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Planning group training (Read 629 times)

    Hi all,

     

    I'd love to get your ideas on how to manage training runs for groups of runners with different speeds.

     

    I'm part of a triathlon club and I took the initiative of coaching some of the running training sessions. We're usually between 10 and 20 people that show up for the runs in the morning and some of us are quite fast while others slower. The challenge is staying together which I think is important as we don't want to leave behind the beginners or the slower runners, but I'd like the fastest runners to get a good workout too. For easy running outings, we've tried staying together and if ever we split up, the faster runners head back to catch-up with the slower runners.

     

    We've done intervals and doing them in a loop (track or around a park) works fine as everyone stays relatively together. I still haven't found ways to manage tempo workouts without splitting up. And doing them on a track would be rather boring.  

     

    Do you have any ideas on how to manage tempo runs or any group runs?

     

    Thanks

     

     . Ronald

      I'm a coach for a half marathon group of about 40-50 people.  A couple things I do on our long Sunday runs.  1)  Do a timed workout instead of mileage.  If the workout is 90 minutes, everybody heads out in the same direction and turns around at 90 minutes and heads back.  In a large group, there is just no way everybody will stay together the entire run.  Paces are way too different.  That's why you have smaller groups form during these runs with people of similar pacing.  That's just how it is.  Doing it by time instead of mileage, one benefit is you'll get mostly everybody back together at the same time.  I like this as a coach because we can all stretch together and do some core training together while maintaining that big group aspect.

       

      2) Going by mileage is much more difficult and there is no way you'll keep people together or finishing at the same time.  Once we get into our much longer Sunday runs when going by mileage, we have our slower paced runners start 20-30 minutes before the faster paced runners.  Again, not much you can really do when paces are all over the place.  I'm dealing with runners at about an 8:30 pace to 14:00 pace.  Really. 


      HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

        Yeah, going by time works for group bricks also. Everyone go bike for half an hour out, then back -- the run starts at the start an hour after the bike, and will be 20 min out, then turn around. So both parts are by time, so everyone starts the run together, and finishes together, and people can bike or run with others of similar pace.

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


        No Talent Drips

          We've done intervals and doing them in a loop (track or around a park) works fine as everyone stays relatively together. I still haven't found ways to manage tempo workouts without splitting up. And doing them on a track would be rather boring.   

          Sounds like you are, for the most part, doing what you can. Unless you are invoking your inner Billy Pilgrim and becoming unstuck in time (hey, he had a runner's build).

           

          The only suggestion that I'd add to Madddog's is to employ your faster runners as pacers for slower runners for the slower runners' tempo workouts.  I have benefitted tremendously from "hanging on" to a couple of the faster guys around my area...I'll do a 10 mile tempo while they are doing an easy pace run or the first part of a long run. 

           

           

            Thanks for all your feedback.

             

            I'm already going by time. It's just hard because we're not that big of a group to create sub-groups. The reason I'd like the group to stay together is to actually make sure we grow and not the opposite because runners feel they always get left behind or run too slow for their abilities. The group abilities follows like many things a nice bell curve, one or two very strong runners and one or two very slow ones and most of them run at an average speed.

             

            So here's what I tried yesterday morning for our tempo run: we basically did a lollipop route, an out and back route with a 4 mile loop at the end. After the warm-up we accelerated to our tempo pace and the slower runners took the loop split one way while the faster ones took it the other way. Once the first slowest runner met the first fastest runner we waited for the rest and came back at an easy pace.

             

            I'll have to find other such ways of at least keeping people together at least at the start and end of these runs. We're growing, so at one point I'll be able to split the group in two or three.

             

            Thanks again. 

             

              . Ronald


            Feeling the growl again

              You can also do a chase run...have the slowest runners start the route first and have the progressively faster runners start in a delayed fashion so that they are chasing them down the whole run.  This can give the slower runners the thrill of "leading" and give them a boost in being able to compete regardless of their pace.

               

              As for staying together the whole run, that's only going to happen if everyone runs the same pace.  By definition that's not going to give everyone a good workout.

              "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

               

                You might want to just ditch the idea of doing tempo-type runs together.  We use group runs as easy, more social runs.  Sure, occassionally some people make it some sort of workout, but that's their choice.  We leave the workouts for solo runs are smaller groups.   The whole group doesn't have to stay together as long as no one gets left behind alone. 

                 

                  You can also do a chase run...have the slowest runners start the route first and have the progressively faster runners start in a delayed fashion so that they are chasing them down the whole run.  This can give the slower runners the thrill of "leading" and give them a boost in being able to compete regardless of their pace.

                  +1

                   

                  And that dredged up a dusty memory from high school: Coach would have us run a loop at a moderate pace.  Everyone had a time goal.  Staggered starts.  There'd be some kind of prize/punishment at the finish for the guy either closest to or farthest from his time goal -- e.g. some razzing, getting to lead cooldown (or decide where it went), sitting next to Coach on the bus, etc.  It kept us from turning "moderate effort" runs into private races, and everyone still finished at more or less the same time.

                   

                  Instead of staggered starts, you could also have the faster guys run a bigger loop, so their total time is about the same.  It still requires you to have enough runners of fairly equal ability to let them run together, though.

                  “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

                    On a Tempo day, does anyone really want to be social during the workout?  

                     

                    One way to get this to work is form a couple of sub groups with runners of roughly similar ability.  Then within the sub group, the faster guys get a easy day while the slower guys get a workout.  When we run as a group there are guys who run 7 min pace and others who run 10-11 min pace.  The faster group finishes and as part of their cool down comes back to the slower group and pick up the last runner and all finish together.  Then it's time to socialize and  talk about who was forced into a ditch by which a-hole car and who got chased by rabid dogs etc.


                    Best Present Ever

                      I second the idea of splitting up. We talk about running with our 'zip codes.'. We'll start together, we often end up at the same coffee shop together, no one ever gets left behind, but we don't try to stay with a group. As o e of the slower runners, I won't go to a workout if i know that everyone will be faster than me. I dont want to make someone feel like they have to run slow or wait a long time for me. Also, my zipcode friends and I will sometimes start a long run early so that we can finish with the faster folks and enjoy the postrun hanging out. It works out fine. I think I'd stop going if I felt like there was some pressure to all stay together. We range from sub-3 hr marathoners to 4 hr folks (me). There is a group of way-sub 3 folks that we sometimes see, esp at the track, but there is no effort to coordinate runs with them! We just take care to stay out of their way.

                        Other option is to plan the runs on multiple loop courses.  Although you may not be running together, at least seeing other members of the group multiple times helps to foster the group mentality.  We do this with our group that has 2:40 marathoners up to 5 hour plus marathoners...

                        And you can quote me as saying I was mis-quoted. Groucho Marx

                         

                        Rob

                          Hi all,

                           

                          I'd love to get your ideas on how to manage training runs for groups of runners with different speeds.

                           

                          We've done intervals and doing them in a loop (track or around a park) works fine as everyone stays relatively together. I still haven't found ways to manage tempo workouts without splitting up. And doing them on a track would be rather boring.  

                           

                          Do you have any ideas on how to manage tempo runs or any group runs?

                           

                           

                          A steady tempo pace on the roads it is not possible to keep the group together.

                           

                          If you were to move your tempo runs to the track, it might be possible.

                           

                          Your fast guys could do a steady tempo while the slower ones could take a 30-60 sec break every 3-4 min.  After 3-4 min have them turn around and start jogging, when they meet up with the fast group jump in and hang on for another 3-4 min.

                           

                          The other thing you could do is do a tempo style fartlek,  like 3 min on 1 min off.  The group ahead does their recovery running back to the slow group, then at least everyone is together at the beginning of the interval.