This is a very quick routine to strengthen your lower body in a running specific way.
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This is a very quick routine to strengthen your lower body in a running specific way.
If I were to go back and change one thing about my running career, it would be to change how I approached I approached strength training and “core” training. It’s not that none of my coaches had me avoid strength training, in fact, I think all of them knew it would be beneficial. The problem was, that I don’t think any of them truly understood how to approach the idea with an endurance runner. Really, you can’t say it was their fault, as the idea at the time I started running is that endurance runners purely needed to be skinny. At that point, I’d say looking frail was a precursor to how well you would run!
Now, as a coach, and as an athlete trying to preserve my career, I can see the benefits. Being strong and light are exponentially better than just being light. Being strong allows you to handle higher training loads and be more resilient. This allows us to be more consistent and continue to progress at steady rates.
Getting strong takes a commitment, but I certainly don’t think the time commitment that many of us feel is necessary. Since experimenting with this myself, I have it down to an efficient set of exercises. IF we do a little bit every day, in some capacity, we barely notice that time commitment. We don’t need to sacrifice our mileage or our desirable weight. Nor, do we need to sacrifice our hard earned performance.
At our camp last weekend, I presented a few slides on the subject: Running & Strength Training
My notes are on there too, so hopefully it makes senses. For our Training Supplements members, I have added pdf’s of two specific routines that I have made.
We are putting a ton of new content together that will be released to our campers in a couple weeks, but some of it I can start to trickle out now. We have a dynamic warmup plan in place already, but updated it with a few new exercises and ideas. I’ll start posting the other info that goes along with this ASAP, but at least right now you can have the routine to start doing.
Use a dynamic warm up to increase your immediate mobility before you begin to run. This will increase your functional flexibility (the flexibility you need to be able to run well. By well, I mean that you don’t look like you don’t have any mobile joints) Ideally, you should take a few minutes before you run to do this. Over time you’ll notice residual increases in your general flexibility.
I also have on there the form drills. These are best done before your workout- speed, strength, and tempo runs. This will help develop neuromuscular connections, improve your running economy, form, and overall speed.
As I mentioned, I have more info that I will release on this topic, but for now, here’s the updated routine:
When we talk about developing distance runners, we talk about long runs, speed work, tempos and the sort. We talk about the difficult things , but rarely do we really emphasize development through easy running. Easy running has different levels and meanings, all of which are important. However, instead of describing these things positively, we end up referring to it as junk mileage as if it were detrimental to developing your running ability. So runners are told that all they need to do is the difficult things and they will improve. They may, I’m sure many will for a while and that’s what makes it popular. Admittedly this theory has always confused me. Maybe because I see us as a society trending towards doing the least but gaining the most. Perhaps it’s because getting better can’t possibly be as easy as running at a comfortable pace every couple days, right? Or, maybe it’s simply because the majority of runners out there don’t even think about long term development. Whatever the situation is, easy running has, undeservedly so, gotten a bad wrap. In the wake of this, we complain that we can’t run mileage or we plateau but the answer is right here- the easy run.
Easy running is the foundation in which all other training can be built from. By itself, easy running will directly contribute to:
For full breakdown on the physiology of easy running: HMM
Think about when people get hurt with running, especially newer runners or those running low mileage but emphasize hard workouts. It’s some sort of tissue breakdown. Maybe it’s in the bone (stress fracture) or tendon (tendonitis- achilles, tibial). These are all pretty common, right? Why do these occur? Without getting into debate about shoes or biomechanics, let’s break this down to the simplest mechanism. Our cardiovascular system will adapt to exercise very quickly, much faster than the skeletalmuscular system. So many times, we feel much more fit after a couple weeks, so we keep increasing our paces. However, the bones and tendons haven’t had enough time to catch up to the cardiovascular system. So, bone and tendon break down faster than it can be repaired and injury occurs. This frustrates runners and they believe that they simply can’t run very far or they’ll end up injured. This a big reason people shy away from running more. To be honest, a lot of this is our fault as coaches because we don’t show these folks how to do it, or to emphasize patience. When a person tells me they can’t run mileage, the first thing I look at is their easy days compared to their racing ability.
It was hard to choose a place to start with these discussions, since it seems intertwined and dependent on each other. Of course, the first thing I tell you is to run easy and slow down to get better. So, it’s only natural that I tell you that this is not always the case! Ok, this is definitely going to require more explanation! I guess the best way to define “easy” is easier than your SOS days (Something of Substance), but not necessarily slow. Remember that I said easy running has different levels and meanings? This is another area where we as runners tend to do it, but not because they run different paces, but rather they run the same pace (often too hard) for all of their easy runs. Let me put it this way, when I prescribe a runner a range of 7 to 8 minutes per mile for their easy days, what do you think they are going to try to run? Exactly, they are going to think that is 8 minute pace is good, then 7 minute pace is even better. So, every run is to try and run their fast end of the range. Yes, technically is appropriate, but what if they are tired? What if they are getting sick? Let’s take a closer look at some “easy” running levels.
Recovery Running: The slowest end of the range. This is 2.5+ minutes slower than marathon pace. For a lot of runners, they have to work to run this slow. I don’t prescribe a ton, but rather like to show that if you are feeling really rough, you can still gain benefit from this running. Where you would probably see it is during a cool down after a tough workout, or a run the day following a tough workout.
Easy Running: This and the next range of running is the bread and butter of easy running. It’s a comfortable pace. Let’s say this range is roughly 1.5-2.5 minutes slower than marathon pace. It’s a pace range that allows you to run theoretically as far as you want and uninterrupted time is probably the greatest factor in easy running adaptations. The key here is to not force it and just let yourself fall in this range. If you struggle in this range, it may be wise to look at what the race goal time is. Most scheduled easy runs will be in this pace.
Moderate Running: This may be 30 seconds to a minute per mile slower than your marathon goal pace. I’ll prescribe this to my more fit runners, or runners who are already running higher mileage. While easy, it does start creeping up on the scale of energy usage. The faster you run, the more glycogen, or stored carbohydrate, is used. The goal with endurance training is to become more efficient at burning fat at higher intensities. Moderate paced easy running puts you a little closer to a threshold and while you burn a little bit more carbohydrate, aren’t in danger of running out of fuel (unless you run for hours on end). However, you do start to tell the body that it should begin to adapt. I like putting longer runs at the moderate pace to really put the body in the position to run the glycogen stores low enough to the point where the body says “Hey, let’s start storing more glycogen” And, you become pretty darn efficient at burning fat.
High Aerobic: This is getting really close to goal marathon pace and I don’t prescribe as much overall. Again, I’ll use this for some long runs or for some early season hard runs for some runners. These shouldn’t be added much though until the runner is at a mileage level that isn’t going to change drastically. What you might see is a long run with a section run at this pace with the amount of time spent increases every few weeks. Your better marathoners can do this up to a couple hours, or most of their long run, when nearing peak fitness.
Now we have a lot of info here and I discussed two of the main ways we tend to mess it up. Let’s talk about how we can use easy runs to build our training volumes higher than we ever thought possible.
I try to be open minded with different methods of training, but one thing I cannot stand is the term junk mileage. I think it’s a way to get around telling people that they are doing it wrong. This may be harsh, but as a coach, it’s our responsibility to be honest. Otherwise, you jeopardize the athletes potential and that is not fair to anyone. Easy mileage is the foundation of training and the gateway to faster training and better training. We simply need to get over the idea that their are shortcuts to long term success.
-My 2 Cents, Luke
We left of talking a bit about periodization, especially for the marathon. I wanted to wrap up the speed discussion with talking about why our speed is emphasized in the beginning and why I don’t think it’s going to put a person into acidosis (when done properly)
First, I think I actually need to cover the idea of speed work putting a runner into acidosis. This is a very real thing. It happens with too much speed work, especially speed work at 100% VO2max and higher. This means lots of repeats that are short and very fast. If you are training for a 10k or shorter distance then I can see this being a huge potential problem. I think about many of the local road racers who start racing as soon as the snow melts and race every couple weeks until the snow starts flying again. Being burnt out is a very big issue. The culprit here is tons of work (and racing) at very high intensities. As I mentioned in part I, Lydiard had his marathoners stop at 5k to 10k intensities for their faster workouts (but still done over the last few weeks of the training block). When you look at 5k and 10k in terms of energy contribution. the 5k is still 93% aerobic and the 10k is 97% aerobic. On the other hand, if you were to race an 800, the aerobic contribution falls to 57% and the aerobic contribution for the mile would be about 76%. So you can see, that by limiting the pace of your speed development to 5k/10k pace, you keep it a very high aerobic workload and minimize the potential for acidosis.
To me, it’s a lot less about the worry of acidosis. That’s well represented above. No, it’s simply more practical for the marathon- to me anyway. The last 6 weeks really does need to be a focus on the task at hand. What’s going to be more beneficial to your marathon development, cranking out fast 400’s or being able to be strong through miles 20-26.2?
With that said, the speed development shouldn’t be denied, so where can we put it but still keep all systems trained, promote aerobic development, and put our final push on race specific drive mode? The beginning makes the most sense. As I have mentioned before, this refers to the beginner and advanced schedules that so many people are now familiar with. You can revisit that discussion in part I. If we were working with you individually, we would have the freedom to put an emphasis on speed early on and gradually shift the focus to the strength later on. We could sprinkle in something different throughout the segment to hit on a system that has been neglected for a few weeks.
All of this makes another point valid. That is, to truly keep your training in balance you have to be willing to race other races and dedicate training segments to shorter distances. This will allow you to touch the type of training that marathon training simply isn’t a good fit for. The good thing is, that marathon training sets you up perfectly to be able to handle that higher intensity training for a short, truly dedicated speed segment.
Lastly, many of you are probably wondering about things like strides, hills, and where they fit into the big picture of things. That my friends is material for another post. I want you to just chew on this morsel for a little bit!
Til the next time,
I’ve been meaning to do a write up on marathon speed for some time now. Now, as I actually begin writing, I realize that there is a lot to cover here and will require a few parts to it. Otherwise, I might as well add another chapter to the book! The trick here is to figure out the best starting point!
The best place to begin is with some thoughts on Lydiard and periodization in general. People describe Lydiard as a linear periodization, best represented by the pyramid we’ve shown before.
The foundation is slower, easy running. Over time you add faster and faster work until you are able to incorporate very fast repeats (faster than mile pace). Supplemental running like hills and strides are done nearly all the time. But where does all of this fit for the marathon? Even Lydiard put in his writings that his marathon runners wouldn’t go past the 5k/10k type of intervals during marathon training. To me, this points out a very important aspect of speed work or speed development. Speed training is relative to what you are training for. However, it also raises another question, if this is the case, and we are should be training our most race specific aspects the last several weeks, is the Lydiard pyramid the best way to go about. So this brings about a few things that I wanted us to think about with Lydiard and periodization.
Ok, great stuff to think about! Let’s jump in. I don’t know if these will be answered in order, but I’ll see what happens. As far as how Lydiard’s linear style periodiztion goes, I truly do believe it will work for everything 10k and under, 100%. I would say I am at about 95% of being completely sold on it being the best marathon style periodization. My major hang up for the linear style progression is the practicality of it for the recreational and even competitive athlete. Why? Because it would force people who aren’t training for a national meet or a world championship type race to sacrifice a lot of time with sub-par and under-trained races in order to reach their peak racing fitness. In short, their optimal racing window would be a very short window of a few weeks over a couple periods a year. That’s a very tough sell to many runners.
With that said, how can we still promote long term development, but not force ourselves into a situation with a very limited window of opportunity? That’s where the non-linear approach comes in. My basic understanding of how this works is that you have your training block of a few months and within that block, all training stresses are appropriately stressed. However, it’s not like you do this through the entire training segment. For instance, your last six weeks would truly be dedicated to marathon specific work, but you may have 2 or 3 “speed” type workouts sprinkled in there. I’ve seen a lot more of this type of periodiztion come up in discussions. To me, it makes sense for pretty much every level of runner. This type of training model allows runners to be but a few weeks away from being able to run well at many different distances. Long term development is stressed by :
That is a two part answer.
First, with the schedules you’ve seen in the book, I think it’s a hybrid of the linear and non-linear styles. This is because there is a dedicated block of “speed” in the beginning, without much emphasis on speed late in the training block. You have to look at this way: These schedules are designed to work for a high percentage of people, so we have to put things in a way that will make most people successful. So in this case, we don’t want people to sacrifice speed throughout the segment, but we don’t want them to be doing speed all through the training, either. For many people, that would put them in that “acidosis” state and hamper their development. So, it’s really trying to make one style work for a large number of people.
On the other hand, coaching an individual, then we can tailor the schedule specific to you. Here, we would be a more non-linear approach to the marathon training. Personally, I probably wouldn’t make you do six straight weeks of speed intervals without a break in there. Would the majority be in the beginning of the schedule? Yes, the focus’ would still be the same, but we’d insert occasional workouts that would make sure all systems are stressed.
So to answer a couple of the numbers above. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Lydiard works, non-linear works. It truly does depend on the runner’s situation and what we are trying to accomplish. Hansons philosophy? Definitely leans towards a non-linear approach with our coaching clients, while the beginner and advanced programs that many people are familiar with, lie somewhere in the middle. Is there a reverse-linear model?
We are really left with why the speed is in the beginning of the block for the marathon training and why I don’t feel that the runner goes into “acidosis” by doing this. However, this post is now over a thousand words, so we’ll leave that for part II.
As always, thanks for reading. Hopefully, this begins to shed a little more light on why we do things just a touch differently for the marathon.
Just read this little article: Ice and NSAID’s
Keep in mind, not saying never, but like so much, it may be overprescribed. Just something to think about.
Marathon Strength Hanson’s Coaching Services When we talk about strength, usually we are referring to weight rooms, or one arm pushups. In the case of the Hanson’s Marathon Method, we aren’t talking about that. Have you ever heard the term “Strength equals speed” That’s more in line with what we are talking about. Strength in our system is referring to a type of SOS workout. It is usually used when talking about training for a half or full marathon and is really about doing an extended amount of work at a fairly high intensity (but slower than speed work) to develop the runner’s ability to deal with lactic acid. If you aren’t familiar with our system, you may have heard the term “cruise intervals” which are essentially the same thing. These are coined by Dr. Jack Daniels’ and are a common part of his training. Our strength intervals aren’t necessarily true Lactate threshold runs per say, as we tend to keep you just under that lactate threshold. Remember, we are really looking at building your fitness from the bottom up. In the popular sense of the word “threshold run” you are probably thinking about a 20 minute run at lactate threshold pace. In our strength workouts, you’ll spend much longer than 20 minutes of hard running, just at a slightly slower pace. Daniels cruise intervals are often something like 2×1.5 miles @ LT or 3×1600 @ LT, so still pretty close to that 20 minute range, but with a short rest in there. For overall fitness, these are great, but as Lydiard describes in his writings, “You have to be careful about going over the edge.” That edge is LT. Do too much work above LT and you really limit your growth of the aerobic system. It escalates the chance of injury and burnout, too.
Keep in mind that we are talking about long races here. So what we do for a 5k and 10k is going to be different than what we are doing for these races. It also makes it important to do this type of training between marathons so that you can maintain balance and not get stale! My point is thought, that you have to look at what we are trying to accomplish with the marathon (or any race over 2 hours). That is to be able to burn fat at the highest intensity possible. In a nutshell, the byproduct of carbohydrate metabolism (running hard) is the production of lactate. Once we get past the LT lactate can’t be recycled by the body at the same rate it is being produced. The body reacts by forcing you to slow down before things get out of control! So the solution is to maximize the mitochondrial component- the place where aerobic metabolism occurs. This happens by growing more mitochondria, making them bigger, and increasing the enzyme activity within the mitochondria. The result is that more fat can be processed because the network in place can process more fat (not faster, it’s just because the network is bigger) This means that less lactate is given off at higher intensities and you , my friend, can run faster in the marathon- or at least go farther before hitting the wall. With all of this said, the purpose of the speed work is to
If you have read most of the literature about the Hansons Marathon Method, you’ll see that the strength work is, by definition, MP-10 seconds per mile. If you have been coached by us, sometimes you’ll see half marathon pace. What we choose really depends on the person. Early season work will always be MP-10, where if an advanced runner I may crank it down to half marathon pace. Also, the faster you are, the closer half marathon pace comes to being quite similar to MP-10 seconds. For instance, my marathon pace is 5:08 and my ½ marathon pace is 4:54, a 14 second difference.
Track or roads? Personally, I like these workouts done AWAY from the track. That’s a lot of volume to do on that surface and I fear injury. This is done with purely anecdotal evidence from my personal experience and observation of athletes. Ideally, you can get on a rail to trail type path or dirt roads. Since these are more marathon specific workouts, I like keeping these on roads or bike paths. However, if the track is the best option available, then you have to go with what’s available. A note about the recovery: At the very minimum, the recoveries are jogging. As you become more fit, the faster the recovery jogs should try to become (to a point). So, instead covering the recoveries at the slow end of your recovery pace range, try to keep it in the easy portion of your pace range. This will keep heart rate higher and maximizing the time you are spending in the appropriate range for LT development. However, don’t force this. Ultimately, I am happy as long as you are jogging the recoveries. I would rather that then the actual pace of the workout suffer.
In this episode, we discuss the long run, as it pertains to the marathon. We touch upon why the long run for the general schedules is 16 miles and how to adjust accordingly to your own training level.
If you’d like to follow along, I have the presentation in PDF form: Marathon Long Run
Thanks for listening! Please email us with any training topics that you’d like discussed at [email protected]
There are a lot of different definitions for tempo runs. For marathon training, a tempo run is a run at goal marathon pace.
There is not a lot to adjust for most marathoners. For most people I would continue to build from 5 miles to 10 miles at pace for their progression. However, there are a few tweaks that could be made for certain populations.
Introduce tempo’s early in the segment.
Start with 3 miles and build to 4 miles after a few weeks. From there, continue with normal progression of 5-10 miles of tempo.
With you folks, you can consider starting at 6 mile tempos and progressing to 10 mile tempos, especially if your training block is in the 12-14 weeks range.
There is the possibility of running a longer tempo run, say 11-12 miles. However, I would not do them in consecutive weeks like the other tempo run distances. These are something that can be done once every few weeks. I don’t prescribe a ton of these because of the time factor. Many people are already barely squeezing in a 10 mile tempo (plus warm up/and cool down). One option is to do a longer tempo in place of a Sunday run. It can be on a weekend when you aren’t doing a true long run. This then makes your Thursday and open day. I would do a medium long run in this case. Something in the range of 14 miles (at least 90 minutes) and then do your long tempo on Saturday or Sunday.
At this mileage, you can also consider doing a cutdown. This is best suited early in a training block when just starting to do some harder workouts and/or later in a segment if you are truly fatigued but still need a solid workout to get in. For instance, the Hanson’s-Brooks Distance Project do a 10 mile cutdown. I’ll give you the guys’ version because I know the paces off the top of my head. Here’s what the mile splits look like in a traditional cutdown: 6:00, 6:00, 5:50, 5:50, 5:40, 5:30, 5:20, 5:10, 5:00, 4:50 (Sometimes we’ll stay at 5:00). From a pace standpoint, we are starting at about 40-50 seconds slower than marathon pace and getting down to about half marathon pace with these runs. I do like these workouts because they start out pretty easy, and then it sneaks up on you and all of a sudden it’s hard the last few miles. This is a great representation of the marathon. These can be 6-10 miles in length. The end pace should always be about the same, but the beginning pace can become faster as the length of the cutdown shortens.
Implementing the cutdown is key. I like these as a first workout back from a running break. They are also good to do as a last workout before a race (say a tune up race during marathon training), and if you are really on the verge of going over that training edge, but don’t want complete rest.
The tempo fartlek: This something that I have only implanted recently, but it is great for a couple of different running groups- those who are terrible at running marathon pace tempos and those who struggle with wrapping their head around their marathon pace.
So, instead of a traditional tempo run, start with something like 20×1 minute at your goal marathon pace with 30 seconds to 1 minute jog in between. With a 1-2 mile warm up and then an additional 1-2 mile cool down, you have a nice little run with some intensity. Each week, increase the time, but leave the recovery the same. Here’s a sample progression:
|Week 1||20×1 min w/ 1 min jog|
|Week 2||15×2 min w/ 1 min jog|
|Week 3||10×3 min w/ 1 min jog|
|Week 4||8×4 min w/ 1 min jog|
|Week 5||6×5 min w/ 1 min jog|
|Week 6||5×6 min w/ 1 min jog|
|Week 7||4×8 min w/ 1 min jog|
|Week 8||3×10 min w/ 1 min jog|
If you are doing a marathon and think this is what you would like to try first, then start ASAP, even if it is before you are actually training for your marathon. The goal later is to be running full traditional marathon tempo runs.
If you still have trouble and need to break up the runs, then consider these variations:
|Weeks 1-2||5×1 mile (@ goal MP) with 2 minute jog|
|Weeks 3-4||3×2 mile (@ goal MP) with 2 minute jog|
|Weeks 4-5||2×3 miles (@ goal MP) with 2 minute jog|
|Weeks 5-6||2×4 miles (@ goal MP) with 2 minute jog|
|Weeks 7-8||2×5 miles (@ goal MP) with 2 minute jog|
Don’t pay too much attention to how the weeks are numbered. You may do the first 8 weeks of your training using the first chart and then follow a modified structure of the second chart. As a coach, I’d like to see you be running longer tempos without a break during the last 4-6 weeks of your training block. That may mean doing some of the first column before they even begin training for their goal marathon just so that they can get used to running marathon pace.
For this group, I am referring to those at 80 plus miles per week. I have looked over a lot of the higher level plans of legendary coaches like Joe Vigil, Jack Daniels, and Renato Canova. All three incorporate runs at marathon pace (they don’t call them tempos) up to 18-20 miles. That’s a huge run at marathon pace. Granted, these higher numbers are for their elite runners, but there should be a bridge to those runners who are putting in 80-110 miles per week. I don’t see why they shouldn’t engage in some runs that are 12-16 miles at goal marathon pace.
|Week 10||10-12 mile tempo|
|Week 11||10-12 mile tempo|
|Week 12||12-14 tempo OR Tempo during week and a fast finish long run.|
|Week 13||14-16 miles @ pace. 20-22 miles total (depending on mileage and warm up and cool down)Should be a continual run.For most people, this would take the place of a long run|
|Week 14||10 mile tempo|
|Week 15||6 mile tempo OR a 2×3 or 2×4 @ pace early in week|
With our program we already spend a lot of time doing work at goal marathon pace, so I feel like some of these things are optional. You may be better off by simply adjusting your long runs to incorporate more marathon pace work, rather than trying to force more marathon pace work during the week. This is especially true if you aren’t looking to increase your mileage, just break up your traditional routine.
Feel free to download this article in PDF form: Marathon Tempo
Fartlek workouts are great alternatives to traditional speed workouts. The goal is still to build one’s aerobic capacity, however the focus is shifted from a pace per distance to an effort for a certain time. Read more
If you are not experienced in the marathon, coming up from low mileage, or just looking to finish your marathon then your first focus should be to cover the long run distance. This means to simply focus on covering the ground at an easy pace until you have built your general endurance sufficiently. We may say this a lot, but maximize your developments/adaptations before moving up the training variables. Read more