Its been a year of tough lessons, great experiences and a whole lot of firsts, and I don’t mean first place finishes, since I last blogged for RT. I raced my first national cross this time last year, I made the pilgrimage to falls creek for the first time in January and made my debut at open national in April. I highlight these three events as they are the ones that really got me thinking “what are these guys doing to make them so much better than me” and left me searching for answers (usually on flotrack during class time). The transition from juniors to seniors was a lot harder than expected, id gone from being one of the best ranked U20s to being ranked somewhere in the 20s. My times came down but so did everyone else’s and found myself with a disappointing 20 something place at the nationals. Thus the winter of 2014 has been packed with big workouts and consistent weekly mileage to try and make the leap from a half decent domestic athlete to the Big Dogs of Australian Distance running.
My coach and I are relatively inexperienced in the fact that every millisecond I improve is new ground for both of us. I have a lot of respect and belief in my coach but he is very quick to state he does not know everything about running and is very open to suggestions and new ideas when it comes to my training so rather than write about myself for the rest of this blog, which im sure no one really wants to read, I’d prefer to discuss a more interesting topic in training sessions that I have experienced.
I am one to read a lot about anything running in my down time and recently read an article of I think Ben True’s where he says “ Coaches feel like they have some magical formula to running, and that’s not the case. Everybody has the same bag of workouts there pulling things from. The trick is, when you pull a particular workout out and how hard you try to workout that makes the difference” which to a certain extent I think is true, most workouts used for a specific target e.g speed,speed endurance,threshold are very similar but training by myself can get a little boring sometimes so I tend to look up workouts and give them a crack to change things up every once in a while. A few workouts I think are worth a go are:
4x400m (2.30 cycle e.g if you finish rep in 1.05, you would get 1.25 rest)
10min threshold (around 3.05-3.10/km, 2min rest before/after)
Performed in the off season by the NAU Lumberjacks it is a tough session that builds a fair amount of lactate. Im sure Dave McNeil has done this a number of times throughout his years at NAU. They always seem to have a solid cross country team and I can tell why. Anyone that can get this session done as well as those guys is doing pretty well!
3km – 2min
2km – 2min
Not a very complicated session but done correctly is a great one. I actually ran this session this morning. It is very easy to go to fast in the 3km and pay for it in the next two reps, especially after watching Texas techs Kennedy Kithuka run 2x3k,2x2k,2x1k on flotrack before hand in 8.45,8.38,5.41,5.37,2.44,2.41. I recommend to anyone who does this session to take it easy on the 3ks as I am still hurting from it.
6x800m hills – jog back recovery (around 3.30)
My coach being and Englishmen is a big fan of Seb Coe. When we first teamed up he looked into his training and this session caught his eye. Obviously every hills gradient is different and is hard to judge times of others sessions but Apparently Coe had run these all sub 2min in top form. I was only a 1.53 runner the first time I gave this workout a go. I got the first one out in 2.16 and was wrecked.
1600m tempo (1min slower than mile)
1200m tempo (1min slower than 1200m)
3minutes recovery on everything, can be jogging or standing.
In the mid 1970′s, Ron Warhurst, the coach of the University of Michigan, devised a workout for his cross country team that has become a staple for distance runners over the years. Many coaches create varied workouts from this. It is designed to help athletes with pace change. This is the one session from the list that I have not yet tried as I am waiting to get on some tartan. Don’t think my home made track will do me well on this one.
Until next time,