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Please inform me
Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/22/2010 4:26PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I hear a lot of my friends (i'm in high school) saying that doing speed work early on the season for a distance runner makes you peak early and doesn't allow proper training to take place. However when I ask about the details of why this happens, they fail to provide a good answer. Please let me know why doing speed work early on in the season is detrimental to success.
Dave Wottle
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/22/2010 4:31PM - in reply to Please inform me Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Speedwork is not bad, you should at least touch on speed in your training all year round. But the anaerobic system only takes 4-6 weeks to completely develop, so if you do hard anerobic workouts too early, then you run the risk of peaking early and becoming stale.
Early speed is good
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/22/2010 8:02PM - in reply to Please inform me Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I coach HS XC & track, and we START the season with speed! In reality, I write workouts throughout the season to work on all three energy systems, alactic, glycolitic and aerobic. In all events 800 and longer, the three systems are utilized extensively. Obviously, distance kids get more aerobic than my sprinters, but they all do everything.
HSC
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/24/2010 6:21PM - in reply to Early speed is good Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Early speed is good wrote:

I coach HS XC & track, and we START the season with speed! In reality, I write workouts throughout the season to work on all three energy systems, alactic, glycolitic and aerobic. In all events 800 and longer, the three systems are utilized extensively. Obviously, distance kids get more aerobic than my sprinters, but they all do everything.


________________________________________________________

What do you consider speed workouts?
shoe fetish
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/24/2010 9:32PM - in reply to Dave Wottle Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Dave Wottle wrote:

Speedwork is not bad, you should at least touch on speed in your training all year round. But the anaerobic system only takes 4-6 weeks to completely develop, so if you do hard anerobic workouts too early, then you run the risk of peaking early and becoming stale.


This answers your question but to give you more depth as to what you may be looking for i will share my phases for this track season. its based on 800-1500 meter runners but can easily be adjusted up or down. this is based on this season and when the guys came back from XC.

Weeks
1-2 Intro- very easy and light running
3-4 Base- easy running and returning to normal mileage
5-7 Base- easy running with reintroducing workouts back. very easy workouts. "rustbusters" for every system.
8-11 Base/Power- Increasing mileage but adding short hill sprints (6-10secs) and hill reps (45-90secs) with long recs on both. Each every 7-10 days and Threshold runs the same.
12-16 PreComp/Speed Endurance- Working longer reps, intervals of sustained, controled effort (ie: 8x400, 5x1k) weekly and thresholds every other week
17-21 Comp/Race Specific- Short recoveries. Mixed intervals to simulate the race needs. (ie: 2x4x400 or ladders of something like 1k, 800, 6, 4, 3, 2, 2)
22-25 Championships/Taper

and of course strides are always in the mix. intensities and amount are adjusted throughout the season.

hope this gives you a good idea of how to use speed in the season. It's basics (although it's been refined) have worked for many sub2 guys and got one guy down to 1:52 in HS
Wet Coast
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 12:58AM - in reply to Early speed is good Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Throwing running at the wall to see what sticks like you are doing, will be ok or good enough for some, but if you want your athletes to be at their best on the day, mixing all anaerobic and aerobic running together throughout the season will not bring the athletes to their best peak, on the day.

In fact, when and if they pb they will be surprised and when they fail they wont know why, nor will you. You may end up bringing an athlete to a peak very early and thinking, 'wow we are off to a great start', then never be able to recreate that one magic standard.

For best results, you need to start by building a solid aerobic base, the speed you do should be muscular speed only in alactic strides 100m with ample recovery. Anaerobic work shouldn't happen until you are close to racing season.
ukathleticscoach
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 2:52AM - in reply to Please inform me Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
'But the anaerobic system only takes 4-6 weeks to completely develop'

Does it?
the point could be
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 3:16AM - in reply to Dave Wottle Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
This idea of becoming "stale" is ambiguous and negative outlooked. Like one_shot and yer'out.

It sounds like it should be about not only peaking but about mantaining the "peaking."

What literature/studies would you refer to, that are about extended peaking, possibly not solely on a "race-day" basis but on a progressive basis?


Dave Wottle wrote:

.... so if you do hard anerobic workouts too early, then you run the risk of peaking early and becoming stale.
Wet Coast
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 10:13AM - in reply to ukathleticscoach Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I will answer this for Wottle, yes it does only take 4 - 6 weeks to maximize your anaerobic capacity. This has been proven time and again over the past 50+ years.

Your anaerobic capacity is pretty much finite and limited and genetically defined. So those who work on their anaerobic system year round are not only wasting their time, but they are - if running hard enough during the anaerobic training - also doing so at the peril of their aerobic base, which has proven to be nearly limitless and can be improved upon with each new training cycle.

'Speed work' in a more appropriate context is not about working the anaerobic system, but working the muscular system. To properly develop the nerves and nerve axions, the coordination to run with good form and develop the muscles etc for running, alactic fast, but not all-out strides or sprints should be done year-round for sure.

Interval repeats year round can happen too, if they are aerobic in nature and may sometimes be necessary however, during a proper aerobic build, long runs with sustained pressure on the cardio-vascular system - yet staying at or below AT has more value (for building the aerobic base) than does faster aerobic repeats with rests between, because you are taking pressure of the heart etc.
middle distance guy
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 10:35AM - in reply to Please inform me Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
To the OP -

For me, the only thing I put off until the end is the really hard anaerobic stuff. The workouts that burn very bad and almost feel like a race. 400-500's at 800 race pace, or 600-800's at 1500 race pace. The reason is that these are so demanding that my mileage has to be low. So I try to put off that mileage decrease until the end so that it doesn't compromise the endurance I just spent 8 months building.

But that doesn't mean I neglect fast stuff or race pace stuff. I'll start in January with 200's at 1500 race pace and 150's at 800 race pace. By February it's 300's at 1500 pace and 200's at 800 pace. March is 400's at 1500 pace, 300's at 800 pace. Since the progression is gradual and these are short reps, there is no need to back off of mileage, and I'm still doing tempo runs, long runs, and 3k/5k/10k paced reps to build endurance.

By the time you have built to 400's at 800 and 600's at 1500 it is probably April and time to reduce the mileage load to accommodate these hard anaerobic workouts and probably increased racing.

So the short answer is - you don't HAVE TO save heavy anaerobic workouts until the end, but if you incorporate them too early something is going to give - you'll either have to reduce mileage in order to recover properly, or if you try to maintain mileage you may end up toasting yourself (being overtired, unable to complete workouts, etc), or you may end up injuring yourself.
Dave Wottle
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 11:12AM - in reply to the point could be Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

the point could be wrote:

This idea of becoming "stale" is ambiguous and negative outlooked. Like one_shot and yer'out.

It sounds like it should be about not only peaking but about mantaining the "peaking."

What literature/studies would you refer to, that are about extended peaking, possibly not solely on a "race-day" basis but on a progressive basis?


Dave Wottle wrote:

.... so if you do hard anerobic workouts too early, then you run the risk of peaking early and becoming stale.



To clarify, I think a peak can be held longer than one race...with proper training and build up a peak can be carried over many weeks as proven by elites year in and year out.

Ps. ukathleticscoach- Yes.
rekrunner
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 12:13PM - in reply to Please inform me Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Part of the question is what you mean by speed work, and how much you think you want to do. For example, a couple of short 100m strides is not the same is an extended session of 20x400m.

I've seen two schools of thought:
1) A dedicated phase for developing your speed only takes 4-6 weeks, and once developed, you can only hold it for so long. Physiological explanations get messy and off topic, but Lydiard explained that track training, followed by the racing season, starts to bring your aerobic condition down, and after a certain point, you need stop and rebuild your base. You want that point to be the end of your season.

2) Alternatively, after an extended session of base-building, some training programs recommend a phase of fast interval training, that brings back an efficient running form. This makes later phases faster and more effective. I think here we speak of shorter, fast intervals, with an overall low volume and lower lactate accumulation. (I may be saying this part wrong, and welcome any corrections or better explanations).

The question I have is why a distance runner feels like he needs to work on his speed early in the season?
craigmac4h
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 12:28PM - in reply to rekrunner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
A lot of people have trouble grasping the concept that you can go out and race well even if you haven't necessarily been doing the "pace work" for that race. The thing is, "race well" means something different for everyone. Some people might be able to run within 5 seconds of their mile PR (with high school kids, PR is a little dicey since due to physical development they can often PR for no reason) but other people might only get within 15 seconds.

Personally, for me, I know that if I'm doing a good amount of volume, a tempo run, some 5k type workouts, and a couple good sets of 50-150m strides a week, I can run pretty darn well in a mile. Once I add in the mile pace 400s, the 800 paced 300s, the 800s at 3k effort, etc, I don't necessarily get way "faster," the pace just feels easier and I kick better. If I do more than about 4-5 weeks of hard speed work (which I'll define as 800-3k pace intervals) I get very stale, start to hate running, and lose motivation. My coach has observed that I have a pretty good natural anaerobic reserve and so I might not necessarily need quite as much as a runner with less natural anaerobic capability.

I think a lot of the idea that you need to develop pace work at 800 and 1500 speeds often throughout the year is incorrect. If you've got a huge aerobic base and you're diligent with strides, then you're more than likely good to go. For the sake of round numbers, if you do your strides at 13-14 seconds/100m and you've got a huge base of tempo runs, good volume, longer fartlek type efforts, etc, then your body isn't going to suddenly explode when you try to run 15-16 seconds/100 in a race. It might feel a little awkward the first time, maybe, but I've found that once you get the rust-buster race over with, it's fine from there.
new guy on the board
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 12:52PM - in reply to craigmac4h Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
What is "natural anaerobic reserve"?
the point could be
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 2:02PM - in reply to rekrunner Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

rekrunner wrote:

1) A dedicated phase for developing your speed only takes 4-6 weeks, and once developed, you can only hold it for so long.


...And once developed can only hold it for so long.

Why?

Can anybody come up with anything more than the Lydiard interpretation provided in this post rekrunner?
middle distance guy
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 2:14PM - in reply to the point could be Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

the point could be wrote:
...And once developed can only hold it for so long.

Why?

Can anybody come up with anything more than the Lydiard interpretation provided in this post rekrunner?

My explanation was that these are such stressful workouts that you must compensate by reducing your overall training volume - so mileage, long run, tempos, etc. will decrease. After a while that will lead to reduced endurance.
middle distance guy
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 2:24PM - in reply to craigmac4h Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

craigmac4h wrote:

A lot of people have trouble grasping the concept that you can go out and race well even if you haven't necessarily been doing the "pace work" for that race. The thing is, "race well" means something different for everyone. Some people might be able to run within 5 seconds of their mile PR (with high school kids, PR is a little dicey since due to physical development they can often PR for no reason) but other people might only get within 15 seconds.

Personally, for me, I know that if I'm doing a good amount of volume, a tempo run, some 5k type workouts, and a couple good sets of 50-150m strides a week, I can run pretty darn well in a mile. Once I add in the mile pace 400s, the 800 paced 300s, the 800s at 3k effort, etc, I don't necessarily get way "faster," the pace just feels easier and I kick better. If I do more than about 4-5 weeks of hard speed work (which I'll define as 800-3k pace intervals) I get very stale, start to hate running, and lose motivation. My coach has observed that I have a pretty good natural anaerobic reserve and so I might not necessarily need quite as much as a runner with less natural anaerobic capability.

I think a lot of the idea that you need to develop pace work at 800 and 1500 speeds often throughout the year is incorrect. If you've got a huge aerobic base and you're diligent with strides, then you're more than likely good to go. For the sake of round numbers, if you do your strides at 13-14 seconds/100m and you've got a huge base of tempo runs, good volume, longer fartlek type efforts, etc, then your body isn't going to suddenly explode when you try to run 15-16 seconds/100 in a race. It might feel a little awkward the first time, maybe, but I've found that once you get the rust-buster race over with, it's fine from there.

Good post. I've experienced both sides before. I've run well in my December rustbuster mile simply based off of cross country training. So I agree you can run middle distance well off of 5k/10k training.

But then I've had outdoor seasons where I surprise the hell out of myself once the training volume is reduced. Like a 3 second drop in the 800 within 6 weeks, that kind of thing.
Matlock
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 3:14PM - in reply to middle distance guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
If you stop doing speed you'll lose it. Simple.

The concept of speedwork is not universal for everybody.
For some, speedwork are tempo runs and long intervals, for other are grueling 400m reps at 800m pace...

Speed is important all year round and in the early season it's recommendable only neuromuscular training without building much lactic acid. With this I mean some quick strides over 80-120m with completely recpovery. As you progress you start adding longer repeats until racing periodo
starts you won't get much stressed with pure lactic acid tolerance work (that's the anaerobic capacity you refer that only takes 4-6 weeks to fully develop). Until racing period you may want to get in touch with the anerobic system and speed, but for these you should run no more than fast reps lasting up to 1 minute with completly recovery between each one, this gets in touch with your anaerobic capacity, and doesn't builds too much lactic acid on the muscles.
uyjtr
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/25/2010 10:21PM - in reply to Early speed is good Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You´re wrong. At 800m the aerobic vs anaerobic system ratio is about 60-70% aerobic, and as distance gets longer the aerobic dominance just keeps increasing. The glycogenolytic ability doesn´t need training until just before competitions to toughen yourself against acidosis. You don´t lose that ability because of not using that, but the lactate clearance
system improves.
Alactic speed is important all the time.


Early speed is good wrote:
I coach HS XC & track, and we START the season with speed! In reality, I write workouts throughout the season to work on all three energy systems, alactic, glycolitic and aerobic. In all events 800 and longer, the three systems are utilized extensively. Obviously, distance kids get more aerobic than my sprinters, but they all do everything.
try this one
RE: Why are speed workouts early on in the season bad? 1/26/2010 8:28AM - in reply to uyjtr Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
[quote]uyjtr wrote:

You´re wrong. At 800m the aerobic vs anaerobic system ratio is about 60-70% aerobic, and as distance gets longer the aerobic dominance just keeps increasing. The glycogenolytic ability doesn´t need training until just before competitions to toughen yourself against acidosis. You don´t lose that ability because of not using that, but the lactate clearance
system improves.
Alactic speed is important all the time.

I believe the 800 is more 60-70% anaerobic, the world record is 1:41.11. That is back to back 50.5, if that isn't speed what is? I bet there are more high schools with teams that can't get two guys to run a relay that fast.

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