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Friday, July 3, 2015

Adding speed early in the training cycle

After a 4-week hiccup from patella tendinitis, my training is back on track and progressing nicely. The past few weeks typically include a threshold workout, a speed session, strength work, and a long run. Basic stuff...except the speed is really speed. Coach Tom Clifford is working on my running economy (RE) as we look to a fall road racing season.

According to an article published in Sports Medicine (Saunders, Pyne, Telford, & Hawley 2004) "runners with good RE use less energy and therefore less oxygen than runners with poor RE at the same velocity." In other words, improved RE makes running faster feel easier, ceteris paribus. Coach Clifford says that "having good running economy sets you up for good form and your body to become more economical when running". In the past two weeks, the speed sessions included:

3 x 200 with 1:00 rest (41, 38, 37)
2 x 400 with 2:00 rest (75, 76)
1 x 600 with 3:00 rest (1:59)
3 x 200 with 1:00 rest (77, 78)
2 x 400 with 2:00 rest (37, 36, 36)


2 sets of 5 x 300 with 100 meter walk, separate sets with a full recovery
Set 1: 60.1, 59.0, 58.4, 58.0, 58.6
Set 2: 59.6, 58.1, 57.1, 58.3, 57.5

Eye in the sky over the PHHS oval office
I enjoy gutting it out for short periods, so these workouts are in my wheelhouse. I do many of these at PHHS in Roanoke so that I can hop on the trails afterwards for the cool down. Progress in RE is seen in my threshold and long runs. On the long runs, I record the distance over a set time period (currently an hour and a half) so that we can note progress (taking into account heat, humidity...HR monitor is a useful tool.) Additionally, in this heat/humidity effort, rather than pace, on a long run should be the focus. My threshold pace is falling as I add time in those sessions and the long runs are getting easier.

I will talk more about the threshold paces in a later post. These workouts stress me out to no end, but I do not race well until I consistently nail them. Many pieces to the puzzle.

Head down to your local track for some RE improvement,

Saunders, P., Pyne, D., Telford, R., & Hawley, J. 2004.  Factors affecting running economy in trained distance runners. Sports Medicine 34(7), 465-85.


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