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Seb Coe Running Strength Program (Part 2)

Seb Coe Running Strength Program (Part 2)

In this article, we will explore the different types of resistance training that runners have used over the years. This is a summary of the key ideas from Chapter 6 of Better Training For Distance Runners written by David Martin & Peter Coe. 

Static Resistance Training: Isometrics

What is it? This is when we push against an object that is immovable. Our skeletal muscles generate tension but does not lead to movement. As such, muscle length stays constant throughout the exercise (at least externally; there are some changes which also occur microscopically).

Where’s the evidence? While there are many variables involved, the current status of studies suggest a weekly improvement in muscle strength by 2-5% when static resistance training is used. While the initial gains are sizable, they plateau rather quickly after about 5 weeks.

Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 1)

Seb Coe’s Running Strength Program (Part 1)

Virtually all elite runners incorporate some kind of strength and conditioning work into their training routine. There are various reasons – to enhance muscle strength and endurance, as well as minimise risk of injury. But what kinds of exercises should we do? How often should we do this? How lean is too lean? Should we use weights? In this series, we will share the principles and practicalities on how runners should approach this minefield. This is a summary from Chapter 6 of Better Training For Distance Runners written by David Martin & Peter Coe.

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.

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.

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’.

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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