2007-07-28 00:00:00

Making the Transition

The following is part two of a four part series provided by Sean Coster, founder of Complete Running Programs (CRP). For more information about CRP visit www.crpusa.com.
Making the move from base training to faster running for summer 10K ??? Half Marathon???s. Part 2 of a 4 part series on training principles for these distances.

As you page through your training log and enjoy consistent weeks of steadily increasing weekly mileage, a gradual growth in the distance of your long run and a feeling of strength and endurance, you think to your self, ???what next???? in the preparation for a personal best for the 10K to Half Marathon. The answer of course is???faster running.

Faster running that is done with a specific purpose to each workout will enable the athlete who has diligently built a solid foundation to make an effective transition to faster running without injury. If you are unsure if your base building phase was done in a well rounded manner by incorporating a growth in the weekly volume of miles run, running specific strength training and strides then refer to December???s article ???Foundations of Base Training??? for guidance on this topic. If you are ready to make the transition to faster running then follow CRP???s concepts below on how to do so.

Taking the strength and endurance you???ve built during your base training and spinning it into fitness specific to race a 10K to half marathon takes work in a few areas. Improving the pace that you are running when blood lactic acid begins to significantly increase is one of these areas (definition of Lactate/Ventilatory Threshold). A highly effective means on improving your pace at Lactate Threshold is to incorporate a type of Fartlek running. Fartlek running has been used in the United States since the 50???s in various forms. For improvement in distances from 10K to the Half Marathon I suggest the following parameters for your fartlek. Keep the distance run during the ???on??? or fast portion to between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. The intensity of this running should be slightly faster than your current Lactate Threshold pace. Each bout of this faster running should be followed by a float period or ???off??? phase that has you running easy for the same amount of time as the ???on??? period. This can be done on a run of any distance after an appropriate warm up. The total distance of fartlek running with the ???on???s??? and ???off???s??? can range from 4-8 miles depending on the athlete. A coach will be able to incorporate this running into your program with appropriate prescription of the fartlek running made for weekly volume of miles run.

Hill training has long been a means of building strength and endurance for distance runners. Hill running takes many forms, and each offers its own pay off to the runner. For the transition period we are speaking of I recommend incorporating a type of hill running that many find unique. Finding a short and fairly steep (8-12 %) hill that you can run up for 8-10 seconds is all you need. After a good warm up run followed by a dynamic series of running drills make your way to your hill. Running this hill near 100% of your top speed for 10 seconds 6-8 times is all you need. The key to this workout is to take lots of rest between repetitions. I would recommend anywhere from 3-5 minutes rest. This uncommonly long bout of restwill allow your body to go through a refractory period in which you can get more muscle fibers to participate in your all out burst for the top of your short and steep hill. This recruitment of muscle fibers is exactly the ???why??? behind such a short fast workout for 10K to half marathoners. Many benefits are derived from doing such a workout, but one is that you are now bringing more help (in the form of muscle fibers) to the work of running at many different distances. Therefore you are building a foundation for fatigue resistance for future running at race pace. Do to the extremely fast nature of this running a proper warm up is essential to this workout.

Running economy is the amount of energy expended to run at a particular pace. We can all agree that being stingy is a good thing in distance running, and by spending less energy running our race pace we can likely improve our performances. In an effort to stimulate maximum running economy at race pace I recommend another type of shorter distance running for the transition period of 10K to the Half Marathon training. The goal is to find a distance you can run at 90% of your top speed, or roughly your 800m-1600m race pace, at for 60 seconds. For some of the worlds best runners this may be 400m or slightly further, for others it may be 250-300m. Let???s say it???s 300m for you. Head to the track and engage in your dynamic warm up, the one you would do before each workout or race, and get ready to run fast for 60 seconds. Keying on the best form possible and an even distribution of effort for the 60 seconds take one repetition. After this bout of running take 3-4 minutes of rest, until fully recovered then do another. This workout is successful if the runs each consistent in there intensity and excellent form can be maintained. The total number of these repetitions is very relative to your current fitness and ability. It can range from 6-20 depending on the athlete. CRP???s coaching staff can help you work workout???s like this into your overall training program.

Making the transition from base training to faster running can seem like an intimidating task. But when you develop a plan that focuses on key areas of improvement using focused workouts your mind will rest easy knowing your fitness is improving from the base you have built. Keep in mind that these training concepts need to be appropriately incorporated into your overall goals as an athlete by a coach. Self education is an important aspect of each runners training, and so is working with coach in an advisory role.

Long may you run,

Sean Coster
Founder ??? Complete Running Programs

Let Complete Running Programs help you reach your goals in running with our expert coaching staff???s unique approach to developing distance runners of various abilities. Visit www.crpusa.com to learn about our services.

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