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Training. (Read 2665 times)

    I just was looking through an old thread from letsrun (remember when it was great, before the days of incessant trolling?) and it's such a gem, that I thought I would post it here in the hope that it might spark some discussion about general approaches to training. http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=222028&page=0 Renato Canova coaches many world-class athletes. He knows his physiology, but he is interested most in using the physiology to explain in fairly precise ways the sort of approach to training he uses with his athletes. If you want to geek out, this is the place to start. Of most interest to us more advanced but still recreational runner types (I think), is his simple two-part periodization, which you can find explained on the first page or so of the thread. The first stage is an introductory period (6-8 weeks) of building volume through easy runs and progressive tempos where the runner finishes strong when feeling good. This period can be sustained longer or extended when coming off of a long break or injury. Though this is called an introductory phase, this sort of running is where, over years, minutes will come off of your time. The second stage is a fundamental period (8-10 weeks) where the runner aims to build race-specific aerobic power. This stage involves a heavy work load because mileage is maintained while race specific intensity is added. You can see the threasd for more specific advice on how to add this intensity, but really it's just a matter of throwing in a couple of hard sessions a week. The increase in workload cannot be sustained indefinitely and gains here are best thought of as "sharpening"; after a racing season, it's back to the introductory period. To sum up, Canova provides a simple and common sense way to think about periodizing your training. Many runners tend to want to continue to push their training, to go harder and harder. This approach will lead to burn-out and an eventual decline in performance. Through a simple periodic plan, which includes cycles of intensity alternating with easier running, it is possible to run healthy and continue to develop over the long term.
      Jeff if you want to elicit replies you need to use more big words and preferably some acronyms. This sounds too simple, like hard/easy.

      Runners run.


      Me and my gang in Breck

        Thanks Jeff. I just took a look at that thread and theirs a lot of good info in it. ENERGY PRODUCTION Muscles, the runner's engine, can be extenden and contracted. The orderly succession of extensions and contractions produces variations of the angles between body segmentes, and allows us to run. In order to work, muscles need energy, that is possible to consider "very specific fuel" (ATP). Just as some engines run only on petrol, or diesel-oil, our muscles can only use ATP to produce the energy they require. Our muscles are like ENGINES, in that they turn chemical energy into kinetic energy, producing work. Muscle not only USE energy, but also PRODUCES energy ; what is more, in the case of the marathon race, nearly all the required ATP is produced during the race itself. This does have some advantages. To cover full marathon, it has been calculated that an athlete burns about 0.7 kg of ATP per kg of bodyweight (so it means that an athlete weighing 70 kg requires about 50 kg of ATP !). If these were to be available before the beginning of the race, his bodyweight would be about 120 kg ! So, muscles need to create ATP during the race ; they can do so because when the ATP is broken down it releases energy and becomes ADP, and a series of chemical reactions allows the muscles to turn the ADP into ATP again, so that the fuel they can use as a source of energy is once more available. This is me right now. Trying to loose weight before my next big push. The lighter you are the less energy you need to finish the race.

        That which does not kill us makes us stronger. Neitzsche "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." "Dedication and commitment are what transfer dreams into reality."

          I just was looking through an old thread from letsrun (remember when it was great, before the days of incessant trolling?) and it's such a gem, that I thought I would post it here in the hope that it might spark some discussion about general approaches to training. http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=222028&page=0
          Still having a look through the thread but I definitely agree that this is not your typical letsrun thread. Some really good stuff in there. Thanks, Jeff. I found the stuff about speed before endurance interesting. I'll come back to this after finishing reading the thread.

          When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

            I found the stuff about speed before endurance interesting. I'll come back to this after finishing reading the thread.
            I haven't read the thread yet (I'm working on it) but I believe Noakes suggested something along these lines in Lore of Running. (IIRC that is)
            Run like you stole something.
              Hey Markfive--good to hear that you're ready to hit it hard, soon. Surf a wave for me, bro.
              I found the stuff about speed before endurance interesting. I'll come back to this after finishing reading the thread.
              Endurance before speed? Speed before endurance? The chicken before the egg? The egg before the chicken? Intelligence demands breaking the holistic act of running down into its constituent parts: speed, endurance, tempo stuff, power, form, etc. That's what it means to intelligently analyze your running: to look at it from one angle or from another to try to identify strengths and weaknesses. These distinctions are useful. It's important though not to hypostasize these analytical difference--to make them more real than the act of running itself. When we get stuck thinking about running in terms of its individual elements, we get caught in philosophical quandries: how can I make speed into endurance? Which do I work on first and which do I work on second? How do I put LT training together with VO2max training while working on my form? Running becomes like Humpty Dumpty after he fell off the wall--shattered into a bunch of bewildering analytic distinctions. Like all the king's men, we stare at this thing that seemed to be just a simple thing we've been doing all our lives, and now it is lying around in a bunch of pieces. When these moments occur, it's best to be pragmatic, which means looking at your own situation as a runner and using these very helpful distinctions to try to understand what to do, now, for the time being. All this is a roundabout way of changing a more speculative question: which comes first speed or endurance, into a more pragmatic sort of question: what do I need to be a better runner? How would training fast right now help me be that better runner? What wouldn't it do for me? How would running easy help me? What wouldn't it do for me? Once you start asking this sort of training question, it becomes clear that what we are always doing is working on all the elements simultaneously, but emphasizing certain aspects at certain times, for certain needs. To put it all together again, to reassemble the Humpty Dumpty of running, all that is required is to lace up those shoes and head out the door.
              JimR


                The first stage is an introductory period (6-8 weeks) of building volume through easy runs and progressive tempos where the runner finishes strong when feeling good. This period can be sustained longer or extended when coming off of a long break or injury. Though this is called an introductory phase, this sort of running is where, over years, minutes will come off of your time.
                He represents these by time too, so they can be directly translated to anyone. - SLOW PACED CONTINUOUS RUNS in a state of breathing balance, with an extensive progression, up to one and half hours - MEDIUM PACED CONTINUOUS RUNS, with an extensive-intensive progression, i.e. the athlete is required to run progressively longer and faster, up to 45' - CONTINUOUS PROGRESSIVE RUNS, slow paced at the beginning and then medium paced ; here again the progression is extensive-.intensive ; the duration increases up to one hour.
                The second stage is a fundamental period (8-10 weeks) where the runner aims to build race-specific aerobic power. This stage involves a heavy work load because mileage is maintained while race specific intensity is added. You can see the threasd for more specific advice on how to add this intensity, but really it's just a matter of throwing in a couple of hard sessions a week. The increase in workload cannot be sustained indefinitely and gains here are best thought of as "sharpening"; after a racing season, it's back to the introductory period.
                I'll have to read further to see what he says about this part. An old thread, some of the reference links don't work anymore.
                  I hear you, Jeff. And I agree that we are always working on all of the elements all the time. What I meant was that most of what I've read focuses on emphasizing endurance first, and sharpening by emphasizing speed. I just found it interesting that Renato talked about emphasizing speed first and then extending it to longer distances.

                  When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?


                  Dave

                    Renato's approach reminds me a little of this McMillan article: http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=9254&CategoryID=&PageNum=1 He also seems to turn the traditional wisdom on its head in terms of building speed first and then focusing on endurance (after an initial base building phase).
                    I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.

                    dgb2n@yahoo.com
                    JimR


                      He also seems to turn the traditional wisdom on its head in terms of building speed first and then focusing on endurance (after an initial base building phase).
                      As he's talking specifically about marathon training, it's hard to take the training as purely speed first-endurance second. He builds endurance and works on shorter progression runs, but not hard progressions, in the first phase. In the second it focuses on race specific work, which is naturally more endurance oriented due to race specificity. He does talk pace both below and above anaerobic threshold in the second phase, which makes sense and isn't all that different than would be done for other race distances.
                        As he's talking specifically about marathon training, it's hard to take the training as purely speed first-endurance second. He builds endurance and works on shorter progression runs, but not hard progressions, in the first phase. In the second it focuses on race specific work, which is naturally more endurance oriented due to race specificity. He does talk pace both below and above anaerobic threshold in the second phase, which makes sense and isn't all that different than would be done for other race distances.
                        Well put, JimR. Again, and maybe this is just a semantic point, the question for the marathon particularly is not which ought to be emphasized, speed OR endurance, but how to make your speed endure. How, for example, is it possible to run a marathon at 50 seconds slower than your mile PR pace as Geb recently did. Also, since the periodization is repeated, year after year, temporally neither is first. First one, then the other. The order is not important since we always, in training, begin in the middle. Over the course of a lifetime of running, 6 week shifts of emphasis are blurred, a marathon runner is born: speed-endurance.


                        Dave

                          The order is not important since we always, in training, begin in the middle. Over the course of a lifetime of running, 6 week shifts of emphasis are blurred, a marathon runner is born: speed-endurance.
                          That really speaks truth to me. As a (relatively) inexperienced marathoner, it is sometimes difficult to put these training plans into a broader context. You don't see the long journey. You only see the scenery where you are right at that moment. Speed and endurance. Endurance and speed. Base and peak. Lather, rinse, and repeat. I've been amazed during this training cycle how much faster my easier pace has become. My top end speed hasn't changed much. I've just been able to run faster, longer, and at less effort (as confirmed by a lower average heart rate) at a given pace. And all that on fairly modest (some would even argue fairly weak) mileage. Now the trick is going to be making a bet on what I can sustain during the race. Too slow and I leave something out on the course. Too fast and I crash before the end. Damn, I love this sport.
                          I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.

                          dgb2n@yahoo.com


                          Think Whirled Peas

                            Just one page later, someone brings a change into the discussion... "So, the mean of regeneration IS NOT TO BUILD SOMETHING IN YOUR BODY, but is to permit a more fast recovery in order to prepare in a better way the next workout. It's not true that running very slow it's not use(ful). Resting a full day is not so good, in order to recover, as running slowly." There, ladies and gents, is a KEY lesson that JK/Wejo/Lydiard etc (and I assume Hodgie & Malmo) all have stressed. It explains WHY...they can recommend/run such high mileage, and consider it not ?too much.? They all believe ?slow running? both improves aerobic capacity, and can ACTUALLY HELP ONE RECOVER. If that second part is true, then, there is a huge argument for always having some slow jogging in your week, and keeping your mileage up high. Great read Jeff, thank you! And the Geb vid from the other thread is a great watch the week before a marathon. Q

                            Just because running is simple does not mean it is easy.

                              Also, since the periodization is repeated, year after year, temporally neither is first. First one, then the other. The order is not important since we always, in training, begin in the middle. Over the course of a lifetime of running, 6 week shifts of emphasis are blurred, a marathon runner is born: speed-endurance.
                              I don't have any problem with someone who wants to view their training with a wide perspective, as you suggest, but its definitely not how I approach things. A runner's training cycles obviously blend together to some extent if you force yourself to step back and view the longer timeline. On the other hand, however, a goal race isn't a time line; its a specific immovable point on the line. At some fundamental level periodization is all about peaking for that specific point, and not simply trending upwards on the line over time. Stated another way, its great that you can see the forest from the trees ... but sometimes the job is to see the tree.
                              How To Run a Marathon: Step 1 - start running. There is no Step 2.
                                Stated another way, its great that you can see the forest from the trees ... but sometimes the job is to see the tree.
                                Intelligence demands breaking the holistic act of running down into its constituent parts: speed, endurance, tempo stuff, power, form, etc. That's what it means to intelligently analyze your running: to look at it from one angle or from another to try to identify strengths and weaknesses. These distinctions are useful.
                                Just to be clear, I take the meaning of my post to be that intelligent training demands both looking at parts and their relation to the whole. We often (not always) get caught trying to ask a question like: what does this part mean, without referring back to the situational whole. Maybe I'm getting too abstract and holistic here, but actually it feels to me like I'm getting more specific and concrete. There is no such thing as a point, in itself. The determination of a point always requires relating that point to its coordinates on a Cartesian line or a plane. And even then, as Einstein taught us, we are not referring to a reality, but to a tool invented by Descartes and others in a certain historical era for certain purposes--and not others.
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