Thursday, January 30, 2014

Run Training Phase 2 - the Journey Continues

Well people, phase one of my run training went really well. Phase one, was of course, base training or Zone 2 training for those of us using heart rate to determine training intensities. Base was all about building the foundation I needed to be able to run strong and injury free. And like the same says, it provides the base for the speed work to come. Phase 1 was 6 weeks long, and covered 277.7 km from the beginning of December. I found a few weaknesses in my form and was able to work on them while running at speeds that allowed for easy recovery. Also my run training was generally 6 days a week with no run longer than 45 minutes. So it was consistency that was key!

So now what is Phase 2? Well in Phase 2 (another 6 weeks) I (and my other athlete I coach) begin to work on pushing our Threshold limits, with the key still on endurance. We want to be able to power that heart up by running at extended periods close to the aerobic limit. Nothing so long that we risk pushing things and getting injured. We still aim for a slow progression. And no, this isn't about speed work just yet. Ultimately we want to get our easy running to go a bit faster.

So after running consistently for 6 weeks using shorter runs, this phase adds in 2 key workouts a week. Key workout 1 is the Threshold or Zone 4 run. Each week this run gets progressively longer and is the equivalent to the max effort you would put out for a 10K run. Currently I am at a 25 min threshold run, not including warm up and cool down.

The second key workout is the long run. This is an easy Zone 2 effort, so from that stand point should be easy after all that base. But as this is an increased distance, it is still considered a hard effort. The key to this run is to feel like you have a lot more to give at the end. Currently I am at 1 hour and 10 minutes. Obviously this long run will grow, but I have many weeks to do so, as this key workout will remain for the rest of the phases.

Now, while I am not focusing myself or my athlete on speed at this point, I am introducing our bodies to the idea of running fast, but with little overall stress. For myself that means a short interval session once a week. And by short I mean short. I am running less than 2 km overall at a high speed with plenty of recovery in between each.  And each interval itself is rather short (max 500 meters). These are considered Zone 5 intensity session, but the maximum output is lasting for less than 10 minutes overall. Basically I am reminding my muscles how to run fast, but not letting them focus on it just yet. That will come in the hardest phase of all, Phase 3.

So overall, Phase 2 started with a drop in mileage as my intensity grew. It is working back up to where it maxed out in Phase 1, will surpass that, then drop back again for Phase 3. I also cut one day a week from running, down to 5 days a week. Now that doesn't mean I sit around for 2 days, but these are active recovery days that allow my body to absorb the work I did during the week. I ride my bike, I swim, and I skate. I also continue my rehab and strength training to work on my weaknesses before they become injuries.

I am excited about my training and training someone else. I know she will be able to really unlock her potential this year.

I am also excited about continuing to explore the world of heart rate training based on what I learn from Jeff Zahavich at Kinesic Sport Lab.  His concepts for endurance athletes work. You just have to add water and believe.

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