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 individually with a ratio of just one or two coaches to 40+ runners, although we can try to be more focused on what an individual athlete wants.
This plan was put originally in place at the end of 2014 but brought back to a bigger training group in early spring 2015. At the end of 2018 and into 2019 we have started to split the Tuesday night groups to give a more individual approach when we have the coaching resources available. Training sessions will always deal with the mean of the groups; also the aim is to cater for the wide range of abilities within the club.
The training is always planned and, after a review at the end of each year, we plan the macro cycle which covers the full year. 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 heart-rate 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 a training cycle, you would generally have been running some VO2 max sessions. The VO2 max work is to exhaustion and so is very fast and, for most, an effort over no more than 60-90 seconds (usually less than 30 seconds) intervals. These sessions are interspersed with enough recovery to ensure your heart rate is fully reduced before the next repetition. This type of session is also used for your tapering period of 2–3 weeks before a major race, depending on the nature of the event and your goals.
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 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 supplementing your running week to include some strength work, so including hills in training is good for this. Additional sessions on core work and flexibility would also supplement any running plan. Recovery sessions on a bike can also be good if you need less impact or load into your week.
The Overall Plan (Macro Cycle Guide)
- Winter: Building a base; strength training with focus on technique and hill work.
- Spring: Building on the base; more lactate threshold running.
- Summer: Increase the VO2 max sessions for shorter races; speed work.
- Autumn: Phased approach into longer lactate sessions; into winter prep.
Download a copy of the 2019 Macro Plan here.
Generally, Tuesday is a shorter 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 with specific drills help to improve certain aspects of your technique. If you are not sure then just ask. This is something that most runners really do not get the most out of.
Thursday is generally a longer endurance tempo run (10k). 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.
Within all sessions the aim is to be all inclusive. If you have any issues or need advice then just ask. If you want to do your own session just mention this as we can adapt sessions or change as required to accommodate you.
Drills, Self-learning and Self-analysis
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.
The training goal for the winter period is generally building a base. Often races are cross-country and endurance-based so there will be hill work to increase your strength and your lactate threshold, as well as improving your running form. With the hill work the goal is also to improve your posture, technique and cadence.
All CAC sessions have a purpose based on inclusive goals. If you have any specific requirements then just discuss them with one of our UKA qualified coaches: Birdy, Luke and Nick.
At specific times and periods we may offer additional sessions where coaching is provided. These could be additional hill sessions. As you may be aware, groups generally arrange a longer run themselves with other runners at a similar pace.
The club macro plan has little detail but shows the training phases. It is there for you to use to add your specific weekly miles or accommodate races. The training summary issued by the coaches has the proposed content of the weekly club sessions. This document also indicates the session meeting points and times.
Please note that as UKA coaches ensuring the safety of the session is our number one priority. We can change sessions at any point and do not apologise for this, although we would not change the meeting point. We can insist that you wear clothing that we consider sensible for the environment and if we are not satisfied then can refuse to take you on our session. We are all fully licensed and insured as coaches, with a group of competent leaders, so make use of this resource.
- Paul Bird
- Luke Murray
- Nick Hides
- Mike Andrews
- Jason Moss
- Helen Ball
- Andy Heyes