This is an exercise regime for people that have run or have the capability to run between 3 and four hours. It is necessary to be honest in your assessment of your capabilities. Do not jump into these workouts unless you have a serious background in running and you have completed the base training portion of the workout.
To review, there are three main components to running, Strength, speed and endurance. We have focused on the endurance side during the Base training phase. We will continue the weekly Long Runs to increase endurance. During the week, we will also be focusing on increasing speed and strength. There are several different types of workouts to choose from, as not everyone will have access to hills or a track. This is this is the hardest group to write for as there is a much wider range of runners that fall into this category. There are women that are just shy of the elite level. There are other runners that have been running for many years. There are younger runners that are experienced in the shorter races that are now moving up to the longer distances. So that said there is no one single cookie cutter approach that will neatly fit everyone needs. There will be many different running charts. It will up to you to find one that best fits your needs.
Many running programs are based on finding the proper training is a balance between aerobic conditioning and anaerobic conditioning. I agree with most of that premise, but I feel that a more accurate system is one that has a proper combination of endurance, speed and strength. We will focus on all three components
Some of the principles in this website were developed by Arthur Lydiard in the 60’s. These principles have withstood the test of time and most good coaches use some variation on the concept he developed. If one wants more advanced information than what my site provides. It is my suggestion to go to this link and also browse around other portions of Lydiard’s site.
This is an exercise regime for people that have run or have the capability to run between three and four hours. It is necessary to be honest in your assessment of your capabilities. Do not jump into these workouts unless you have a serious background in running and you have completed the base training portion of the workout.
I will give a brief overview on the goals of some of the runs on the charts.
We will address the mechanics of a hard run. For some this is known as a tempo run. I avoid this term as many runners confuse the concept of the run, as a run being at a set pace. In fact, these runs, for some turn into mini races, which may have short term benefits, but can also lead to burnout or injuries. For example Let’s say you have a hard 7 mile run on Tuesday. This does not mean that the moment you are out the door you are running at full pace. The first several miles should be at a very easy warm-up pace. Some people like to run a couple of miles and then stop and do their stretching. That also is a reasonable option. After the warm-up, ease into the pace and then slowly build up the pace. Some people advocate trying to run at what you think is race pace. I personally feel you should be running faster than marathon race pace for a portion of the run. I think a large portion of the run should be just at the edge where one is going into true oxygen debt. So pace is determined, by terrain, how much you have worked out the previous days, and how good you feel. If you are having one of those days where everything feels great and you are running 30 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace, then push it and reap the benefits of a good run.
The overall goal is to work hard enough to fatigue your muscles because they are being deprived of Oxygen. Unlike a speed workout, you should be trying to find a balance where you are running at the edge of oxygen debt, but not going so fast as not to being able to maintain pace.
For the strength portion of the run. I am a big proponent of running hills. One thing is great about running uphill is the minimal stress it puts on the body. There is less chance in getting injured in these types of workouts as opposed to running hard track workouts. There are two types of hill workouts. One is to find a giant hill/ mountain and run up it. The longer the slope the better. I am even OK with having a point to point run as opposed to a circular route. This will avoid the downhill portion of the run, Now this is important. I am not keen on running hard down hill. If the slope is more than 4 degrees downhill then literally just jog. I think this is one good place to avoid injuries. The benefits of running downhill hard does not justify the increased probability of getting injured. Many people are very interested in VO2 max. I avoid this. It is a given that as you get in shape your V02max will get stronger. What people really should focus on is Max Stroke Volume and Max Stroke Endurance. Max Stroke Volume is the amount of blood that is being pushed through the heart, while Max stroke endurance is the length of time the heart is at Max Stroke Volume before the entire body become fatigued. These extended long hill runs specifically targets both the volume and endurance aspects of the heart. This is one of the keys to running! One can see increased performance results by maximizing the capabilities of this muscle.
In the second type of hill workout, the object is to find a steep hill about 200m to 400m long. We will do a number of repeats up the hill. The number is based on how long and steep the hill is. The shorter the distance, the greater number of repeats. Again the recovery should just be a very slow jog back down the hill. In this workout, one should be very conscious of the use of your arms. Use your arms to your advantage. The arms drive the tempo of the pace. The idea is to be in full oxygen debt at the end of the interval.