Sunday, 8 December 2013

Week of training Sunday December 1st - Saturday December 7 + thoughts on raw speed development.

Hello again,

One more week in the books. I pushed the envelope more then I had intended to this week. I was hoping to have a scheduled down week of reduced mileage but it didn't really work out as I planed. Peter and Kate (Bazeley) got into town on Wednesday so I hit a couple of hard workouts with Peter and we ran a fair amount of mileage the last half of the week. I ended up running 3 really good workouts but I pushed my long run to today so it won't show up on this week's training. I was happy with this week and was surprised I had so much energy and pop in my legs. I hit 142.5 miles. (Next week I'm bringing it down to 100 just to be safe and not risk burn out). I will get into the training later in this post, but first I want to talk a bit about improving foot speed.

Raw speed development through repetition paced running.

Let's talk about how to develop our high end/raw speed. If there is one thing I think is neglected the most in the average runner it's their speed. From what I can tell most runners think that raw speed is something best left to sprinters and doesn't effect how they run in their events (5km - Marathon for most people). This is simply not true and I hope people start to realize this and correct it in training. As good as this latest running boom has been for getting more people active and involved in this wonderful sport of running, it has also made our sport more into a hobby then anything. So let's talk about SPEED! It's fun to run fast and you should practice running fast. It will help you run better over every distance.

Now, what do I mean when I say "repetition paced running"? I'm borrowing this term from Dr. Jack Daniels, one of best running coaches of our time. He defines repetition paced running as fast running, not hard running but fast, where we focus on turning our legs over. These can also be called power intervals. The goal is to improve anaerobic metabolism, running mechanics, strength and economy, all of which breed pure, raw, unadulterated speed. 

The most common way of training to accomplish the goal of speed development is through short intervals from 100-400m. A mistake that is made by allot of runners when they first approach this type of training is that they think it's all out sprinting. This is not the case, these intervals are supposed to be run fast and controlled, focusing on holding good form, driving with your arms and with a good knee lift. More is not always better, preform anywhere between 3000-5000m worth of work at this pace. Be sure and recover fully between intervals and if you feel you can't hold strong form and continue to run fast and efficiently stop the workout. The biggest thing is to be relaxed at all times, the best runners in the world are always relaxed and fluid during their gate cycle. By practicing this, it will lead to the development of more speed, better running form, economy and in tern faster times in your races.

I'm only briefly touching the surface of how speed is developed here when talking about repetition paced running. I'm going to make this topic a 2 week discussion on my blog. So please leave some thoughts, comments and let me know how you train to develop your speed. Next week I'm going to discus hill training for the development of power and foot speed. And I also plan on touching on running economy next week as well. Again, please let me know what you think or even what you would like me to talk about to get the discussion going.

This week in training.

I had another fantastic week. I was a little nervous as I hadn't planned on keeping my volume so high, but I had to take advantage of having Peter and Kate in town. Having them out for workouts is a treat and really helps keep the motivation up to run hard. You will notice there is no Long Run in this weekly recap. I didn't do it on Saturday because of the workout on Friday. I did however do a 21 mile/33ish km long run this morning (Sunday) so I did get it in. It will just be on next weeks break down. I track my weeks from Sunday - Saturday. I got my easy runs in with Amanda again (she continues to kill it in training) and my workouts in with Peter. I would also like to thank Mike Greene for helping me put together some workouts. Mike has an outstanding running pedigree and is owner of the fastest Newfoundland Marathon time run at the Boston Marathon (2:34). Mike has some incredible track PR's as well, like SUPER fast. So I really value and appreciate his opinion. You can tell just by talking to him the passion he has for the sport. Thanks Mike!!


13 miles - AM
8 miles - PM


Workout - 5X1500m. This was Mike's workout, he had me do it on the indoor track on the outside lane. After a good warm up I got into it running 52 seconds/lap for the first rep. At the end of the 1500m I walked for 52 seconds until the end of the next turn and then did the next rep at 51 seconds/lap. Again, I followed this with another 52 second walk recovery until the next turn and took the pace down again with each rep until on my last 1500 where I ran laps at 47 seconds for the first 3 then 44's for the last 3 laps of the final 1500m rep. This was one of my favorite workouts I'd ever done. It felt so good to be in such control and to take the pace down at will. I'm going to be using this workout in my build up for the spring. I recommend you guys give it a try!

7 miles - AM
13 miles with workout - PM


11 miles - AM
9 miles - PM


Workout - 2X15 minutes @ Lactate Threshold pace with Peter, Caroline, Mark and Melissa. We did this around Quidi Vidi on the roads, so it included that brutal hill coming out of the gut. Baze and I went on our perceived effort. I generally like to run this type of workout about 5:15 pace but it was a viciously windy evening and the hills made it a hard session to get our pace going. We averaged 5:35 pace for the workout with a 2 minute recovery between 15 minute reps. It was a good session. It felt like a 5:15 effort. 

9 miles - AM
11 miles with workout - PM


12 miles - AM
8 miles - PM


Workout - 4X2km @ 10km race pace with 2:30 recovery (5:05/mile pace or 3:10/km pace). This workout went very well, it was done with Connor and Baze. I got a little jumpy on my first 2km rep and ran it in 6:06 which is if I'm honest about my 5km race pace at my current fitness and not my 10km pace. I dialed it back the next 3 and when all was said and done I averaged 6:20/2km rep for the workout which was right where it needed to be. 5:05/mile pace is starting to feel very relaxed and under control which is good. I guess the fact that I'm doing mile repeats now between 4:48-4:50 is helping make 5:05 pace feel that much easier. I'd like to do 3X3km at this pace and then 2X5km in the next couple weeks just to make sure I can run it under control for longer reps. Baze and Connor looked really strong in this session as well. The boys are fit!

13 miles with workout - AM
7 miles - PM 


7 miles - AM
14.5 miles - PM

142.5 miles for the week. I'm feeling tired as I type this as I just completed a 21 mile long run with Peter, Kate and Allison. This coming week will have to be dialed back, I'll play it by ear and might jump into the pool for a couple of sessions to take some of the pounding off the body but still get the aerobic work in.

Saucony Mirage 3 and Cortana 3 thoughts and impressions.

As I stated last week I've been rotating these two shoes the past 3-4 weeks. I normally train faithfully in the Saucony Kinvara 4. It's great as I find I can do anything in it, easy miles, fast intervals, long runs even race some longer distances if need be. But I was concerned that with the weather changing and the fact that I'll be running on the pavement more I would need something a little heavier and with more under foot. I decided to try the Mirage 3 and Cortana 3. Both around 8 - 9 ounce shoes which is still very light and good for up-tempo running but with more midsole to protect my legs when running 130+ miles per week. I've been so pleased with both shoes! They fit true to size and offer a plush ride but with a fast feel that makes you feel light and nibble. The Mirage 3 seems to be the firmer of the two and seems to work well for faster running. The Cortana 3 is more of a shoe you will want to run  your easy miles and long run in and just enjoy the ride. I've never been in such a comfortable and responsive shoe before. I won't go into the science and tooling of the shoes but I will say that if you are a fan of the Saucony Kinvara franchise then you will love both of these shoes. I highly recommend them both! (They also come in some neat color-ways as well!!)

Well, Thats another week. I'm so happy with the training I've been able to string together. I've got to thank everyone who has gotten out for runs with me in the cold, and especially to Peter this week for helping out with the workouts it made a huge difference. 

Until next time it's back to the grind.
Stay frosty,

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