John Landy- The Training for a sub-4 mile in the Science of Running Blog discusses in the article referenced here the various training blocks he applied to his training that goes into more intense workouts rather than placing a focus on endurance and volume for his distance training.
Just like Landy, I too believe that building a steady base is vital for distance running before diving into any type of speedwork. Once you've built a solid base, focusing on intense speedwork, combining the proper mixture of longer and shorter recovery intervals each week is a great way to improve both stamina and endurance.
Long distance and high-intensity training sessions are a must. History has shown us that various cyclical methods have worked, as mentioned in the Science of Running. These cycles have provided us Run Coaches, Runners and Research Scientists better tools to use and learn from!
Below is what I did in conjunction with my own expertise, skillset, education and personal experience while preparing for the Brooklyn Fall Half CityTri Runs Race!
My Program Staples
First 4 Week Block
Monday: 45-50 Minutes ending with 6x20-sec strides with 60 seconds of recovery between each of the 6 strides
Tuesday: Track Workout: Unlimited 200m repeats :43-:44 seconds per repeat w/ a 400m recovery jog between each repeat (& I stopped once I was missing the times for each repeat!)
Wednesday: 40-45 Minutes Easy Running (8:00-9:00 min/mile race for each mile)
Thursday: Duration Run - 70 Minutes (Holding a Slower Tempo Pace averaging 7:30-740 min/mi for each mile throughout the entire run)
Friday: 30-35 Minute Easy Run ending with 7x20-sec strides with 60 seconds of recovery between each of the 7 strides
Saturday: Track Workout: 12 x 200m repeats :43-:44 seconds per repeat w/ a 200m recovery jog between each repeat
Sunday: Rest Day / Mobility Work & Active Recovery
For the second, third and fourth training blocks to complete the 16 week training period, I made sure to progress my training runs each week by 5% for each workout. For example, on Monday, I would run for 47.5-52.5 Minutes and left the strides as is. For the workout days with the 200m repeats, I tried to increase the number of unlimited 200m repeats by at least 5% of the total number of repeats I was able to complete during the prior week on that same day.
Now, you get an idea of what I mean by steady, measurable & slow progression!
Regardless of which training method that you choose to get to your end goal, steady, measurable and slow training blocks work!
I applied this to weeks two and three, taking week four as a recovery week. This included everything from the weeks prior. The only difference with this week was that all days were split in half, including the 200m repeats! I also included an additional slow 20 Minute easy run on both of my track workout days before completing those track workouts to keep my legs fresh and limbered up!
FUN FACT: I am someone who doesn't warmup quite as quickly as I'd like to, which is evident by my 8:20 min/mile split in the 1st mile this past weekend while running the Half, but that's what makes each of us unique, right?! It allows us to learn and to grow. It allows us to better hone in on our strengths and also, work towards making our weaknesses STRONGER!
I stuck in my journal right after I got home from yesterday's race a sticky note with the below text on it!
"NOTE TO SELF: Find a warmup strategy that WORKS for the next time I plan on racing a HALF! #runningtalk" and now I know! I met myself where I was at like I always try to do. It helps me to stay present and focused. How about you?!
What works for me won't necessarily work for you. However, this guideline to help you make your own programming WILL work for you. It's all about understand your strengths, understanding your weaknesses and having a clear set of micro goals and macro goals. That way, you know the necessary steps for each training block that you'll need to divert more focus towards in order to get yourself to your ultimate goal!
Pacing Strategy - For Time
I tried to negative split this run, and I did! I went for time.
Regardless of the fact that I was told that I won first place against other participants in the race who were considered "walkers" competing against me, I still celebrated my win. Every win is a freakin' WIN!
If you're going for time, try to go out at a pace that is 10-15 seconds slower than your race pace. At mile 6.5, begin to pick up the pace by about 5 seconds for every mile until mile 11. Once you get to mile 11, determine whether or not you can push it a little bit further for the last 2.1 miles, OR stick with where you're at! That works too!
Pacing Strategy - Based on Effort & Running to Run
Have a strategy that's a bit looser and that doesn't get you INJURED!
Miles 1-3: Use these miles to solidify your rhythm at your race pace!
Miles 4-7: Have fun with intervals. Push HARD for 60 seconds, and then pull it back for 45 seconds after that! ADDED PERK: You might just gain some aerobic benefits too!
Miles 8-9: Run each mile ending with 8x20 second strides for each of the two miles. Do it & report back!
Miles 10-31.1: Run this like 800m repeats. 800m at your threshold pace (15-25 seconds faster than your race pace) followed by 800m as an easy recovery jog between each of the 800m repeats until the race is DONE. Don't forget to have fun with it!
Find your rhythm! Find what works for you. There's no one RIGHT way for anyone! Own your OWN strategy. I'm always here to help guide you! For Coaching, you know where to find me! Simply just shoot me a message here. Let's chat!
Different strategies can help get you to your desired result with proper consistency, structure, a system in place and self-discipline.
Once you see the results of your success, you'll be motivated to keep on GOING!
You are your biggest limit! Don't be!
Until next time,