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800m-1500m

The Benefits Of High Mileage

The Benefits Of High Mileage

Will running very high mileage actually make you a better runner? It can – but the main reason why it can isn’t what you’d expect. It won’t necessarily improve your aerobic or anaerobic threshold, VO2 Max or general fitness, but it will improve your ability to use fat as an energy source and this is key for racing a marathon.

The late physiologist Al Claremont claimed that high mileage helps you better utilise glycogen, the starchlike substance stored in the liver and muscles that changes into a simple sugar as the body needs it. Carbohydrates in our diet are our main source of glycogen – one reason spaghetti is such a popular pre race meal for marathoners. Glycogen is the preferred fuel for running, but your levels can become depleted within 60 to 90 minutes. Thereafter, your source of fuel is fat, which is metabolised less efficiently.

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Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 6

Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 6

It is well accepted that specialisation in a particular distance requires an athlete to train at both faster and slower speeds in order to bring proper consolidation of overall skill. (‘Multi-Pace Training’ is essentially the fancy term coined by Martin & Coe to recognise this principle.) For example, the training program for a 10000m specialist would likely prescribe sessions involving repetitions at 5000m and half-marathon race pace.
 
But on what basis should you determine these so-called equivalent multiple-event paces for an athlete? The authors offer one such mechanism that may serve as a useful starting point for determining these speeds (at least initially). From there adjustments would of course be made.
 
As you can see in the tables below, these equivalent race times are calculated based on mathematical formulas. This is specific, simple and objective, in contrast to simply ‘guestimating’ what we think our times should be.

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Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 5

Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 5

(1) A training unit is a specific assigned modality of work. Some workouts may contain more than one unit (e.g. a 40min fartlek will feature both aerobic and anerobic conditioning zones). This counts as two units of training.

(2) It assumes that a macrocycle lasts one year (52 weeks): 4 weeks of recovery (X0), 33 weeks of work (X1 to X4), 3 weeks of fine-tuning (X5) and 12 weeks of competition (X6). Depending on how frequently you race during the year, you may need to shorten the micro/meso/macrocycles.

(3) Marathon runners have a somewhat unique necessity for specific emphasis on high-volume aerobic conditioning each week. Thus, their total training distance will often be higher than outlined above.

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Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 4

Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 4

The four multi-pace training domains provide different physiological stimuli and subsequent adaptations that are necessary for a well-rounded distance athlete:
 
1) Aerobic Conditioning (aka ‘base work’ or ‘conversational running’)
This comprises the bulk of a distance runner’s training, especially during X1 to X3 mesocycles. It is characterised by large volumes of continuous, longer-distance running. Recommended pace is 55-75% of VO2 max pace or 70-80% of maximum heart rate (to determine these parameters, scroll to the bottom of this article).
 
The goals are to improve cardiovascular performance, stimulate slow-twitch muscle fibres, and promote tendon/ligamental adaptation. Note that excessive aerobic conditioning may risk tendon or ligamental injury because they are adapt to higher loads compared to muscles. Try not to run on crowned road surfaces whereby the left and right foot strikes are at slightly different elevations.
 
2) Anaerobic Conditioning
This is typically characterised by 15-20min of medium-intensity steady runs with walking recoveries between intervals. Tempo runs are a prime example. The purpose is to run at (or slightly higher than) your anerobic threshold pace – where blood lactic acid levels start to rise more quickly. Having said that, your cardiovascular system should be developed enough (from aerobic conditioning) such that it prevents excessive lactic acid accumulation. As such there should only be marginal anerobic accumulation, making this training load reasonably well tolerated.
 
Run at 80% of VO2 max pace (or anywhere between 75-90%) or 80-90% of max heart rate. Alternatively this approximates to your 15-21km race pace. However, the best practical method for runners to detect their anaerobic threshold pace is an awareness of increased breathing, stopping of conversation, a shift of focus from simply passing time to the actual work of running – a pace which they subjectively perceive as ‘comfortably hard’.

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Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 3

Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 3

This is the third instalment of a six-part series which aims to summarise David Martin & Peter Coe’s Multi-Tier Training System as described in Better Training for Distance Runners.
 
Recall from the previous article that the Multi-Tier Training System can be likened to the construction of a building. As the authors write:
“During one macrocycle (or complete training period, typically approximating one year) the building will be constructed (i.e. the training will be completed). Each level of the building represents a mesocycle (or tier), indicated by X. Thus, multi-tier training is a training plan with several mesocycles, or tiers, each of which has a different assigned goal for athletic development. The length of each mesocycle may vary depending on event requirements, athlete fitness, and the time available.”
 
In this article, we will delve into the specifics of each of the mesocycles of the Multi-Tier Training System. As a refresher, the overall structure is shown below:

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Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 2

Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 2

There are six mesocycles (X1 to X6) which make up one macrocycle, each with their own emphases (aerobic base, increasing intensity, consolidation, fine-tuning, tapering). The order in which these mesocycles are to be completed starts from the bottom (X1) and goes to the top (X6).
 
Within each mesocycle (aka ‘tier’ or ‘level’) there are seven domains (aka ‘rooms’) representing broad categories that classify different training assignments. These domains include aerobic conditioning, anaerobic conditioning, aerobic capacity training, anaerobic capacity training, general mobility, circuits and weights, and health maintenance.
 
The relative proportion of each domain (aka the size of each room) varies depending on the floor. For example, the ‘aerobic conditioning’ room is largest on floor X1, whereby the emphasis is on establishing an aerobic base.

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Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 1

Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 1

Periodisation refers to the arrangement of specific training elements into a unified plan with the aim of producing a single peak race performance at the end of the season. Prior to the 1950s, the planning and sequencing of training sessions were relatively crude; runners adopted common-sense training principles involving a basic cycle featuring hard work (with stress and fatigue), then recovery (with repair and regeneration), then an improvement in performance which leads into another cycle all over again. In the 1950s, New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard pioneered the first major periodised training system which prescribed an intentional separation of the training season (macrocycle) into distinct phases (mesocycles) and outlining the order in which different training sessions are to be performed.

In this article series, we will specifically focus on one such non-linear approach called the Multi-Tier Training System. This was proposed by Dr David Martin (Exercise Physiologist) and Peter Coe (Coach of Seb Coe) in the 1980s as outlined in their famous classic ‘Better Training for Distance Runners’. Here, we will learn how to precisely structure various training assignments into a unified periodised training plan that (in the authors’ opinion) will best support an athlete’s development.

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What Runners Should Know About Altitude Training

What Runners Should Know About Altitude Training

Altitude training is a complex topic which has garnered substantial attention in the modern running era. Most athletes are aware of the basic mechanism by which altitude training ought to enhance performance. But the real issue lies in how exactly should we approach this without, in the authors’ words, “disrupting all the other facets of lifestyle that contribute to the well-being of a healthy athlete”.

Here are six frequently asked questions about altitude training:
 
1) Can we quantify the extent to which a certain altitude slows down a marathoner’s performance?

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Alan Webb – Training Towards The American Mile Record (3:46.91)

Alan Webb – Training Towards The American Mile Record (3:46.91)

By April/May he was well and truly ready to transition to racing season. During this time his week would consist of 2 track sessions on Tuesday’s and Friday’s and a 12-15 mile (18-24km) long run on Sunday’s, normally clipping along at 5:30-5:45/mile (3:25-3:40/km) which was comfortable for Webb. He also kept the gym sessions in his schedule.

Some of the mind blogging training sessions Webb completed in the spring of 2007, before embarking on his stellar track season are below.

4 x 1 mile
Times: 4:24 (2min rest), 4:20 (4mins rest), 4:13 (3mins rest), 4:03.
“I ran 4:03 and it was a surreal feeling. I went out in 59-high and I was like, Oh my gosh, I’m doing mile repeats and this is the fourth one? I ‘settled in’ and ran a 62 in the middle of this workout. I was like, This is insane…I don’t think I had ever cracked 4:10 in mile repeats.”

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5 Lactic Tolerance Sessions For 800m/1500m Runners Used By Elites

5 Lactic Tolerance Sessions For 800m/1500m Runners Used By Elites

The following training sessions are aimed at improving the lactic tolerance; your ability to maintain pace as the by-products of repeated anaerobic lactic energy production accumulate and have been extracted from elite runners’ training logs.

1. 5 x 200m @ first 200m of 800m pace (2min recovery)
4min recovery
2 x 300m @ first 300m of 800m pace (2min recovery)
5 min recovery
400m max effort.

Nick Symmonds completed this training session a few weeks before placing 5th at the 2012 London Olympic Games in 1:42:95 (his personal best). He ran the 200m’s in an average of 25.0, 300m’s in 37.5 and 38.0 and 400m in 52.5.

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Training Insights From Norwegian Long Distance Runners

Training Insights From Norwegian Long Distance Runners

Please note: this article was written by a European coach familiar with the Ingebrigtsen’s (and other Norwegian distance runners’) training. The article hasn’t been edited to correct grammar or brevity but rather published as submitted.

Norwegian long-distance runners are on the rise in athletics scene in the last two to three years. Especially the success of the three Ingebritsen brothers and the former European marathon record holder Sondre Moen. But already Ingrid Kristiansen was an outstanding runner from Norway in the 1980’s who has broken several world records from 5000m to marathon. She ran for example 14.37 in 5000m and marathon in 2.21.06 in 1985 and trained with a heart rate monitor and controlled her training by heart rate zone, which was very unknown in the 80’s But also Marius Bakken from Norway ran in the early 2000’s 13.06 in 5000m and he trained in very scientific way, by measuring lactate almost in all his training sessions.

Beginning with Ingrid, who won the London marathon in 1985 with a WR and came from cross country skiing, I want to bring the connection of the training philosophy from cross country skiing in Norway and her training approach in running up. In Norway cross country skiing is a national sport and has far more importance and financial support than long distance running. But the training for both sports has a lot of similarities in terms of distributions of intensity and training volume, as well the movement itself. For example, one of the best cross-country skiers in the world, Therese Johaug, just won recently the Norwegian 10.000m championships on track in 32.20 without specific preparation. Only 30 sec shies of the qualification standard for the world championships this year in Doha.

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Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 6)

Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 6)

Putting It All Together:

So how much time during any portion of a training macrocycle should be devoted to comprehensive conditioning? The authors of Better Training For Distance Runners, David Martin & Peter Coe, remind us that conditioning is merely an aid to running. It is not a substitute for it and must not be overdone. Running will always occupy the majority of the total training effort.

Also remember that middle-distance runners will need more strength, power and flexibility than long-distance runners. Furthermore, the individual strengths and weaknesses of each runner should be identified to construct a unique training plan for the aspiring athlete.

The following table as extracted from Better Training For Distance Runners show an overview of the varied intensity and pattern of circuit, stage and weight training that Seb Coe personally found useful during his macrocycle.

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Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 5)

Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 5)

In this article we discuss number 2 – that is, Seb Coe’s Heavy Weight routine. Coe along with his Loughborough teammates would commence heavy weight training straight up in October (start of macrocycle) and are taken right through to the end of August (1 month before end of macrocycle).

Seb Coe’s Number 1 Heavy Weight Exercise: The Full SquatThis works the four quadricep muscles and the gluteus maximus, an exercise which certainly played an integral role in developing Coe’s superior leg propulsion, knee lift, foot contact and leg extension.

Start with fewer repetitions and lighter weights. Then build up to 2-3 sets of 6 reps @ 1.5 times body weight for men, or 1.25 times for women.The movement should be precisely controlled and proper technique is key. Feet should be shoulder width apart, pointing slightly outwards, knees pointing in the same direction. The Quads will initiate the movement, and at a particular angle or range of motion, the gluteus maximus will be recruited to bring the athlete into an upright position. When descending towards the ground, avoid bouncing at the bottom of the movement but also try not to pause.Interestingly, when Coe managed to build up to 3 sets, Gandy said that a ‘ceiling’ had perhaps been reached at this point in Coe’s strength development.

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Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 4)

Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 4)

In 1979, Coe did something extraordinary in the history of middle distance running. In just 41 days, he set three world records: 800m (1:42:33), 1500m (3:32:03) and the mile (3:48:95). Coe attributed much of the credit to George Gandy, the mastermind behind his strength and conditioning workouts during these crucial years.
 
As Coe recalls, “When I arrived at Loughborough [University] in the late 1970s some of the conditioning work this guy gave me provided the basis for much of what I achieved. It was revolutionary stuff.”
“George Gandy taught me that running on its own was not enough to graduate into the ranks of an Olympian. Supreme core strength and physical conditioning went hand in hand.”

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Renato Canova – Marathon Training (Mileage)

Renato Canova – Marathon Training (Mileage)

Traditionally, it has been thought that a marathoner must always run prodigiously high volumes—upwards of 20 miles a day for the top athletes. In contrast, James Kwambi and Duncan Kibet only run 80-90 miles a week, often only running once per day. However, other elite marathoners like Martin Lel and Robert Cheruiyot maintain 135-150 miles per week.

Whereas low-mileage marathoners run 60% (50 miles a week) of their mileage near marathon pace, higher-volume runners do less than 37 miles per week near marathon pace, and the proportion is much smaller—only 25-30% of the weekly volume. Why is high mileage not necessary for Kibet and Kwambi to run 2:04 marathons? To answer this, we have to return to Canova’s thesis—all non-specific training exists only to support the body’s ability to do race-specific training.

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Renato Canova’s “Special Period” Example Training Sessions

Renato Canova’s “Special Period” Example Training Sessions

Half-Marathon (59:47 PR)
– 7 x 2000m at 100-102% RP, 400m recovery in 2min
– 5 x 3000m at 101% RP, 1000m recovery at 85-87% RP
– 3 x 5000m at 99% RP, 1000m recovery at 85% RP
– 15 km long run at 102 % RP
– 25 km long run at 97% RP

Marathon (2:05 PR)
– 6 x 4000m at 102% RP, 1000m recovery at 89% RP
– 5 x 5000m at 101% RP, 1000m recovery at 89% RP
– 4 x 6000m at 101% RP, 1000m recovery at 89% RP
– 4 x 7000m at 99% RP, 1000m recovery at 91% RP
– 5 x 2000m at 105% RP during a 35km (22mi) long run at 91% RP
– 25 km (15.5mi) long run at 102% RP
– 30 km (18.5mi) long run at RP
– 35 km (22mi) long run at 97% RP
– 40 km (25mi) long run at 92% RP

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