Training — You Own Your Workout

running-advice-bugI was in the gym talking with a fellow runner the other day and he said something curious to me. We were talking about whether to do an upcoming 5K race and he said, “I’m worried about banging myself up with another race.” This was interesting to me, because he is probably running upwards of 60 miles a week and we were talking about a 3 mile race. So I decided to poke on this a little bit more. Over the course of the conversation, what came out was this idea: he didn’t want to be dragged into an effort harder than he would put in on the track by other competitors.

Here are my thoughts on this topic:
First, you own your own workout. Whatever the intensity, the pace, the distance you plan to run — these are within your control. It is important to keep this in mind when it comes to racing or even running with other people. If you were to decide to take the pace easy, then that’s up to you. If you want to push the first mile hard and then back off you can do that as well. If you find the opposite — that the pace isn’t hard enough — then it is up to you to change the pace. These factors are all under your control, so don’t succumb to peer pressure from other runners to do something else with your workout.

Second, racing and speed workouts should be one and the same. If this runner was willing to hop on the track and run 12x400M (3 miles) then why does running a 5K (3.1 miles) cause him pause? This is likely both a perception and pacing issue. The perception portion of this is that a race is somehow going to be pushed harder than a regular track workout. Well, here’s the thing, that would be a good thing. If the racing environment got more intensity out the workout, then it probably is going to yield more benefit to the runner’s fitness. And from a pacing perspective, the runner just needs to understand the difference in pacing 12x400M and 1×5,000M — which is a subtle difference at best.

Third, racing is good for you. Putting aside issues of pacing for a moment, putting yourself into races is good for you. It teaches racing skills, such as the ability to read other runners, pace in groups, read your own body and go through a warm-up routine. All of these things that we’re talking about here — the ownership of your workout and pacing — are practiced in races. So the more racing you do, the better honed your skills become and this opens up more opportunities to run races like this to benefit your fitness.
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Running Terminology Series — Paces and Workout Intensities

running-advice-bugAs we continue our series on the various types of running workouts, we’ll now explore the intensity or pace of each of the various types of runs. To start at the beginning of the series with Part I, click here.

Long-distance Running Terminology Part II — Paces and Intensity of Running Workouts

By Coach Joe English
with Coach Dean Hebert
(C) 2010 Running Advice and News

Introduction
In the previous section of this series, we looked at eight major types of running workouts. Each of the workouts that fall in what we would call the “quality” or “goal pace” categories has a specific intensity range attached to it. In other words, each of these types of workouts comes with a pace target attached to it. If the workout is done too fast, the runner will not be able to maintain the pace through the entire distance of the workout. If the pace is too slow, then the runner doesn’t reap the full benefit from the workout.

Intensities and Types of Long Distance Workouts

Gauging pace may seem like a difficult exercise, but through practice everyone can learn the “feeling” of these paces. The key here is “practice”. Runners need to spend time running at each of these paces to learn the feel of the pace. Over time they will become more confident and be able to replicate the target pace for a particular workout on their on volition.
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Running Terminology Series — Types of Long Distance Workouts

running-advice-bugWhether you are new to running or just confused by terms like “speed workouts” and “tempo runs”, this series of articles is for you. We’ve distilled some of the most important terms related to running workouts, paces and lingo related to the track into a series of three short articles. Here in part I we tackle the different types of long-distance running workouts.

Long-distance Running Terminology Part I — Types of Workouts

By Coach Joe English
with Coach Dean Hebert
(C) 2010 Running Advice and News

Introduction
Runners build fitness by doing a variety of different workouts. No matter whether they are training for their first 5K or to trying to qualify for the Olympic Marathon, a workout plan built on a variety of different types of workouts makes runners faster, more efficient and keeps them progressing toward their fitness goals.

Just like a diet built of many different foods will help provide the many different kinds of nutrients that we need to stay healthy, providing the body with a variety of different running workouts helps make a stronger and healthier runner. And, to take the analogy one step further, doing the same workouts over and over leads runners down a path toward diminishing returns. Too many runners force-feed themselves with a steady diet of slow miles run every day and this is like eating junk food for lunch every day – it yields little in the way of nutrition or happiness in the long-run.

What follows below is a description of several types of run workouts and their place among the “diet” of the healthy runner. Building a training plan should be viewed like putting together a puzzle. As you place each workout into the puzzle, eventually the picture of a runner comes into place. What that runner looks like depends on the puzzle pieces – which are the number, length and intensity of the workouts themselves.
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Workouts: 1,200M Intervals @ 10K Pace

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

This is week six in our continuing series of favorite speed workouts. If you’re looking for the earlier posts, they are all filed in the category called “workouts”.

Workout: 1,200M Intervals at 10K Pace

Workout Summary: The 1,200M interval is a longer interval than most runners may gravitate too when heading for the track. Three times as a long as a 400M interval, the 1,200M forces the runner to work on pacing more than shorter intervals. Heading out too fast in these intervals will result in a melt-down at best and that’s why they are so great.

In this workout, you’ll do less intervals — on the order of three to six of them — because of the longer distance. The pace of these will be approximately your 10K pace (about 4-6 seconds per 400M lap slower than your 5K pace). The rest interval will be in the range of 45 seconds to two minutes depending on your level of fitness.
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