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LEARN THE TRAINING METHODS OF THE WORLD’S BEST ATHLETES

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Are You Overtrained? Everything You Need To Know About Overtraining

Are You Overtrained? Everything You Need To Know About Overtraining

The overtrained runner may maintain speed but with poorer form and with greater expenditure of energy. David Costill, PhD of Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, cited one other runner who, early in his training, could run 3:45/km pace at only 60% of his aerobic capacity. Later, when he became overtrained, the same runner had to use 80% of his capacity to maintain that same pace.

As athletes enlist all available muscle fibres in an attempt to maintain their training pace, they invariably exhaust their fast-twitch muscle fibres than their slow-twitch muscles. This is one reason runners lose speed: their fast-twitch muscles have become exhausted through intensive training.

But glycogen depletion is not the only problem. Another is microscopic damage to the muscle fibres, which tear, fray and lose their resilience, like a rubber band that has been snapped too often.

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5 Speed Workouts for 5km/10km Runners (Canova Style)

5 Speed Workouts for 5km/10km Runners (Canova Style)

Renato Canova is one of the world’s most successful long distance running coaches, having coached over 50 athletes to Olympic/World Championship medals over the 5000m through to the Marathon distance. Canova favours prescribing training sessions for distance runners at their target race pace to have them best prepared come race day.

Below you will find 5 interval training sessions for 5km and 10km runners that Canova has prescribed his elite athletes:

#1: 2km + 1600m + 1200m + 800m + (4x400m) with 200m jog recovery between all repetitions (approximately 1-1.5 minutes)
Begin at your 10km goal pace in the 2km repetition and slowly increase your speed to be at your 5km goal pace by the 800m (4th) repetition. The final 4x400m intervals should be at your 5km pace or faster. Between each interval, jog 200m at around your usual warm up/cool down pace, perhaps slightly slower. For most runners targeting a 5km in around 14-16mins or a 10km in 30-34mins, this should be around 1min to 1.5min jog recovery.

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The Importance Of “The Long Run”

The Importance Of “The Long Run”

What is the perfect long run training distance for marathoners?

There is no “perfect” distance. 32km (20 miles) is the peak distance used in most training programs, however many elite runners will run 35km or longer on 3 or 4 occasions leading into a marathon. Most coaches feel that once you reach 25km (16 miles)  you’re in long run territory. That’s the point where the psychological changes Vaughan mentioned kick in. But a few coaches prefer talking “time” rather than distance, “hours” rather than kilometres/miles.

Running much further than 35km in training increases the risk of injury, especially for those new to running. Many experienced coaches argue that running further than 40km for seasoned and elite runners is not necessary and again, increases the chances of injury.

It’s well known in the elite running world that some Japanese runners do 5+ hour runs when building up for a marathon. Former world record holder Robert de Castella and Steve Monaghetti from Australia would peak with a 48km (30 miles) run 5 weeks before the marathon, but that’s after steady diet of 35-40km runs nearly every weekend leading in. Most runners would self destruct on that much mileage.

Marathon World Record holder Eliud Kipchoge completes his long runs on Thursdays and alternates 30km one week with 40km the next and does 12 weeks of this 2 week cycle before a marathon, meaning he will complete 6 40km runs before a marathon.

Mo Farah is similar – peaking at 40km runs 4-8 weeks before the targeted marathon.

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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.

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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.

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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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Renato Canova – Elite 10km Training Plan (1 Month)

Renato Canova – Elite 10km Training Plan (1 Month)

This is a schedule Renato Canova designed for a hypothetical elite 10km runner to illustrate his training principles.

Week 1 – Monday: Long Easy Run (75-90min) + 5-10 Short Hill Sprints

Week 1 – Tuesday: Long Fast Run (25-30km) at 85% of 10km Pace

Week 1 – Wednesday: 2 Easy Runs Totalling 30km (Easy/Regeneration) 

Week 1 – Thursday: 2 Moderate Runs Totalling 30km 

Week 1 – Friday: 10-15km Tempo Run at 90-95% of 10km Pace

Week 1 – Saturday: 2 Easy Runs Totalling 30km (Easy/Regeneration) 

Week 1 – Sunday: Long Run (90-120mins) at Moderate Effort

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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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Jim Walmsley – Training WSER 2019

Jim Walmsley – Training WSER 2019

In January we published an article about Jim’s training in the lead-up to his qualification for the US Olympic marathon trials, running a 64-minute half-marathon in Houston. The Flagstaff local posts all his training on Strava, consistently huge sessions that entertain and inspire his legions of followers. Again, we are going to take a look at some of his sessions leading up to a big event, however this time it is moving away from relatively faster events on the road and preparing for the gruelling ordeal of a 100-miler with around 5,000m vertical gain.

The following day (May 14th) Jim posted a similar run: Elden #2. Mount Elden is a peak outside of Flagstaff, rising about 2,400 feet from the already elevated city of Flagstaff, the peak sits at 2,834m. By the end of the training leading up to the WSER Jim ran up Elden twenty-six times. His training block post Project Carbon X was kicked off with six consecutive days up Elden, followed by a 32km run on rolling hills outside Flagstaff, and then by more Elden climbs.

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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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