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Speedwork - Is more better for race performance?? (Read 844 times)

    Attached is a chat started by a high school cross country coach asking for advice on THERUNZONE site after sharing his current training approach with his athletes and then wondering what he could do to have his athletes perform better as the season winded down.  It is a good reminder that more faster/hard running is in many cases not better and can be counterproductive.

     

    http://www.therunzone.com/index.php?topic=2717.0

    Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

      That was interesting reading.......

      Champions are made when no one is watching


      Feeling the growl again

        In all the training I did I NEVER did 6Xmile on 3min recovery....much less that fast.  4-5 was plenty good.  When I was hitting them in 5:00 average I would be ready to race 25-low on a flat XC 8K.

         

        I love the line about running a quick 800m at the end of an "easy run" so that they "know what it is like to run fast when tired".  Roll eyes

         

        What that coach was doing to those athletes was obscene.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

          I bet this isn't too uncommon though. Especially at a school where the track and XC teams are basically an after thought. Maybe even more common in high school I bet. Hard/Easy with the hard at or near race pace and the easy is still a little bit of a struggle for most of the team. Don't forget to throw in some really tough hill work!

          Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

          Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27


          Feeling the growl again

            I bet this isn't too uncommon though.

             

            Unfortunately, no.  I'm guessing it's a D3 or NAIA team.  I've seen terrible stuff at the HS level but this was one of the worse I have heard about at the collegiate level.

            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

             

              Sounds like college to me - unlikely to have many high school athletes running 5 min miles for training reps (especially when OP said "some" of his athletes).

              Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!


              HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                I've only known one college runner to talk about doing a lot of mile reps at 5min or faster, and never any HS runners.

                It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                  I've only known one college runner to talk about doing a lot of mile reps at 5min or faster, and never any HS runners.

                   

                  I get a chuckle when I hear about some of my son's friends who are now in HS when they talk about their workouts, or at least how what they did in practice gets communicated. 

                   

                  I hear things like "we ran a 10 mile tempo run at a 6 mpm pace." 

                   

                  You'd think that if someone could run 10 miles at tempo effort at a 6 mpm could run under 18 for 3 miles. 

                   

                  Now, there are a few schools around here that do do brutal workouts, and they have the race times to back it up. But not many.

                   

                  So, when ever I hear about the workouts HS kids do, I always take it with a grain of salt.

                    Wow...talk about "unique" training plans. 

                     

                    Especially the "recovery runs". 8-10 miles w/last 800 at 8k race pace or faster OR a progressive run ending last few miles 6:00 minute pace. Cause doing more light workouts on recovery days totally allows athletes to recover. 

                     

                    While that was ridiculous, at least he did go and ask for some advice which is obviously a step in the right direction.

                    They say golf is like life, but don't believe them. Golf is more complicated than that. "If I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a Board and knock me down, because that means I didn't run hard enough" If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork the way they do a golf club, they'd starve to death. "Don't fear moving slowly forward...fear standing still."

                      I get a chuckle when I hear about some of my son's friends who are now in HS when they talk about their workouts, or at least how what they did in practice gets communicated. 

                       

                      I hear things like "we ran a 10 mile tempo run at a 6 mpm pace." 

                       

                      You'd think that if someone could run 10 miles at tempo effort at a 6 mpm could run under 18 for 3 miles. 

                       

                      Now, there are a few schools around here that do do brutal workouts, and they have the race times to back it up. But not many.

                       

                      So, when ever I hear about the workouts HS kids do, I always take it with a grain of salt.

                      Tom:

                       

                      There's a HUGE difference between someone doing a 10-miler at 6MPM comfortably or 10-miler at 6MPM and that nearly kills them.  I'd say some good high schooler can do it.  But at what effort?  Just because Lagat does it on his easy day, and a lot of high school kids AND coaches see it almost that way, that does not necessarily mean they can run 5k sub-13.

                       

                      There's a workout that you CAN do; there's a workout that's right for you.  The numbers may come our exactly the same; a big difference.

                        While I really like tinman's advice there, I am not so sure that I would say the schedule that this coach has his runners doing is prima facie ridiculous for a college runner. Much depends on the quality of the program, how well trained the athletes are, the time of the season, etc. I would say that the coach has things 90% right, and that the primary problem with the schedule is with the paces being driven by trying to PR in workouts, rather than working from effort.

                         

                        Finishing a recovery run with 800 at 8k pace is really not that strenuous, but if the explanation is to finish fast on tired legs, then the runner thinks that they are supposed to be tired at the end of a recovery run. Likely the problem there is not the 800m, but the pace of the recovery run. If instead they are running slow during recovery, a little pickup at the end could actually aid recovery... context,  purpose, and the way the workout is explained is everything.

                         

                        Also, if you notice, the coach says in the beginning of his first question that it's been a hot season and that he coaches a team in the south. This comment was ignored, but we have, indeed, had a hot and wet fall, and the times of XC runners across the board have been slower. My personal theory is that the grass on the courses is thicker from the wet weather. Wet and thick grass and temps in the 70s and 80s instead of 50s could mean 60s easily on an 8k XC course.

                         

                        Anyways, it is an interesting thread, and tinman's advice (especially the general way to approach XC training) is as usual really good, but I think sometimes it is easy to play the internet expert. (I know this ALL too well!)

                          Wow...talk about "unique" training plans. 

                           

                          Especially the "recovery runs". 8-10 miles w/last 800 at 8k race pace or faster OR a progressive run ending last few miles 6:00 minute pace. Cause doing more light workouts on recovery days totally allows athletes to recover. 

                           

                          While that was ridiculous, at least he did go and ask for some advice which is obviously a step in the right direction.

                          Actually....not too terribly bad.  In fact, Dr Ernst van Aaken used to do something similar.  His runners, like Harald Norpoth, would do a 20-50k easy in the forest and then do 500m fast (race pace).  Of course, I wouldn't not call that a recovery run; I would most probably not have runners do a workout that way; but the idea is sound.  You do mostly aerobic run; but you throw in SOME fast run to activate your mechanics and stimulate your anaerobic pathway just enough, but not too much.  I certainly wouldn't do 800m for a high schoolers; probably 300m; and it sort of depends on how fast, or slow, they do 8-10 miles.  

                            While I really like tinman's advice there, I am not so sure that I would say the schedule that this coach has his runners doing is prima facie ridiculous for a college runner. Much depends on the quality of the program, how well trained the athletes are, the time of the season, etc. I would say that the coach has things 90% right, and that the primary problem with the schedule is with the paces being driven by trying to PR in workouts, rather than working from effort.

                             

                            Finishing a recovery run with 800 at 8k pace is really not that strenuous, but if the explanation is to finish fast on tired legs, then the runner thinks that they are supposed to be tired at the end of a recovery run. Likely the problem there is not the 800m, but the pace of the recovery run. If instead they are running slow during recovery, a little pickup at the end could actually aid recovery... context,  purpose, and the way the workout is explained is everything.

                             

                            Also, if you notice, the coach says in the beginning of his first question that it's been a hot season and that he coaches a team in the south. This comment was ignored, but we have, indeed, had a hot and wet fall, and the times of XC runners across the board have been slower. My personal theory is that the grass on the courses is thicker from the wet weather. Wet and thick grass and temps in the 70s and 80s instead of 50s could mean 60s easily on an 8k XC course.

                             

                            Anyways, it is an interesting thread, and tinman's advice (especially the general way to approach XC training) is as usual really good, but I think sometimes it is easy to play the internet expert. (I know this ALL too well!)

                            You just beat me to it and you said it a lot more clearly.  Also, I forgot these guys were college runners, not a high schoolers.

                              Actually....not too terribly bad.  In fact, Dr Ernst van Aaken used to do something similar.  His runners, like Harald Norpoth, would do a 20-50k easy in the forest and then do 500m fast (race pace).  Of course, I wouldn't not call that a recovery run; I would most probably not have runners do a workout that way; but the idea is sound.  You do mostly aerobic run; but you throw in SOME fast run to activate your mechanics and stimulate your anaerobic pathway just enough, but not too much.  I certainly wouldn't do 800m for a high schoolers; probably 300m; and it sort of depends on how fast, or slow, they do 8-10 miles.  

                               

                              Alright, I can see where that would make sense. Would you use stuff like that even between other true workout days? That was more what I saw as potentially alarming, is that they were doing that on every single run that was not a true workout. 

                              They say golf is like life, but don't believe them. Golf is more complicated than that. "If I am still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a Board and knock me down, because that means I didn't run hard enough" If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork the way they do a golf club, they'd starve to death. "Don't fear moving slowly forward...fear standing still."