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Training With Tokai University – Ekiden Winning Team

Training With Tokai University – Ekiden Winning Team

The athletes strip down to singlets and shorts. Next% adorn the feet of all but a few athletes, and we follow the fluorescent queue of feet out onto the track. There are a number of students at the infield next to the start line, wearing Tokai tracksuits but evidently not running. Noriaki says they’re the team assistants. The half dozen assistants are gathered around a cooler box and a small whiteboard. The athletes join them and form a circle leaving a gap for the two coaches to make their address. After attentively listening to both coaches speak, a collective bow by the students indicates the session is about to start. Five by one-mile, repeats followed by five two-hundreds. Jogging a lap between each rep. Noriaki explains that he and Moro asked the athletes to keep it very steady, make sure pace was constant.

More Tempo Running – A Key Ingredient To The Kenyan Success

More Tempo Running – A Key Ingredient To The Kenyan Success

For reference, the Kenyan athletes were completing about 60% of their total kilometres as easy runs, 25% as tempo runs, just under 10% as short intervals, just under 5% as long intervals and around 1% as tests/competitions. For comparison the national level athletes completed close to 70% of their total kilometres as easy runs, 10% as tempo runs, around 6% as short intervals, 12% as long intervals and 2% as tests/competitions. 

When considering the application of this for either your own or another athlete’s training it is obviously extremely important to consider the goals, strengths and weaknesses of that specific case however the comparison between athletic levels presented in this study is definitely interesting. If working in a similar time period (10 weeks from major competition) and you’re doing a lot of longer intervals, it may be worth switching some intervals for tempo runs, and hey, Wilson Kipsang does it. 

VO2Max – What is it and Does it Matter?

VO2Max – What is it and Does it Matter?

So why does all this science matter and what does it mean for you? First of all, VO2max is the strongest independent predictor of future life expectancy so everyone out there should be at the very least slightly interested in their own value, athlete or not. Additionally VO2max  becomes especially useful once we consider its impact on athletic performance. 

In order to walk, run or move at all, our body needs to produce energy; we can either produce this energy without oxygen (anaerobic) or with oxygen (aerobic). Any exercise will require energy production from both aerobic and anaerobic systems however their relative contribution is determined by the duration and intensity of the effort. As anaerobic energy production is only possible for a very short period of time, our bodies will always try to meet the energy demands aerobically. In trained individuals it has been shown that during a maximal effort the switch to predominantly aerobic energy systems occurs somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds into exercise as by this point we have “run out” of anaerobic fuel. The rate of work, power output or running pace that an individual can maintain aerobically is determined largely by their VO2max. 

Specific Marathon Training: Hidden Hills 21-Miler (Boston Simulation)

Specific Marathon Training: Hidden Hills 21-Miler (Boston Simulation)

Durden would complete his preparations for the Boston Marathon with a long run that started with a five mile (~8km) warm up to the track at Stone Mountain High School in Georgia. Then the real workout would begin. Durden would run 1km hard – in around 2:50, followed by a 200m jog, followed by a 2km in around 5:50-5:55 (2:55-2:57/km). He would repeat this 3 times through, finishing with a 2km interval which would mean completing the 10km in around 29:00-29:30. But that’s not all…

The Importance Of Consuming Carbs During A Marathon

The Importance Of Consuming Carbs During A Marathon

Due to circulating levels of glucose and the storage capacity of the body, taking in nutrition during events shorter than an hour or so is generally accepted to be unnecessary, although interestingly Geoffry Kamworor consumed some Maurten on his way to smashing the half marathon world record (58:01) in Copenhagen earlier this year. Is this merely for publicity for the company (of which there is no shortage given it has been used by the vast majority of major marathon winners in recent years, as well as by Eliud Kipchoge in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge), or is there more to the story? 

Replenishing the calories that are being burnt during exercise is clearly important to maintain consistent output, but how much do we need to be putting in? Running at a reasonably high intensity (such as the pace in a marathon or half marathon, or competing in a longer event such as an Ironman or ultra) will burn through upwards of 1000 calories per hour, which equates to roughly 250 grams of carbohydrate – or 15 bananas!

Fat oxidation will also be contributing to energy production, the proportion of energy substrate which fat supplies is inversely proportional to exercise intensity. As intensity increases more glucose is used in the place of fat, a proxy measurement for this is the respiratory exchange ratio, which is a ratio of the volume of carbon dioxide released to the amount of oxygen used during exercise. Sitting at slightly below threshold pace fat oxidation will be providing roughly 50% of substrate. However, that still means that, ignoring glycogen stores, you want to be taking in 125 grams of carbohydrate per hour just to replace what is being used. Importantly, endurance training prior to an event increases the mitochondria content in adipose tissue, essentially allowing greater energy production from fat sources over carbs. Efficacy of fat oxidation can further be enhanced through training in a fasted state. Ketogenic diets rely almost completely on fat oxidation for energy production, however we will save rabbit hole for another day. Needless to say, none of the top marathon athletes are adhering to such dietary regimes, but I digress.

Darya Mykhaylova – Training (32:27 10km, 71:36 Half Marathon, 2:28 Marathon)

Darya Mykhaylova – Training (32:27 10km, 71:36 Half Marathon, 2:28 Marathon)

The training volume from Darya differs throughout the season. When she prepares for 10k or half marathons she trains around 130 to 150 kilometres per week. In race season from April to July she covers only 70 to 90 kilometres to be fresh for the competitions and recently she covered 180 to 200 kilometres to prepare for the upcoming marathon. After this high-volume block in Kenya, at 2400m altitude from 16.07 to 29.08 she ran her personal best in 10 kilometres (32.31) on the road and half marathon (71:36). Darya trains with a heart rate monitor and the intensities are controlled in different heart rate zones. For her example the different heart rate zones are: until 142 HR (L1), 144-156 (L2), 156 – 162 (L3), 162 – 172 (L4) in her case. These values are individual and are usually based on the maximum heart rate of the given athlete.

As it should be for a professional runner, the training program needs to be well balanced and that’s also the case for Darya. She usually doubles (two running sessions per day) 5 days per week and one day per week is only one short run, which is her recovery day. Her coach says, if you rest one day per week fully, you lose 52 days of training per year. The following described training log of a full week, was done in Iten, at high altitude and on a dirt track or hilly rough roads:

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