I am looking at planning the next training block from now until the end of March.
We always break blocks down into four progressive stages of training:
Phase 1 - Building your foundation base and Injury Prevention. Lots of steady running at easy and steady paces.
Phase 2 - IQ Initial Quality Training, where we mix fast reps into the foundation runs.
Phase 3 - TQ Transition Quality - generally the most demanding, where we are starting to add aerobic stress to speed work.
Phase 4 - FQ is designed for Peak performance and is the final quality stage of training, where training will be tapered, more specific, and less demanding.
Between now and the end of March, we will be in Phases 3 and 4.
The running session we will be doing are:
Easy running refers to warm-ups, cool-downs, recovery runs, recovery running within a workout and generally long runs.
Intensity: Generally in the range of 59-74% of VO2 max or 65-79% of your HR max. In general, Easy running is running at a comfortable, conversational pace.
Purpose: Running at your Easy pace promotes physiological benefits that build a solid base from which higher-intensity training can be performed. The heart muscle is strengthened, muscles receive increased blood supplies and improve their ability to process oxygen delivered through the cardiovascular system.
Steady run or long repeats (e.g. 2 x 4 miles at marathon pace)
Intensity: Generally in the range 75-84% of VO2 max or 80-90% of your HR max.
Purpose: Used to experience race pace conditions for those training for a marathon or simply as an alternative to Easy pace running for beginners on long run days.
Steady, prolonged or tempo runs or intermittent runs, also called cruise intervals.
Intensity: Generally in the range of 83-88% of VO2 max or 88-92% of HR max. Threshold pace is comfortably hard running for either a steady 3-4 miles (or 5 to 6km) or repeated runs of 5 to 15 minutes each, with 1 to 3 minutes of rest between the runs.
Purpose: To improve endurance.
Intensity: Generally in the range of 95-100% of VO2 max or 98-100% of HR max. Intervals are "hard" but not all-out running by any means. Usually, at a pace, you could maintain for about 10-15 minutes in a serious race. Intervals are best if they involve runs of 3 to 5 minutes each (800m and 1000m workouts are typical), with jog recoveries of similar duration (not necessarily, equal distance); relative to the runs they follow. If a workout calls for "hard" runs, then go by feel and imagine 5k race pace as the intensity of each run.
Purpose: Stress your aerobic power (VO2 max). It takes about two minutes for you to gear up to functioning at VO2 max, so the ideal duration of an "Interval" is 3-5 minutes each. The reason not to go past 5 minutes is to prevent anaerobic involvement, which can result in the blood-lactate build-up.
Pace reps and strides.
Intensity: Reps are fast but not necessarily "hard" because work bouts are relatively short and are followed by relatively long recovery bouts. Recoveries are to be long enough that each run feels no more difficult than the previous run because the purpose of Reps is to improve speed and economy, and you can not get faster (nor more economical) if you are not running relaxed. For example, if it takes 3 minutes of recovery between Rep 400s, then that is what is needed. Reducing rest time between individual work bouts does not make for a better workout. In fact, it makes for a worse activity because the short rests could increase the stress and lead to poor economy. Think of Reps as similar to your current 1500 or mile race pace.
Purpose: To improve your speed and economy
I have attached the sessions between now and the end of March and a look at the races they should be doing.
NOTE - I WOULD NOT DO THIS WEEK AT READING.
I am suggesting four weekly sessions, 3 of which will be coached.
In the main, they are:
Tuesday sessions are on the track.
This will be the main session of the week, and it will be an interval session starting and ending with a steady run.
The session distance will be exactly the same each week, but we will bring down recovery times between the reps and look to increase lap speed by 2 - 5 secs over the period.
Thursday sessions on grass (conditions permitting)
This will be a tempo/threshold base session.
Again the session distance will be exactly the same each week, but we will bring down recovery times between the reps and look to increase the PK speed.
Have some fun exploring and become a Park Run tourist!
However, you should not be looking at setting a PB...
Your weekly park run should be a tempo run.
Sunday Session. (check attachment for venue)
In the main, these will be Long runs, which is an essential, but often overlooked session of the week. The distance will remain the same for each group, but we will look to increase the pace PK over the period. By running the same course, they will get a feel of their improved base and steady running speed.
Parents that run (or want to run) are welcome to come and run these sessions.
On some Sundays, we will do hard sessions, which are precisely what it says on the tin! They will be reps of 3 - 4 min efforts at max pace. Pretty horrible, but again essential.
I will put a reverse parent advisory warning on these sessions, and I wouldn't jump in on them as a parent!!!!
If you have any questions, please drop us a line.
We are looking forward to the next quarter's training!
Kind regards, James, Graham and Simon.