I just wanted to put together a quick list of run training tips as people are getting more and more into their training. Some are tried and true fundamentals, while others are the best cookie cutter answer I can come up with based on my experience (and blatant stealing from some credible coaches!! ; ^ ).
As always, I'm merely sharing my experiences. At the very least I hope to open a discussion about training. This is, after all, a "triathlon" forum.
RUN SLOW. RUN MORE.
This doesnít mean to simply slog every mile. Training pace should be at between 65% - 80% of max heart rate. Running slow in and of itself will not make you faster. It will give you the opportunity to get in MORE runningÖ.and THAT will make you faster.
BUILD MILEAGE GRADUALY.
Itís best not to increase your mileage by more than 10% from one week to the next. Keep in mind that adding workouts adds intensity. Mileage often needs to be cut back when adding in a workout.
Rule of thumb Ė each minute at Tempo pace (1hr race pace) = 3 minutes of easy running. Each minute at V02max (11 minute race pace) = 5 minutes of easy running. Each minute at Rep pace (5 minute race pace) = 7 minutes of easy running.
UTILIZE TEMPO, REP, HILL, and V02MAX TRAINING APPROPRIATELY.
Itís difficult to hold a peak for more than 4 weeks. I find that 8 month seasons chock full of heavy track sessions to be counterproductive for most people. Focus on building your base of easy running first. 3-4 months out from your goal race (1/2 IM or shorter) you should incorporate 20-40 minutes of tempo running. MODERATE amounts of rep, hill, and V02max training (< 2-4K for most) can be used 2-3months before goal race. Here you are merely preparing your body for hard workouts yet to come. Intense V02max training can be done in the last 4-8 weeks.
For longer races all of the intensity should be cut back, but not necessarily cut out completely. Intensity can be cut back by doing the workouts every other week, cutting the workout volume back, or backing off on the pace.
USE LONG RUNS APPROPRIATELY.
The long run is an important added training stress to stimulate aerobic development. However, donít fixate on it. More often it is your total monthly training volume that is going to get you through your season/long distance race, not necessarily the long run.
I like to see the long run be no more than 65% longer than the next longest run of the week throughout the bulk of your training. Donít make it so long that you need a few days to recover. Only as you get within 3 months of your long event (IM) should you really concern yourself with pushing the limits of your long run. Even then, thereís really no need to go longer than 2:30 to 3:00 hours, even if your run leg will be 5+ hours. It is the total volume of training on the YEAR that will get you through that IMÖ..not 4 hour training runs.
Remember, you run slow so that you can run more. Running slow really does you no good if you are just going to run the same 2 sessions a week that you would if you ran fast.
For the time constrained person I recommend focusing your intensity on tempo training for one workout and some moderate rep training (200s & 400ís) or hill training for the other. For longer races (for which it is even more important to run more), some longer marathon paced runs can be useful.
When substituting in these workouts, remember to be honest with yourself. You arenít doing this to be faster, you are doing it because you donít have the time to train more.
VOLUME of V02MAX TRAINING.
As I told someone earlier, competent collegiate runners will do 25 minutes worth on pace (10x800). These are guys who run 8 Ė 10 hours a week. On the other end of the spectrum, Iíve coached 14 year old novice girls who had no problem doing about 17 minutes worth on pace (5x800). So, realistically, you should probably fit somewhere between those 2 extremes. For a runner, 8% of total training mileage is recommended by Jack Daniels. For a triathlete the number will likely be higher.
EDIT - (did say 12% instead of higher. That, of course, will vary so much depending on what portion of total training the triathlete spends running).
Intervals will be around 3 minutes on (~ 11 minute race pace), 2-3 minutes jogging.
Remember, this is an intense session and only really appropriate for the 4-8 weeks leading up to an Oly, Sprint, and maybe HalfIM (for better runners). The risk of training at this intensity for longer distances is that you will compromise other more important training. That doesnít mean that it canít be done, but use caution and cut back on the intensity (fewer intervals, fewer workouts, slower pace, etc.)
VARY TRAINING SURFACES.
Running on the same type of terrain every day will leave you more likely to get injured. Run on hills, trails, grass, tracks, treadmills, and roads to vary the stress. Work in the occasional aqua jog session if you are beginning to feel aches and pains.
VARY the WORKOUTS.
No need to run the same workout every week. Varying the workout varies the stimulus to cause your body to adapt. It also makes things interesting. Instead of running 6x800 two weeks in a row, try 5x100, or 4x1200, or 1200s and 800s or begin with a 1600 and then 4x800, do a session on a cross country course, etc.
CONSISTENCY is the KEY
No matter what you do, you are better off doing everything wrong but doing it 52 weeks a year rather than training in 2-3 months chunks while taking long vacations from running in between. This doesnít mean you canít take necessary recovery breaks (Greg Watson would take off two weeks after every major race), but avoid the ďthings just got really busy this winter so I stopped running.Ē Even one run every two weeks is better than none.
DONíT CHEAT YOURSELF.
There are no shortcuts to fitness. MORE is more. I have yet to find a program that advocates less than 25% of your total training time to be running. All the biking and swimming in the world isnít going to build the mitochondria and capillaries specific to your running muscles.
-----------------------------Baron Von Speedypants
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