The plan set months ago for this week had us doing 4x800m (400m jog recovery) plus 3x 200m (walk recovery) on Tuesday and a five mile Fartlek with short efforts on Thursday. Malcolm has been talking to some other coaches and wrote some advice on training – including an interesting suggestion for a stretch goal.
Training in Difficult Times
Malcolm Plant writes:
I hope you are well and avoiding this deadly virus. With Tokyo off for a year it means we have not missed out on the opportunity of qualifying. Another training year might just do it!
Although the focus for the Summer is now virtually lost until at least July, we still could make the best of a bad job. Even I am getting out early in the morning around Woodbank where there are a few runners and even one doing fast reps around the 1k route. However, it is difficult to be motivated to run hard by oneself. Happily (in a way) this is a time of year when its traditional to have a recovery period so the past couple of weeks can be considered to be a sensible hiatus before what would have been the transition into the Summer period.
I have been involved in discussions with some senior coaches in the UK about the transition period we are in and how to deal with the Covid19 situation in particular. As part of this, one of the coaches dug out a review he had undertaken of my own training (from the 1980’s) where he observed that I never took a rest or recovery, so apparently having a recovery period at this time will be a positive thing for us all (if only I had been told in the 70’s!).
So on to some suggestions to make the runs you do more productive and interesting. In the absence of races here are some suggestions:
Simulate track sessions on grass or even the road – this is difficult and less social than we like. Reduce the number of reps and reduce the recovery, perfect to be run like a fartlek, keep the recoveries short
Do turnarounds, you only need a person less space of 50 meters to do 3 x 5 minutes with 5 mins between sets – you will remember this was deceptively hard
On your runs, treat every hill and rise as a target and run hard on every hill, this also has a core strengthening effect and will enhance the benefit you gain from your precious 30 minutes or so. You might also need to vary pace in a race so its good practice.
Add a fartlek aspect to your runs, short and long bursts as desired. A modification to this is to include into the run a couple of miles where you slowly increase the to 85% of maximum then drop the pace right down for a mile before increasing again.
The coaches I spoke to were very keen in this situation to include a time trial once every two weeks. Choose a course of between 1K to 1.5K (other distances are available). Do a warmup run, blast the trial and then warm down home. Put a clock on it if possible.
Stick to the basic week design of two sessions, do more stretching and core work at home. Remember a tempo run should be conducted at about 90% effort (80 -90% max heart rate)
Take the opportunity to include more recovery into the week.
If there is an appetite I can set two sessions a week to help, let me know
All the best