Club coach Birdy has put a few notes together on what we are training for on club nights to confirm what we have been doing and why we have been doing it.
Coaching vs Training
Firstly, please note the word "training": we really are not in a position to "coach "you with a ratio of just one or two coaches to 40+ runners.
Coaching can be more focused on what an individual athlete wants. I put this in place at the end of 2014 but brought things back to a bigger training group in early spring 2015. This was in part due to feedback but primarily because I had more responsibility with work from March this year, so less time to dedicate to this. Training sessions deal with the mean of the group and also aims to cater for all of the wider abilities.
What we have also been trying to do this year is training in phases. In approximately a 12-16 week period we would start with strength and endurance sessions to build a base. Then I would introduce some lactate threshold sessions. This is where I would try and get you to run within a zone at 80-90% of your maximum heart rate. For those without HR monitors I would say run at your 10k pace. If you work in this zone you should be training your body to dealing with lactic acid more efficiently.
At the end of the training cycle, over the past few weeks, you have been running at your VO2 max. This is to exhaustion and so is very fast, and for most an effort over no more than 90 seconds. These sessions are interspersed with enough recovery to ensure your heart rate is fully reduced before the next repetition.
Types of Training
As a guide, depending on individuals and their training age, ability, etc. the VO2 max (flat out) work makes up only 5-7% of your training. Working in the tempo run zone, at around 85% effort, makes up about 15%. The rest of the week is very little effort for most people and concentrates on time on legs and recovery. It's just a matter of understanding what you can fit in.
The running you need to do very much depends on the time that you wish to give running, and then your goals. What we can offer you is a more specific training plan when you are working towards a goal. If you fill in the training profile then one of the coaches will review it for you. This is when we need your feedback to monitor your progress. If we do not know your goals then we cannot assist: we can't read minds! It's also important that if you are unsure about a training session then ask before you start. We could modify something for you if we know what you want.
Ideally you should be including some strength and endurance work, including hills, circuit training, etc.
The Overall Plan
Generally, Tuesday is a short session either trying to train your tolerance to lactate (10k pace), or quicker than this for a few weeks at the end of a cycle. Also on Tuesday we try and improve your technique. It's something that most runners really do not get the most out of, so we will be conducting this differently into the Autumn. Thursday is generally a longer endurance tempo run. This is when I try to get those of us who have half marathon races coming up to run 8 miles at a tempo pace. We also offer shorter distances for the rest of the group.
- Drills, self-learning and self-analysis will continue on Tuesdays.
- You should now understand which of the drills that we have been practising as a group are best for you.
- You all understand why we are doing the drills, i.e. to get us ready for the session and also to improve technique.
- You should know your weak areas, so they will be the areas now which to focus. If you’re not sure ask a coach to help. For most it’s still a poor core, meaning that you’re not holding your hips high. This needs strong abs. The other general point is that your heels are not near your bum when you pull your back leg through.
Plan for This Phase
The goal for this period is increasing our lactate training. If using a heart-rate (HR) monitor the pace is about 75 to 80 percent of your maximum HR. For highly trained and elite runners, lactate threshold pace is about 25 to 30 seconds per mile slower than 5K race pace (or about 15 to 20 seconds per mile slower than 10K race pace) and corresponds to about 85 to 90 percent max HR. As I have mentioned several times it’s finishing each rep out of breath and finding it difficult to talk - not flat out as you then tire too quickly - and you don’t work long enough in the correct energy zone.
We usually have people out running long on Sunday and also various sessions that athletes have arranged on Saturdays. If you need any more information then just ask.