Well, that's one more week in the books. I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has stopped by to read this blog and leave comments and feedback. I was overwhelmed with the support and amount of views I've been getting so thank you so much. (Thank you to NLrunning as well)
I'll chat briefly about some questions and thoughts I have about training the VO2 max energy system all year as well as break down last weeks training.
VO2 max training all year long? Smart for development or playing with fire?
First off lets define what VO2 max really is,
According to Wikipedia - VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, peak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum capacity of an individuals body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual. The name is derived from V - volume, O2 - oxygen, max - maximum.
VO2 max is expressed either as an absolute rate in litres of oxygen per minute (L/min) or as a relative rate in millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute (i.e., mL/(kg·min)). The latter expression is often used to compare the performance of endurance sports athletes.
So without going to in depth in the science department, VO2 max is the key energy system that fuels our aerobic power. And running is an aerobic activity. But when training to increase or improve our VO2 system should we only target it during a specific training cycle? Or at a given time during the preparation for a goal race? We see allot of the top running coaches when putting together a training program to prepare and athlete for a "championship race" or season most will use periodization in their approach. A typical training plan for a runner training for events like the 3000m - 10000m will start with a base period, then a strength period, typically followed by a sharpening period and finally the championship racing period. Where the athlete is peaking for goal races.
When we look at the different types of training we know that VO2 is by far the most difficult and is supposed to be the most stressful. We hear top coaches such as Dr. Jack Daniels talking about how these bouts of VO2 training should be the only ones that feel hard. Rep paced running should feel "fast", threshold running should feel comfortably hard but VO2 should feel hard. Personally I find this training the most strenuous and takes me the longest to recover from. I generally do repeats of distances between 800m - 1 mile, with the goal of running them about 3000m race pace and taking half the time it took to run the interval in recovery. Needless to say when you start increasing the volume of these sessions to 5-6 miles of work, your really taxing the body and burn out can occur. So my question is, can we run these types of workouts year round to try and improve this crucial energy system, and maybe back off the frequency or volume during our less important training cycles? Or should we stick with the idea of periodization and only incorporate it when its time to build aerobic power at that given time in our season? How do you guys approach this? Do you do strait VO2 sessions? Mixed workouts? Let me know what works for you and what your thoughts are. I'm curious to know what works for different people!
This week in training.
This week was successful for sure. I was solo for 85 percent of my runs so it was mentally tough getting after workouts and a long run with the weather getting colder and the wind. But its this work and dedication that will hopefully help me gain lots of fitness in the next 5-6 months. Hopefully I will be able to get out with the speedy Adam Snow when his training resumes (5km specialist and real fastwitch runner).
9 miles - AM
10 miles - PM
Workout - 16 X 400m @ Rep Pace. This is a standard repetition workout. I did it on the Tupper loop by my house as I didn't want to head all the way to the track. I took full recoveries of 2:00/rep. Enough time to jog back to the start of the 400m. I started them at 71 seconds for the first 4, and tried to work down the pace each subsequent 4. The last 4 averaged 65 which is good for this time of the year. The workout average was around 68 seconds.
12 miles with workout - AM
6 miles - PM
10 miles - AM
10 miles - PM
Workout - 3 X 10 minutes with 4 minutes active recovery. This went well, I started very conservative and did the first rep at 5:21 pace, the second was a bit faster at 5:08 pace, then for the last rep I ran myself into the ground and just hung on the last 3 minutes and averaged 5:00/mile pace. This was encouraging, though I wonder if the slow first rep was smart. Perhaps all of them run at goal 10km pace would have been smarter. (Done on Tupper loop).
11 miles with workout - AM
5 miles - PM
8 miles - AM
8 miles - PM
11 miles - AM
9 miles - PM
Long Run - 20 miles @ 7:00 pace average. Unfortunately this was done solo and it was a grind. I left my house and went down around quidi vidi lake for 4 laps then added some miles at the end. It was a decent run though. I started running the first 10 miles really easy about 7:30 pace then ran the last 10 in the 6:20-6:30 range. I find the last 3-4 miles of these runs are brutal. I need to work on my strength if I want to be running good times over 10 miles and the half marathon distance so I hope this is helping.
20 miles - AM
Off - PM
129 miles total on the week.
I'm pretty happy with this week. It wasn't out of this world or anything but there was 3 good days of quality running. Just keeping this going is all that needs to happen. I'd like to run about 5 miles more per week but it was nothing to complain about. On a side note I didn't get a chance to wear the Saucony Cortanas this week as I'm still waiting on a shipment of winter gear and shoes but I'll for sure wear them as soon as they come and give everyone my thoughts.
That's all for this post, back to the grind,