be patient and give yourself more time to allow your body to gradually adapt, particularly to running, to reduce the chance of frustrating injuries.  Each phase (prep & base I, base II, and speed/ muscle capacity) builds on the previous phase to get you ready both physically and mentally for race specific training.  Now let’s get to some race training.

The Plan

To keep it simple the plan will only list three key run sessions per week.  Incorporating more running is fine and recommended just keep it in the easy/recovery zone.  Also, the run duration in this plan is for Ironman distance.  If your race is a 70.3 the same framework applies you’ll just need to dial it down accordingly.  Just like the previous phases, the plan is organized into three week blocks with the third week (weekend) as recovery time…plan on training Saturday and Sunday except on recovery weeks.

Training Plan:  The Variables

  1.  W/U & W/D (Warm-up & Warm-down):  Always, always, always W/U & W/D for every hard run session.
  2. LT:  Lactate ThresholdThe exercise intensity (Heart Rate) where blood lactate rises exponentially.  It’s considered the best predictor of endurance exercise performance.
  3. RI:  Rest Interval:  Easy running or walking
  4. Split Run:  2 runs in the same day.  Do one in the morning and the other later in the day.  If you really want to improve, do a 30–60 minute trainer ride before the 2nd run…highly recommend a trainer ride before the second run on long run days!
  5. T-run:  Transition run:  A run within 5 -10 minutes of completing a ride…immediately after is best.
  6. Drills:  Incorporate single leg kick-butt drills, active breathing, and counting your stride rate regularly into each run…being more mechanically efficient is free speed.
  7. Fatigue Test:  The goal is to determine your ability to resist fatigue.  The easiest way to perform this test is on a track or measured course.  Time each repeat and compare the times.  Generally, if the increased time to cover the distance is greater than 5% than you need to add volume.  If less than 5% than you need to work more on speed work.

 

Test and Aerobic Conditioning:  10 – 12 Weeks before race.

Week 1:  Test & Run Volume week:  Goal total run volume = 40+ miles (65+ km)

  • 1st Run:  60 – 75 Minute run w/Fatigue Test:  3 x 6 laps on track @ LT/5 minute RI
  • 2nd Run:  60 Minute split run:  30 minute run/30 minute T-run
  • 3rd:  Long run:  2.5 hour split run (1.5 Hrs/45 minutes) w/4 x (5×30 seconds fast/30 seconds easy) in the 1st run…do this run on Saturday and do a 2 – 3 Hr ride on Sunday.

Week 2:   Bike Volume Week

  • 1st Run:  60 – 75 minute LT Run:  4 x 5 minutes @ LT/2 minute RI followed by 10 minutes @ LT
  • 2nd Run:  60 Minute split run:  30 minute run/30 minute T-run
  • 3rd Run:  Long run:  90 minutes w/4 x (5×30 seconds fast/30 seconds easy)…do this run on Saturday and your long ride on Sunday.

Week 3:  Recovery Week: 

  • 1st Run:  75 minute LT run:  5 x 5 minutes @ LT/2 minutes RI followed by 10 minutes @ LT
  • 2nd Run:  60 Minute split run:  30 minute run/30 minute T-run
  • 3rd Run:  30 – 45 Minute easy run or take a long walk…do this on Saturday and take Sunday off.

 

Race Build I:  7 – 9 Weeks before race

Week 1:  Run Volume week:  Goal total run volume = 40+ miles (65+ km)

  • 1st Run:  75 Minute run: w/Fatigue Test:  3 x 8 laps on track @ LT/5 minute RI
  • 2nd Run:  60 Minute split run:  30 minute run/30 minute T-run
  • 3rd Run:  3 hour split run (1.75 Hrs/45 minutes) w/4 x (5×30 seconds fast/30 seconds easy) in the 1st run…do this run on Saturday and do a 2 – 3 Hr ride on Sunday.

Week 2:  Bike Volume Week

  • 1st Run:  75 Minute LT run:  6 x 5 minutes @ LT/2 minute RI followed by 10 minutes @ LT
  • 2nd Run:  75 Minute split run:  30 minute run/45 minute T-run
  • 3rd Run:  Long run:  2 Hrs w/4 x (5×30 seconds fast/30 seconds easy)…do this run on Saturday and your long ride on Sunday.

Week 3:  Recovery Week: 

  • 1st Run:  75 Minute run: 10 minutes @ LT/2 minute RI, 12 minutes @ LT/2 minute RI, 15 minutes @ LT
  • 2nd Run:  75 Minute split run:  30 minute run/45 minute T-run
  • 3rd Run:  30 – 45 Minute easy run or take a long walk…do this on Saturday and take Sunday off.

 

Race Build II:  4-6 Weeks before race

Week 1:  Run Volume week:  Goal total run volume = 40+ miles (65+ km)

  • 1st Run:  90 Minute run: w/Fatigue Test:  3 x 10 laps on track @ LT/5 minute RI
  • 2nd Run:  90 Minute split run:  45 minute run/45 minute T-run
  • 3rd Run:  Long run:  3.25 – 3.5 Hrs Split run (2.25 – 2.5/60 minutes) w/4 x (5×30 seconds fast/30 seconds easy) in the 1st run… do this run on Saturday and do a 2 – 3 Hr ride on Sunday.

Week 2:  Bike Volume Week

  • 1st Run:  90 Minute run: 4 x 10 minutes @ LT/2 minute RI
  • 2nd Run:  90 Minute split run:  45 minute run/45 minute T-run
  • 3rd Run:  Long run:  2 Hr run w/4 x (5×30 seconds fast/30 seconds easy)…do this run on Saturday and your long ride on Sunday.

Week 3:  Recovery Week: 

  • 1st Run:  90 Minute run:  8 x 5 minutes @ LT/2 minute RI
  • 2nd Run:  90 Minute split run:  45 minute run/45 minute T-run
  • 3rd Run:  30 – 45 Minute easy run or take a long walk…do this on Saturday and take Sunday off.

 

Race Prep & Taper:  1 – 3 weeks before race

Week 1:  Taper Week One

  • 1st Run:  75 Minute run:  8 x 5 minutes @ LT/2 minute RI
  • 2nd Run:  75 Minute split run:  30 minute run/45 minute T-run
  • 3rd Run:  Long run:  90 Minute split run (60 minute/30 minute) w/4 x (5×30 seconds fast/30 seconds easy) in the 1st run.

Week 2:  Taper Week Two

  • 1st Run:  60 Minute Run:  8 x 2 minutes fast/3 minute RI
  • 2nd Run:  50 Minute split run:  30 minute run/20 minute T-run
  • 3rd Run:  50 – 60 Minute run w/2 x (5×30 seconds fast/30 seconds easy)…do this run on Saturday and your ride on Sunday.

Week 3:  Race Week

  • 1st Run:  30 Minute run:  6 – 8 x 20 second strides
  • 2nd Run:  20 Minute run:  4 – 6 20 second strides
  • 3rd Run:  10 – 15 Minute run the day before the race w/4 – 5 10 second strides

Remember, being faster on race day is all about the process.  So stay with it, be consistent, and have fun passing everyone else at the end of the race.

That’s it for this week so until next time train safe, stay healthy, and hope to see you at the races.

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