Aren't ST what we want as long distance runners?... FT are useful for sprinting (ie 400m or less). I think endurance training turns some of your FT into "intermediate fibers" which are between FT and ST and therefore more useful to long distance runners than FT. If you're not a sprinter a predominance of well-trained ST is what you want.
Hopefully hadd will shed some light
Runergrl, I know that Hadd is gone for a week, (and I most definitely wish him the best as well). I would like to get anyone's (in addition to Hadd's) input on how they would coach the athlete I am dealing with.
What would you recommend for tapering for a cross country 10k. I've managed to get myself into great shape, but I am sort of skeptical as to how I should rest.
I have two weeks left, I have been averaging 80 minutes (solid block) a day for the past month, I don't plan to peak for this race, but at the very least, be well rested. The following weeks have included a long run of about 18 miles, all other runs adding up to approximately 11-13 miles, at various tempos. The past two weeks have included the following workouts: 8 miles steady state, 10 x 1k, 3 x 10minutes, 12 x 400m.
How should I taper in terms of easy days before race, total time per run, and last week prepartion as far as tuning down the distance, but raising the intensity?
It would be most appreciated. Thanks.
?, just posted so that, if nothing else, the thread would be bumped back up.
Anyways, I was in a kind-of similar situation as your runner. I started running only doing base (much less than your runner, 40mpw) with an occasional race. I did that for about 5 months (again much less than your runner) and then added on one workout of some intensity a week and then later two, then later three. I didn't have any problems as long as the other runs stayed easy. When I tried to run hard on my easy days, that's when I had problems.
Your approach to introducing intensity sounds about as cautious as could be devised. I don't see how you could go wrong with it.
Runergrl, thanks for the reply, I appreciate it. It is good to hear from someone who has been in the same situation my athlete is in.
During exercise, the smallest motor neurons (the ones with the lowest threshold for synaptic activation) are recruited first, as long as there is sufficient force produced to sustain the exercise. These small motor neurons innervate ST muscle fibers, while larger neurons innervate FT fibers. It follows that there is a definite hierarchy of fiber utilization during exercise, which depends on the intensity (not so much the duration) of the exercise.
So it *does* matter how fast or slow you're running as to how many FT units are recruited.
So do ST fibers fatigue during long runs, thereby necessitating more and more FT fiber recruitment? Yes, they do, but it's not as much the duration of the run that determines fiber recruitment as it is the *pace*. Why should you feature a lot of relaxed running when developing an endurance base, then? One reason is because, if you're like most runners, you will wind up producing a modicum of lactic acid if you run at a pace sufficient to mobilize your FT fibers. This will be detrimental over time and will hinder your fitness development and ability to run just below your anaerobic threshold for very long.
Your policy on most runs should be to keep lactate production as low as possible at any given time in the run. Run more gently and run longer, allowing yourself time to warm up very gradually and feel as though you're firing on all cylinders. Then you can work a little closer to your AT. As you get fitter, your "relaxed" pace will become faster without any additional effort on your part, and you will mobilize FT fibers without producing nearly as much lactate as you once did. This training will improve the ability of *both* ST and FT fiber types to cope with exercise stress by stimulating you to develop more mitochondria and surrounding capillaries.
Folks, not wishing to bring anyone down, but I do believe JK is a Michelle Branch fan.
So what are you trying to say over by there, JK is Michelle Branch fan?
Hey now. No need to use the profanity my not-so-bright friend.
Since you need me to spell it out for you:
A. Some people have been wondering where JK is. Well, of course I can't be 100%, but I am 95% sure that the entity that posted as Michelle Branch fan is JK. Particularly to you this should be telling as my 50% certainty would be equivalent to let's say your 95%.
B. This is kind of tricky, so hang in there. Read it a few times, and I am confident you'll get it. IF the poster above is indeed JK, AND since the poster used the handle of MIchelle Branch fan, THEN it could be gleaned that JK IS a Michelle Branch fan. Got it? Good, I knew you could!
I also believe Hadd is JK. Probably any intelligent post on this board is JK.
Although they both know their stuff, and I too once considered that maybe Hadd was JK, I have since found out that this is not the case. Hadd is his own man, and he only goes by Hadd.
For whatever that was worth... we are digressing on one of the best/useful threads.
I have another question. First if you are recruiting as few as possible FT fibers how are you going to develop them when they are needed for racing. Is it sufficent to develop them with later speed? Or is the point of tempo runs to get to those FT fibers not used in slower running. As for lactate accumulation I am wondering how exacltly lactate accumulation will be determintal over time. How? from all the literature I have seen lactate is cleared from the body relatively quickly after completetion. Just wanted to add that this has been one of the most informative threads I have ever read. thanks for the great posts Hadd, Michelle Branche Fan, and others.
I am way impressed that this thread kept going, taking on a life of its own. Great to see many other people offering their own valuable advice. Thanks to everyone, I hope you all continue to chime in when possible. There are enough of us here to answer any question to do with running. Trust me, nobody died and made me the Oracle.
Some questions were specifically aimed at me, so I will offer some replies. Other questions were expertly dealt with already (thanks, "Michelle Blanche fan", Hodgie-san and others), and need little further input from me.
Mr ? (or Ms ?)
Your runner has done well with PRs of 18.45/5k, 69.00/10miles, 3.15/marathon and 8.02/50 miler. These are good, but with a little tweaking, could be much better. I always use these rules of thumb when I hear a runner's PRs, especially for women. They are not perfect, but they should only be off by a couple of seconds either way:
5k pace + 12 secs/mile = 10k pace
5k pace + 20 secs/mile = 10 mile pace
5k pace + 40 secs/mile = marathon pace
Note: these are what a runner should be capable of. It does not mean these will apply automatically to every 5k PR. You have to work hard on the LT to make these numbers work.
Applying them to her existing 5k time (note: she does not have to get "faster" at 5k to set whole new PR's at all other distances), your runner should be looking at 38.45/10k, sub-65.00/10 mile, 2.55/marathon
When it comes to making these happen... if I could just refer you back to the first post in this thread (by CBASS, in which he copied an earlier post of mine). Here's the relevant paragraph:
"To move your LT don?t just jump into so-called ?tempo? runs. These would be too fast/hard and not cause the effect you want. Begin from the ground up and work until eg: a 90 min is no longer ?long?. Then work until a once-or-twice-per-week 10-mile run at 5k-pace + 1 min is no longer hard (you could go round again, although you don?t). Then until a session of 3 x 20 mins @ 5k pace + 40 secs is not THAT uncomfortable (and you could do more)... and maybe only THEN begin to work at paces such as 5k-pace + 30 secs (2-3 x 15 mins) right on up... (eventually to 2000m repeats at 10k-pace). All the time being careful. You cannot rush this."
To get her used to moving a bit faster, you might want to try the 200/200s I discuss above. Get her to aim for something like 45 secs (fast bit) and 65 secs (slow bit), and maybe 10 laps continuous to begin. Most runners enjoy these. If she can hit the times, she can build up to 25 laps continuous once every two weeks. On at least one, or even two other days of the week, work on her LT as I mention in the quote. With her aerobic background, it should not take her too long to improve significantly. Remember Runergrl's advice though: keep the easy days easy.
I have used a number of tapering methods over the years and learned that one method will not work for every runner. Some like a day off before a major race, some claim to feel sluggish if they take a day off the day before. Some just like to run reduced easy distance in the final week with some strides (5 x 100m with 1 minute jog recovery) every second day. One of the more "complicated" ones I have tried goes like this:
5 days out from races up to 10 miles: 5 x 500m at 1 mile pace (NOT FASTER) with 5 mins jog recovery
4 days out: 4 x 500m at 1 mile pace with 5 mins jog
3 days out: 3 x 500m etc
2 days out: 2 x 500m etc
1 day out: 1 x 500m
All of these with only 10-15 mins jog warm-up, a few strides, and 10 mins cool down.
With these (and all tapers) you are doing at least two things: reducing mileage and increasing leg zip. Two or three of my runners swears by these for those "special" occasions. Good luck with whatever you choose.
This thing about activating motor neurons is something many of you will have already experienced if you have run far enough. Ever noticed that you can chat away at the start of an easy long run, but that there can come a time when the talking stops? To activate ST fibres usually requires a low signal from the brain. So low, it feels "effortless", and you do not even have to think about running in order to run. To access those larger more powerful FT fibres (either in a race or at the end of a long run) requires a much stronger mental signal and this tends to force the brain to concentrate more on what it is doing and will often not have extra energy for yakking away. Timothy Noakes wrote that he found this happening to him one time when he ran the Comrades Marathon (55 miles?). He found he had lots of leg energy left, having carbo loaded well, but that his "mental signal" was weak since his blood sugar had dropped. If I remember right, quaffing a couple of quick Cokes soon put that right.
Repeated activation of particular fibres reduces the mental signal required to activate them NEXT time, and needing less mental energy is a good thing. They find this a lot in weight training, people apparently improving very quickly. The improvement is not really in strength, but in ability to recruit the proper fibres at optimal tension. So it's a neuro-muscular thing.
Middle Distance Runner,
As you will know, 800s are around 50% aerobic and 50% anaerobic, with 1500s being approx 65% (aer) and 35% (anaer). So you do not want to become a total aerobic animal like a marathoner. If you are a gifted middle distance runner, it is unlikely you have the musculature to be one anyway. You should have a generous supply of FT fibres to enable you to generate large quantities of lactic acid and (thereby) speed. What you should do, and what I advise, is maximise your aerobic ability before moving on to the V02max and anaerobic work. Remember, you WANT to be able to build high lactate (because it lets you run faster than us slower marathon type dudes), but you also want to build the buffers so it does not cripple you. But before that you want to make sure your aerobic system is top notch so you do not have to call on your anaerobic speed before absolutely necessary.
Think of it like a Ferrari and a compact Subaru side by side at 60mph. Both are okay at that speed, but we all know the Ferrari has a ferocious amount of power in reserve.
You resting HR IS high at 52+. Are you sure that you are dealing with the high mileage okay? You can still overtrain on too many slow miles. Get enough rest, enough sleep, and don't forget the carbos and fats (have I mentioned peanuts?).
Note my quoted paragraph to ? above. I don't recommend running slow all the time. You should be building up to where you can run at 5k + 20 secs or 5k + 40 secs, two times per week. Depending on what they are aiming for, my runners easily handle: Sun - 2hrs+ : Tue - total of 10-12 miles at 5k + 40 pace (aka M-pace) : Fri - 2k repeats at 10k pace or total of 10k at 5k + 20 pace (aka 10-mile pace). The rest of the week, easy (and long-ish).
If I have urged caution to you, it is just for you to take time to build up to being able to do that with a maximised aerobic system and not with steadily rising lactate as you were used to doing.
Thanks for all the useful bits. One question on your last
paragraph on what your runners typically do, which is
similar to what I am currently working on. For marathoners,
I presume the Friday session is 10k at 10M pace - is the
aim to do that continuously or in intervals?
I tend to prefer continuous running, so I would typically
use a progression which involved gradually increasing the
distance and/or the pace until I achieved the goal,
e.g. 4M @ 5k+30, 5M @ 5k+30, 6M @ 5k+30, 4M @ 5k+20,
5M @5M+20, 6M @5k+20, rather than running intervals
where I might hit the goal pace from day 1, but gradually
reduce the rest period and/or increase the number of
Any opinions on this?
don't want to speak for hadd, but 10k @ 10 mi pace is way too hard for the proper adaptations to occur-- i think he was talking about interval form...
i've found a good marathon workout to be 8 x 1600 @ 5k + :20 w/1:00 rest; also 12 x 1000 at the same pace w/:40 rest...
Hadd glad to hear your back, sorry about your loss.
Question: I would like to know if you have an opinion on Owen Anderson's writings? His findings/ideas are not alot like yours. He is always stressing, among other things, buiding a huge level of lacate during training (staying above LT), in the idea/hopes that more clearance will occur. While on the other hand you stress staying under LT for the most part, if I am reading you right kind of PUSHING the LT up instead of PULLING it up. Someone is right & some is wrong, I believe you must be right because it would not seem possible to tolerate a lot of OA's type of recommended training. Thanks
If you go back, you will see that I wrote a "total of 10k at 5k + 20 pace". So, as steeple94 agrees, this is really the interval form.
Having said that, I have seen my runners manage efforts like 3 x 3k or 2 x 4k or 1 x 5m at this pace in the few weeks leading up to good marathon performances. But these are more a confirmation of fine form than something I would recommend on a regular basis. There would really be no need to go to 10k at 10 mile pace, that would be a bit too much stress on the athlete.
I would much rather stop at 3 x 3k (with 5-8 min jog recovery) and leave something in the tank for the race. I am not keen on mile repeats (as steeple94 suggests: 8 x 1 mile) finding them too short. If you are aiming for a marathon, I really would expect the athlete to be able to lengthen them with no problems.
Always bear in mind that in the last month or so before a marathon, many runners will be doing some kind of running at 10k pace as a final polish to the LT.
Without commenting on anyone else's training philosophy, I always think prevention is better than cure (ie: it is better to train not to need to produce lactate than to produce it and try to get rid of it).
I'm building this base of mostly slow runs. And all is going fine up till now. I plan on 5 more weeks of this 'base' work. But for the 'next phase' is it very similar or is it a GIANT change in training? For your middle distance runners (mile - 5k) do they do that type of training that you just outlined above or is that just for marathoners and such? Thanks alot
Losing my mom when I was 19, my heart goes out to you. She certainly produced an intelligent and compasionate son(to all of us peppering you with questions).
Thankfully, my resting HR dropped to 45 this morning after I finally got a night over 7 hours sleep. Preparation and travel to Footlocker South and also prepping my students for exams had slowly sleep deprived me, I imagine.
Anyway, I was able to squeeze in 12 by 200 @ 39-37 with 50-52 float. Didn't have time enough for 25 laps between classes. Also working on knee lift when I encounter hills, additionally helping me drive a bit more smoothly on the flats. Will go for the 2 sets of 400s today @ 3-5k pace. Nats are one week out, so should I try your 500 taper routine? Funny enough, I've used a similar final week for my high school team before state for MANY years with great success. Same short warmup and cooldown. WE do 400s but only at 5k planned pace (I'm a bit scared to push them at mile pace, but maybe I should. Guess where I first read about the research on this taper? Owen Anderson's Running Research News ! It used to be a cutting edge publication but then went off the deep end.
I like your additional 100m, making the 400s longer. Squires used always have us do odd lap distances: 900s, 500s 1100s and 2ks.
personal preference, i suppose, but the reason i prefer the 1000's and miles with short rest is the high density that can be maintained throughout the workout without exceeding LT... 3 x 3000 w/5-8 min. jogging doesn't allow for this (not that 3 x 3k isn't a great workout, but, at LT pace, it should only take about 2:00 to clear any build-up and comfortably maintain pace throughout the workout)...