Saturday, November 3, 2012

Training: Putting Down the Foundation, pt.2

We continue this series on the most important part of your training schedule, base building. How you do this type of training,how well you do it, meaning,how long and if you do it the way you are supposed to,will determine how the rest of your conditioning and eventual racing will go. I continue:
"It is suggested that the runner have several out and back courses where he can accurately measure his time.I find this 'exercise' devised by Lydiard to be ingenious in its simplicity and practicality.The purpose of it is to develop your aerobic threshhold. Here's how it goes: run out easy for about 20 minutes or more(depending on your fitness) then turn around and return. The key to doing this practice is to run easy,comfortably;making sure you don't become 'winded'.If it takes you longer to return to your starting point then most likely you went out too fast. Again,the aim of this workout is to improve your aerobic threshhold. Also remember that if you have to back off or feel winded doing this, then most likely you ran a portion of it too fast and went into an anaerobic state.Do these measured courses twice a week,as you become fitter your times will become faster. This happens because you are achieving an increase in your maximum steady(aerobic) state as a result of your improving physical condition. As fitness develops,lengthening of the courses are necessary. Initially this workout requires control and discipline because you have to run a certain way,resisting the urge to go too fast. The more you do it though,the more natural it feels. The improvement in your aerobic fitness is subtle but you'll be surprised at how well this exercise works.
By the way,many like to use time as a yardstick for measuring their workouts instead of miles.Lydiard recommends this,especially in the beginning stages of your training program. It's easy to get preoccupied with mileage thus losing sight of the real purpose of the base phase. I have found that experienced runners seem to instinctively know how fast they're running so translating time into mileage is no problem.
In regards to increasing mileage,accepted thought is that a 10% increase per week is fine. Of course,each runner is unique and this percentage may not be right for you.Listen to your body,especially when you get towards the maximum mileage you want to achieve. You may want to increase at 5% or keep your mileage the same for a few weeks or even drop down a little one week before increasing it again.
Another question often asked when formulating the base phase: should I run twice a day? Lydiard states that if time allows and it doesn't take away from your main workout then a second run is good.He believes that one longer sustained run is better than two shorter runs. The longer running is best for developing the capillary system and increasing your oxygen uptake.
Varying the distances run each day is advised.Needless to say,different places to run,even if it requires a little travel time,makes the aerobic phase even more enjoyable.
Once or twice a week your course should take you over some hills and/or involve some easy fartlek. The hilly course should not have hills that are too steep or too long. The fartlek should be comprised of easy 100 to 200 meter 'pick-ups' interspersed throughout an easy run.Again,consider your level of fitness as you formulate your workouts for the base phase. I have known runners that have no problem running a hilly course during the early stages of their base phase while others,less fit,need to wait before doing so. It all boils down to the phrase, 'listen to your body.'"

This ends part 2 of Putting Down the Foundation. The third and final section will be posted tomorrow(Sunday). I apologize for not posting this section last Thursday as I said I would but work related issues prevented me from doing so.
Many have asked recently what I thought of the cancellation of the NYC marathon. I had two thoughts on this: first off, it was as they say,a no brainer,it needed to be cancelled. But here's where race organizers and the mayor of NYC went wrong; early on, or at the latest halfway into the week, it was obvious that there was an incredible amount of damage and destruction.That was the time to cancel the marathon. By waiting till Friday thousands of runners from all over the country had already arrived in the city, they'd spent their money on getting there as well as on hotel accomodations.By cancelling the race when it was obvious to everyone but a few,these runners could have been saved alot of money and time. One wonders if the fact that the NYC marathon generates 350 million in cash for the city played a factor in the late decision,a decision that was made after there was an increasing outcry from the public to do so. Mmmmm.

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