Are you looking to become a better runner in 2018? If so, I believe that this Running Top-10 list can help you become a better runner this year!
So, here is my Running Top-10 — #2 — Strength and Speed.
Strength and Speed could each have their own post in this top-10 list, but I want to focus on training the two ends of the spectrum…Aerobic strength and Speed.
I know, you probably saw strength and got excited that this was going to be a post about the weight room, or core exercises and all of that, but it’s not. We’re talking about Aerobic strength here and if you continue to follow my site, you’ll see that is a huge component of my training philosophy, as is keeping some speed work in your training regiment throughout the year.
I think for most runners if you do three things this year you’ll definitely improve:
- Run more. See Tip #1 for more on that. (Tip #1)
- Focus on high-end aerobic running, or what I term Aerobic strength work. This includes things such as progression runs, tempo runs, and steady state runs.
- Include some speed maintenance in your training, every week, in the form of strides, 200 meter repeats, or 1 minute hill repeats.
So, getting into the details…
What is high-end aerobic running? For me it’s the step right above easy running…it’s always in control, it’s always something you can manage, and it’s never forced. Some people might call it steady or moderate, but no matter what you call it, I think it’s about finding the right effort. That effort is a strong aerobic run that you can repeat the next day if needed. I like these runs in the form of progression runs…for me, a progression run starts very easy, almost like a warm up or shakeout jog that naturally progresses into your daily normal pace / effort range, and the continues to progress just past that. This effort at the end of the run, which is generally the last third to half of the run, should be something that you can maintain without struggle. I always tell my athletes, “Make sure you could go at least another mile if needed.”
I mentioned that you could achieve these in tempo runs and steady state runs as well, but I think you have to be careful here as some people turn tempo runs and steady state runs into racing or time trial efforts, and that is not what we’re talking about here. As you become more and more fit throughout the training cycle or year, I believe that you would move from easy running to progressive running to steady state running to tempo running, and as long as you are keeping the efforts where they should be for your fitness level you will be training the aerobic strength that I’m talking about in this article.
Now, what is speed maintenance? Again, for me, it’s making sure that you are doing some sort of faster running, with a focus on form and efficiency, every week. I like to assign 1-2 days with strides in the early training cycle and eventually progress that to where we have one day of strides and one day of cruise 200 meter repeats. For most of my master’s runners and sub-elite post-college athletes I like to alternate between cruise 200 meter repetitions and 1-minute hill repetitions once they are in their training buildup.
I think that speed is something that you should never get away from, and for most athletes, I’m not talking about sprinting…I’m talking about anything from Mile to 5km speeds, especially with runners who are training for half marathons up to full marathons.
So, Tip #2…keep the aerobic strength and speed in your training throughout the year.
This was a heavy post and I’m sure you might have some questions. Please, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any and all questions.
Good luck and LET’S GET MOVING!