Coach Jay - I'm interested in knowing more about your routines, specifically how you might apply the work to marathon prep. I've watched all your videos, and I've studied your general strength progression for HS track athletes. I like your approach, but I'm a little overwhelmed with all of the information that's available.
Among many questions are the following:
1. How do you implement the routines with gym workouts [i.e., traditional weight training]? Are the routines used as the sole means of strength work first, becoming supplemental work/injury prevention later? Or can the routines be incorporated at the same time as gym/weights work?
2. What types of routines work best after the different types of runs [e.g., easy runs, track intervals, tempo runs, fast intervals, etc.]?
3. Do you have any suggestions for a strength progression format for the marathon? I've done a lot of research and while there's no definite consensus, a few coaches seem to agree that you should progress through stages as: general strength, running specific strength, reactive strength [plyometrics], and maintenance/competition. How would you fit your routines into this kind of strength progression?
I know these questions probably require longer answers than you'd like to type, so any feedback you can provide is greatly appreciated.
Wow. I'm humbled, especially since I've never coached a marathoner, but I'll have to postpone a response.
I will write in detail later this week but I'm behind a project and today is day #2 of me as the primary care giver - okay, Mr. Mom - for our 5 month old, and comLouis CK says below, I have to make sure she doesn't die (go to 2:00 mark)
Thanks for your patience
Thanks for the response - and no rush; I certainly understand that family comes first.
I look forward to your input. Your group of routines & your overall outlook on strength training are some of the best I've come across.
FWIW, I'm looking to (a) stay healthy and (b) get stronger while not sacrificing my quality days. I currently average ~100 MPW, one long run, 2 quality days, all the rest easy running.
Note to the grammar slammers: I don't write well and my wife, who does write well and who is a great proof reader, would not approve of the fact that I've spent a damn hour on a LetsRun post.
Short answer: Don't go out and do plyos, but do a ton of GS after your hard workouts and once you adapt to that then do GS work after your maint. days as it will add in recovery.
Long answer is really friggin' long...but here you go.
Okay, lets be clear about two things.
One, I've never coached a marathoner. Two, my best guess at how to implement General Strength (GS) into a marathon schedule is just that - a guess.
Next, the most important preface. You don't have enough glycogen to finish a marathon and this issue - how to teach you body to utilize lipids while you're running fast - is the crux of running the marathon. That said, I'm not a believer in the "some people are just really good at conserving sugar" view of the marathon; yes each runner's unique combination of talents is different, but the human body is the human body and it responds to the stimulus you give it. I think the above view of training is how good 10k runners who run a great 13.1 opener rationalize their shit marathon performances. Specific to my CU background, we'd* often wonder during our post Sunday run Village meals how fast we could run the marathon since we just ran 20, but we'd have been screwed because A) we hadn't hit the distance where we ran out of glycogen and b) that CU method, if you just up the mileage, will not teach your body better utilize lipids, even though it is, IMHO, far and away the best method for college distance runners (To those in the booming metropolis of College Station - Go Kenyon! Go Jenny!).
And since you're a marathon student I want to go over my list of must reads.
1. Nate Jenkins logs at Trackshark.
Great read and to be honest they really help me understand his IAAF book on marathon train. Plus, how often does some one ligetimately elite share ALL of their training. Thanks Nate.
2. A Cold Clear Day: The athletic biography of Buddy Edelen.
I've read fewer running books then you would guess, but I keep re-reading this one, mostly because it reminds me how hard athletes need to work, but also because he was "cutting edge" at the time, yet so much of what they did we now know is incorrect. But that same thing happens now. When I get my MS the Brooks text said the aerobic contribution to the 1,500m was about 50%, but now it's thought to be between the 70-80%.
3. Kenny Moore's descriptions of his long runs. From what I can tell you figured out (on accident?) how to teach his body to utilize lipids over glycogen on these runs.
4. Joe Vigil's Anatomy of Medal article. I hate to admit that I re-read it about 6 weeks ago and was shocked by the following stats as I thought Deena ran "140 every week." Of the 14 weeks of training that the show in the graph, only two were at 140 and only half are at 100 or above; the 7 weeks below 100 average out to be 76 miles a week. No doubt a ton of work, but not the superhuman week in, week out I had thought it was (easy for me to say as I drink a Leffe, 30 lbs. over a sensible training weight).
5. Obviously all of the Canova files. That said, start with #1 because it helps illuminate this one.
6. Every time you feel tiered remember this: Brian Sell got a call from Bubba Thorton following the Olympic Marathon Trials. The race was on Saturday and Bubba called Brian on Monday morning. Brian was at Home Depot "making up time" he had missed leading up to the trails...I idolize that guy and I love that story.
Okay, now to your question...and I wonder why practice takes so damn long...
- DON'T do plyos, even though you can find primary research articles showing that plyos help very average 3k runners. Not only are you likely not a very average 3k runner, but you're trying to run a ton and it's simple a bad cost/benefit equation; if you do the damn plyos wrong and your fracture your navicular you might never run again.
- Instead, you can improve fiber recruitment with a simple progression of general strength exercises that ends with leg circuits...think of them as "baby plyos."
- Be egoless and just follow the damn progression I wrote for the HS kids; email me in 2-3 weeks and I'll help you "the next logical step**" in your GS training. That said, don't expect to do "cool/hard" stuff for 4-8 weeks. I'm a firm believer that we have a problem in track and field, across all event areas, of leaving the realm of general strength/athleticism and moving to the sexy, intriguing area of specific strength, yet most athletes are ill prepared for this move.
- Remember that if you can run with erect posture throughout the race distance, striking under your hips, you are in essence, improving your running economy - you're running the pace you want to run, expending as little energy as is possible. So, walking over hurdles with GREAT posture is a great drill. Go to Flotrack and watch Shalane's 10k record race and watch her posture, especially look at how her hips are neutral, in the last 5 laps. That's the coolest thing I've ever seen in a 10k. And a similar concept is Mahon idea that head rests on top of the neck, allowing maximal air flow (see slide 24 below, Meb Photo). But you can't do that if your core sucks
And at the risk of being accused of ________ (go at it LetsRun - free shot) you can watch this video...this routine is simple, but as Thelonious Monk said, "Simple ain't easy.***"
- Do the Wharton AIS stuff. Don't argue - Just Do It**** Hall does it 3 times a day.
- Ryan Hall does squats. Ryan has Mahon watching him. If you squat, who watches your feet - are the hip width or wider than that, are your feet splayed and if so, should they be? I love the squat and I think it's got a place in training, but again, if you're OYO (on your own) what's the cost/benefit analysis? Probably shouldn't squat...but honestly, if you spent 2-3 days with RunningArt2004 you can do it on your own, you just need a good teacher.
- That said, go buy a 4k med ball and you can do a high toss to get similar angles and to safely get the ankle/knee/hip triple extension. Plus, you can do all of Pfaff's multiple throws (though it's easier to do the MTs with a shot...but again, the cost/benefit if you hit someone in the head means you should just us the MB). Again, when you get there I'll send some videos. Ideally you have someone video you and in this magical day of internet video you can upload it and we can critique your form.
- Do a lot of GS following your hard days for 2-3 weeks, then gradually start doing more and more following maint. days. I assume you're a he...if you're a she then you can and should do WAY more than guys...just ask Shalane and Steve
- Hudson's interpretation of Canova's metabolic training, coupled with Cook's ancillary work would be a nice amalgamation. But the Hanson's approach with more GS/ancillary work would work well because IMHO the GS and ancillary work keeps you healthy and allows you train either more or harder...and because you're smart you wouldn't try to do both in the same phase, would you? No, you wouldn't, because you're smart.
Okay, I'm done. I hope this helps. Don't go out and do plyos, but do a ton of GS after your hard workouts and once you adapt to that then do GS work after your maint. days as it will add in recovery.
* I ran with Zeke and Chris every Sunday for two years and we ran 20. If I could do it over I'd slack on Sunday like Tommy (and Clint?) and keep Tues/Friday as my focus as there is benefit to a well run 17 miler at 5,200 ft. More is not always better. But maybe I was just a wimp...could be that too.
**Maybe my favorite Mark-ism
*** My favorite quote
****Nike pays me a nickel every time I write that
I really do suck at proofing.
- "GS work after your maint. days as it will AID in recovery." The grammar slammers are going to lose sleep over that one; my sincerest apologies.
- There should have been an "*" after the CU story, but who cares...
- The point about Nate Jenkins's log is to illuminate CANOVA's training, not Nate's training - though I love Nate's interpretation and implementation.
- Kenny Moore, not you, figured out that a really long run - over the 26.2 distance - was a good thing.
- 3k runner idea was totally botched. Those studies were not conducted with good 3k runners and I assume that you're a sub 8:45 person. None of the subjects in those studies were, though I'm too lazy to confirm that...but then that is the beauty of LetsRun because if I'm wrong someone will tell us. Thank you fact Jacks.
I understand you are a Gambetta guy so it makes sense that you don't like plyos as much.
But, the evidence from primary research is pretty clear that plyos can improve performance.
I think it's a cop out to use the injury excuse. Simple plyos are not that hard on the body compared to the amount of running and other stuff highly trained athletes do.
Injuries come when they aren't integrated properly and athletes are just thrown into doing them.
Also, another common complaint of research is that it was done on "low level" athletes or sedentary people. That is a justified claim.
However, the plyos have been substantiated with highly trained athletes.
Check out an article entitled:
Short-term plyometric training improves running economy in highly trained middle and long distance runners.
The runners Averaged around 8:40 for 3k pre plyos, and 8:30 for 3k post plyos. While not elite elite, 8:30 3k oviously shows a large amount of training and some natural talent. It's about the best you can do for research studies (What 8min 3k guy is going to have some scientists manipulate their training?)
I'd like to see this but the shit is set to private.
Great Post by Jay and I have purchased one of his DVDs and like most of it.
I do also question much of what I see with this new emphasis in Plyos, Core Work, Dynamic Warm Up etc. When I see this I wonder how it is not more stressful/detrimental than basic stretching/running/ab work.
Having had an opportunity to see the Ethiopian Junior Distance crew workout for several days last year - it was like a flashback to PE Class for me. Group stretching, with light bouncing, basic drills, nothing fancy at all. The emphasis was on running.
I also watched the U of New Mexico on FloTrack the other day. I see much in that short clip that seems counter-productive to staying healthy as a distance runner - maybe I'm just getting too old... Cathching and throwing med balls in odd angles/positions seems like a good way to strain muscles and cause some down time from training.
Nice folks on LetsRun - thanks for the kind words.
First, Marathon Student - what is you name? Your first name is fine but I really have a hard time referring to people as screen names, though I know I need to get over it.
Second, and I'm embarrassed to ask this, but how do I respond to a post and include quoted text? "Whatt??" makes some great points and I'd like to include his/her text - with the lines delineating his text from my response. I can work in Final Cut Pro but can't quote text on a LetsRun post - yikes.
Third, I likely won't reply for a while as I'm going to take some time to put together a video reply - mostly stuff not in either running DVD (remember, that's Mike's view of this work - I steal a ton from him but sometimes do other things - LM and LL warm-up being the most obvious but also the most important). This will be videos from practice, much of it two years ago from CU practice when Sara was hopping over a lot of hurdles (funny story - I don't spell well and for a year I would write "hurdle hopes" on the training document before one of the athletes corrected me). I feel we're at a point where you need to see what I'm talking about so I can better answer the fundamental question, "What non-running activities should Marathon Student consider and employ in his/her training to run faster in the Marathon?"
Fourth, I believe Marathon Student should run a lot if he wants to run a good marathon and that to some degree we're splitting hairs as to the best ancillary work for a marathoner. Remember, Mark Stanforth won Chicago one year in roughly 2:17 and I doubt he ever said, "Should I squat today? Hmmmmmm. No, maybe I'll do some hurdle hops at 30"? No, actually, I think I'll do some multi-throws with a 4k shot, but with a hop." I will show videos of all of those, but remember, as the AFA distance T-shirt said "Gaunt is beautiful" and if Marathon Student simply goes and replicates Kenny Moore/Buddy Edelen training he'll probably run pretty well. Obviously I'm a big believer of ancillary work, but I don't want us to stray too far from the main topic/question.
...and some former AFA runner wants to send get me one of those shirts I'm a medium...
Thought I'd chime in....
Hall does squats? That explains explains why his legs look so strong in pictures I've seen (OM Trials). You don't get that lean (LEAN...not just skinny) on the normal runners diet and training program either.
As far as stress caused by running vs strength training/plyos. A run is far more stressful to the muscles and joints. You are basically doing 180 single leg 1/4 squats a minute....or more less. You will ALWAYS see beginning runners and long-time runners develop overuse injuries unless they are the select gentically gifted few who develop into competitive distance runners. The bulk of society will simply break down. Meanwhile, you don't see many recreational weight lifters with overuse injuries unless they do dumb stuff.
Weights vs Core/Postural vs Bodyweight Exercises:
You only have so much time in the day and only so much stress that your body can handle. If you are a competitive marathoner you are likely putting in 90-120 minutes of running a day.
That being said, I've run my two best marathons (2:32 and 2:35) while I was teaching a Boot Camp class once or twice a week that involved a lot of bodyweight exercises (pushups, squats, lunges, plyos etc). It was fairly high rep. I've also lifted at high intensity (2-5 reps) and you really don't have any soreness to worry about as compared to a more moderate rep approach (8-15).
So, I'd suggest if you HAVE THE TIME to ADD IN some resistance training that you stick with either bodyweight exercises and plyos (Pushups, Pullups, Split Jumps, bodyweight squats) OR heavy strength based weight training (2-5 reps, 1-3 sets, Hang Clean, Squat, Bench, Weighted Pullup,). Stick with ONCE a week.
There is only so much stress you can place on your body. You have to organize your stress and consolidate it in a manner that leads to improvement...not just being tired all the time.
1) Resistance Training should be the last workout you do that day and at the end of the day a few hours after your running....you need to be recovered from your run.
2) Consolidate your Stress. Resistance Train on the same day you plan your hardest running workout. Again...HOURS afterward.
3) When in doubt drop the volume. Even one work set (always warmup with a very light set at 50% of your work set) will produce results if that one set is at max fatigue.
4) Think in terms of movement planes...not muscles.
|Mundus Vult Decipi|
Do you have sense of how the general strength of an Ethiopian Junior compares with the general strength of say the average footlocker finalist (I am thinking male here)?
My assumption would be that the Ethiopian would be generally stronger than the American but I have no evidence to support that. The implication being that maybe the American footlocker finalist needs to get stronger while the Ethiopian does not (or not as much).
Butting in again....
An educated guess...
What makes Ethiopians, Kenyans and other East Africans great runners likely makes them very weak.
What makes West Africans and their descendants great sprinters likely makes them strong.
Likewise, one of the reasons why the slave trade focused on West Africa was because these Africans were much stronger.
If you gave me 100 random East Africans (Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzinia, etc) and 100 random West Africans (Nigeria, Angola, "Gold Coast") and perform a few basic strength tests my bet would be that the West Africans were perform higher.
I have no idea how general strength would compare. I was very surprised how awkward and clumsy many of these young Ethiopians were. They were all selected because they could run - how much their form can be improved looks to be one of the things that will be worked on in the group they are in.
I'm very curious how much time the Kenyans and other top distance runners spend on weights/drills/core work/etc.
I sometimes wonder if we are over thinking and complicating the whole training process? Does anyone have any insight into how much ancillary training Bob Kennedy did?
Poorly edited, but a taste of what I'll edit and explain...this is from last spring - she tore her planter about 3-4 weeks after this, so maybe that is a reason not to lift and do plyos.
Thank you Jay.
Do you think a combination of squats or lunges, calf raises, hip abductor and adductor exercises is a sufficent leg workout for marathon runners?
Marathon student, after every long run, I will do a mini workout comprising of pushups, planks and backraises(supermen).