Hanson’s Community Questions: Episode 1 VO2max pace work

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From our closed Facebook Community:

Sasha: I would like to know if/how Hansons training addresses different pace work such as VO2Max, etc. The 5k-10k Pace work isn’t fast enough for VO2Max, and I’ve found great adaptions to occur at 3k Pace. Is that something that could be added, and is it added in custom training and/or amongst Hanson’s elite?

This is a question we get a fair amount. It’s also a source of misconception with our naysayers. With that, there’s a number of components that we should look at when answering the main question here.

VO2max pace work

What population are you working with?

With the majority of people we are working with they are going to get the vast majority of aerobic fitness by the peripheral benefits of easy to moderate running. Even marathon pace is a highly aerobic event. Plus, the majority of people who are using the program are taking their training to a new level and the addition of very fast running will only create an additional stress that they may or may not be able to recover from. As a coach with a program meant for large groups, it’s not a good addition to expect everyone to tolerate. To me, this is something that a coach working with an individual would add.

What is the goal of our training cycle?

The goal of our marathon program isn’t to improve your VO2max. It’s been shown time and time again that VO2max is not a good predictor of race performance, especially the marathon. So, in our case, VO2max will improve as a byproduct of the training, not because we emphasized it. You also have to look at where you fit that type of training. You won’t put it early in the segment as that can cause acidosis. It also doesn’t make sense because the body might not to be able to withstand that intensity, even in short bouts. I’m also not going to put it at the end, when I am trying to be as race specific as possible.

The 3-2 rule revisited

Even after what I just wrote in the last two sections, I do think there is a place for everything. If you have read the book and my posts, you know I don’t like people just racing marathon after marathon. We have what we call the 3-2 rule, which is simply three marathons to every two years. Now that is probably really painful for people to hear, and depending on the person, you may be able to sneak it up to 2 marathons per year. However, this is one of the main reasons why. If we are always in a marathon training mode, we either have to force training that might not be good timing (or force us to miss on the stuff we really need), or we take a dedicated segment every now and then and use it to challenge ourselves in a new way. This could be building our mileage, improving our top end speed, adding strength training. Personally, it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s not the same training over and over.

So with that said, would I add? Not in a general setting where I am already making a ton of assumptions about you. However, working on an individual level, we would work all facets of training into your big picture of training when we can put it in the appropriate place!

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