Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 6.6.2022

This week our technical focus is on hip stability – keeping the hips high and level to promote running economy and minimise injury.

Our fitness focus is still 5km race pace and the Thursday session continues our progression through 5x1km with diminishing rest.

Suggested Drills for the week

Lunge Progression – remember to keep your leading knee behind your leading toes and your trailing knee should not quite touch the ground.

A-March to Skip Progression – ensuring chin, toes and knees are ‘up’.

Strides with a ‘balloon’.

Tuesday Session

10 minutes easy running

10 minutes @ 10km race pace, 5 minutes recovery pace, 15 minutes @ 10km race pace, 5 minutes recovery pace, 10 minutes @ 10km race pace

5 minutes cool down

Thursday Session

5 minutes easy running

Drills

5x 1km @ 5km target pace with approx 90 seconds rest between efforts

10 mins cool down

Sunday Session

Long* Run – surges every 1km; accelerate to 90% of max pace, hold that pace for 10 long breaths (about 20-30 seconds), focus on imagining your head and torso being lifted by a balloon.

*Long is relative to what you have been doing recently; no more than 20% longer than any run you’ve done in the past 4 weeks.

Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 30.5.2022

This week our technical focus is on foot landing; ensuring your foot lands close to under your center of mass and that your knee is flexing as your foot lands.

Our fitness focus is still 5km race pace and the Thursday session focuses on lactate clearance.

Suggested Drills for the week

Walking Lunges – remember to keep your leading knee behind your leading toes and your trailing knee should not quite touch the ground.

Straight Legged Run or ‘claw’ – keep your leg straight, driving with your glute muscles and lightly tapping the ground with the ball of your foot.

Jog on the spot building to a very high cadence then lean (from the ankle) slightly forward until you naturally start running.

Short (30m build, 30m @90%, 30m decelerate) strides in back-and-forth pairs; on each pair – focus on keeping a short stride length (and high cadence) in the first stride of each pair and then driving back with the feet on the second stride in each pair.

Tuesday Session

10 minutes easy running

REPEAT: 10 minutes @ 10km race pace, 5 minutes recovery pace

5 minutes cool down

Thursday Session

5 Minutes easy running

Drills and Strides

TWO TIMES: 4x400m @3km race pace with 400m recovery @ Half Marathon Pace – total of 3200m for each of the two reps – total of 6400m for this section.

5 minutes easy running to cool down

This is a running variant of a classic ‘under-over threshold’ workout that is very popular with cycling coaches, however, I can’t find any peer-reviewed literature as to whether it actually works – I will keep looking and do a proper write up of the set if I find some.

Sunday Session

Minimum of 10 minutes warm up

Find a hill suitable for at least two minutes of effort but ideally three, then run 6 to 8 intervals starting steady and accelerating to the maximum effort you feel possible by about half way up the hill, sustain that to the top. Walk down the hill until your breathing returns to normal, then jog down to the starting point.

You may notice that most weeks at the moment include a hill set – hill sets are great for; reducing overstriding, building strength and doing high effort aerobic work with low(er) injury risk.

At least 10 minutes cool down

Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 23.5.2022

This week our technical focus is on maintaining high, stable hips in order to minimise energy wasted moving the torso around and to reduce the forces going through the legs and thus reduce injury risk.

Our fitness focus is still 5km race pace and we repeat the classic 5x1km but with a bit less rest this week. The remaining sessions use the principles of Tabata style intervals to maximise the aerobic benefit gained from the other two sessions.

Suggested Drills for the week

A-March to A-Skip progression – with focus on arms

Ball Slam

Jump Lunge (Progression)

High Cadence Jog on spot with lean into run.

Tuesday Session

15 mins warm up

6 minutes of run fast* for a count of 20 breaths, walk for 10 breaths (repeating this cycle for 5 minutes) THEN 4 minutes easy running

* fast – this should be a reasonably smooth acceleration to your maximum pace. By the end of the 6 minutes it will feel EXTREMELY challenging.

REPEAT the above three times

15 mins Cool Down

For background see here.

Thursday Session

5 Minutes easy running

Drills and Strides

FIVE TIMES: 1000m at target 5km pace, 2 minutes rest.

5 minutes easy running to cool down

Sunday Session

Minimum of 10 minutes warm up

Find a hill suitable for at least two minutes of effort but ideally three, then run 6 to 8 intervals starting steady and accelerating to the maximum effort you feel possible by about half way up the hill, sustain that to the top. Walk down the hill until your breathing returns to normal, then jog down to the starting point.

At least 10 minutes cool down

Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 16.5.2022

This week our technical focus is on arm drive; there are various theories as to why arm drive impacts running performance, but there is plenty of evidence that a well synchronised, correct arm drive improves performance by ~10% (over no arm movement) – the most common theory is that it counters the momentum of the driving leg and prevents you from rotating slightly from left to right with each stride (and thus wasting energy correcting that with directional changes).

We continue our focus on 5km and shorter races and bring in a classic mile and 5km training set (10×400).

Suggested Drills for the week

A-March to A-Skip progression – with focus on arms

Progression of short strides – over a short (90-100m) course where you can go back and forth, repeat a stride (30m to accelerate, 30m at 85-95% sprint pace, 30m decelerate) and on each pair (back and forth) focus on the following in order; pair 1) keeping the arms moving in a plane that is parallel to your direction of movement (so they are not crossing in front of your body), pair 2) keeping your forearm and upper arm at 90 degrees to each other throughout the arm drive, pair 3) driving the arm back with ‘purpose’, not forcefully, but with some energy (your hand should end up in line with your torso with your elbow behind your torso), pair 4) keeping the shoulders down and relaxed. This should be 8 strides in total.

Tuesday Session

10 minute warm-up

Marathon Pace – 5 minutes
Easy 3 minutes
Half Marathon Pace – 5 minutes
Easy 3 minutes
10km Race Pace – 5 minutes
Easy 3 minutes
5km Race Pace – 5 minutes
Easy 3 minutes
1 mile Race Pace – 5 minutes*

10 minute cool-down

* If your mile pace is sub-5 minutes then feel free to do 1 mile ‘best effort’ and have some extra rest 🙂

Thursday Session

5 Minutes easy running

Drills and Strides ~ 15- 20 minutes

10x400m @ mile race pace* with 90 seconds rest (standing or gentle walk)

5 minutes easy running to cool down

* If you are not sure what your mile race pace is then go for a hard effort on every 400 meters and try and get the same time in each – once you’ve done this session a few times and can get the times of each 400m roughly even that should be a good approximation of your mile race pace.

Sunday Session

Minimum of 10 minutes warm up

Find a hill suitable for at least two minutes of effort but ideally three, then run 6 to 8 intervals starting steady and accelerating to the maximum effort you feel possible by about half way up the hill, sustain that to the top. Walk down the hill until your breathing returns to normal, then jog down to the starting point.

You may notice that most weeks at the moment include a hill set – hill sets are great for; reducing overstriding, building strength and doing high effort aerobic work with low(er) injury risk.

At least 10 minutes cool down

Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 9.5.2022

This week our technical focus is the foot landing; ensuring that the foot strikes the ground when already travelling backwards, i.e., when the knee is in flexion and indeally when the foot is under the centre of mass.

We continue our focus on 5km running and the Thursday session is a classic of 5km training.

Suggested Drills for the week

Straight Leg Run

B-March

B-Skip

Short strides with a focus on driving the feet back and a short strid length.

Tuesday Session

10 minute warm-up

40 minutes of:

During the warm-up decide an order to run in.

Start out at a steady (long-run, i.e. arerobic) pace the first runner then chooses when to start the interval, how fast to run the interval and where to end the interval – they do no need to tell the rest of the group their decision, the rest of the group will simply attempt to keep up as best they can. Once the first runner reaches the end point they have selected for their interval they turn around and run to the back of the group.

For a detail explanation with diagrams see here.

10 minute cool-down

Thursday Session

5 Minutes easy running

Drills and Strides

FIVE TIMES: 1000m at target 5km pace, 2-3 minutes rest (until fully recovered).

5 minutes easy running to cool down

Sunday Session

Minimum of 10 minutes warm up

Find a hill suitable for ideally 3 minutes of effort. Acclerate to maximum over the first few paces, maintain this pace for approx 10 breaths (should be around 20 seconds), walk back down the hill for 10 seconds, turn around and repeat the uphill. Do 8 reps. This will take around 4 minutes do a steady pace for around 6 minutes and aim to end up back at the bottom of the hill. REPEAT 3 TIMES (30 minutes total for this block).

This is a Tabata style workout, but done on a hill to help reduce over-striding tendencies.

At least 10 minutes cool down

Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 2.5.2022

This week our technical focus is arm drive; the back-swing of the arm drive helps to promote good leg drive.

Our ‘fitness’ focus changes this week as summer approaches and 5km, 10km, short fell races and track season approaches; the basic physiology still stays the same with performances in endurance (3km and over) being dominated by VO2 Max, however, we now start using a much larger proportion of that capacity and the body starts giving the brain strong signals that we’re reaching the limit of our bodies’ capacities. To enable you to keep running fast at that point we start doing sessions that get you comfortable with being uncomfortable (whilst simultaneously training the underlying energy systems).

Suggested Drills for the week

A-March to A-Skip progression – with focus on arms

Progression of short strides – over a short (90-100m) course where you can go back and forth, repeat a stride (30m to accelerate, 30m at 85-95% sprint pace, 30m decelerate) and on each pair (back and forth) focus on the following in order; pair 1) keeping the arms moving in a plane that is parallel to your direction of movement (so they are not crossing in front of your body), pair 2) keeping your forearm and upper arm at 90 degrees to each other throughout the arm drive, pair 3) driving the arm back with ‘purpose’, not forcefully, but with some energy (your hand should end up in line with your torso with your elbow behind your torso), pair 4) keeping the shoulders down and relaxed. This should be 8 strides in total.

Tuesday Session

10 minute warm-up

40 minutes of:

During the warm-up give everyone in the group a number from 1 to 3, ensuring that there are roughly equal numbers of ‘1’s, ‘2’s and ‘3’s.

Start out at a steady (long-run, i.e. arerobic) pace then pick a landmark (lampost, postbox, bush, cone, anything!) that you are about to run past, the whole group should continue running at a steady pace after passing it, continue for 30 seconds, then all of the ‘1’s should run fast (3-5km pace or faster) back to the selected landmark, turn around at the landmark and continue, fast, back to the group. When the ‘1’s return to the group, pick a new landmark and then the ‘2’s run fast back to it after the whole group has gone 30 seconds past the landmark, repeat this for the ‘3’s and then continue this pattern until it is time to cool down.

For a detail explanation with diagrams see here.

10 minute cool-down

Thursday Session

5 Minutes easy running

Drills and Strides

FIVE TIMES: 800m as 200m maximum effort then 600m 5km pace minus 5 seconds per km, then recover fully (2 to 3 minutes)

5 minutes easy running to cool down

This is a tough set; if you want to know why you’re doing it I have written some details here.

Sunday Session

Minimum of 10 minutes warm up

Find a hill suitable for at least two minutes of effort but ideally three, then run 6 to 8 intervals starting steady and accelerating to the maximum effort you feel possible by about half way up the hill, sustain that to the top. Walk down the hill until your breathing returns to normal, then jog down to the starting point.

At least 10 minutes cool down

Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 25.4.2022

This week our technical focus is on keeping hips high and stable so we don’t waste energy moving our torsos up and down.

Fitness focus is still on VO2 Max in order to power through 5 and 10km races – those of you who did last weeks sessions will notice this is a gradual progression from last week. For some background on the Tuesday session I

Suggested Drills for the week

A-March

Heels Up running – lift the heel towards your bottom, but ensure you are driving forward with your knee so as not to extend the foot out backwards

Walking Lunges

Strides while imagining a balloon tied to your head and lifting it up.

Tuesday Session

15 mins warm up

6 minutes of run fast* for a count of 20 breaths, walk for 10 breaths (repeating this cycle for 5 minutes) THEN 4 minutes easy running

* fast – this should be a reasonably smooth acceleration to your maximum pace. By the end of the 6 minutes it will feel EXTREMELY challenging.

REPEAT the above three times

15 mins Cool Down

For background see here.

Thursday Session

5 mins easy

Drills

TWO TIMES: 1200 @ 85% VO2 Max Pace*, 400 easy jog, 800 @ 85% VMP, 2-3 mins recovery

* for a rough approximation of 85% VO2 Max Pace use somewhere between Marathon and Threshold pace from a Jack Daniel’s VDOT Chart.

Observed Strides

5 mins cool down

This is a variation on a main set I describe here.

Sunday Session

Long easy run – strides at the end of each mile (apart from the last one)

Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 18.4.2022

This week our technical focus is on arm drive – having a strong arm drive counters the rotational forces coming from your legs and means more of your energy can go into propelling you forwards.

As summer slowly approches our training begins to come away from the longer distances and starts to focus on 5 and 10km (and shorter) races. Almost all athletes should be capable of running 5km above their Lactate Threshold and many athletes will be capable of racing 10km above their Lactate Threshold – this means that VO2 Max becomes an important figure and so that’s what we now work to improve.

EDIT: VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen an athlete’s body is capable of using per minute – it is a very strong predictor of endurance race performance, particularly 5 and 10km races for well trained athletes.

Suggested Drills for the week

A-March

High Cadence Jogging on the Spot then ‘falling’ into a run

Jump Lunges

Strides while imagining a balloon tied to your head and lifting it up.

Strides while focusing on keeping your out-breath long and slow and relaxing/dropping your shoulders.

Tuesday Session

20 mins warm up

TWO TIMES: 4 minutes of run VERY fast for a count of 20 breaths, walk for 10 breaths (repeating this cycle for 4 minutes) THEN 10 minutes easy running – you should be struggling to maintain the original ‘VERY fast’ pace by the end of each 4 minutes – for background see here

12 mins Cool Down

Thursday Session

5 mins easy

Drills and Strides

4x 1200 HARD walk around D until recovered (breathing normally) approximately two minutes – for background see here

5 mins cool down

Sunday Session

Long easy run – strides at the end of each mile (apart from the last one)

Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 11.4.2022

This week our technical focus is on ground contact time – we work on this with exercises that are plyometric in nature and start to improve the speed of the stretch-shorten-cycle of the muscles in the lower leg. We avoid any conscious attempt to reduce ground contact time when actually running as this will often lead to a bouncy run and thus wasted energy.

From a fitness perspective it is our last week focusing on the longer races (half marathon and marathon) so we’re still looking to increase Lactate Threshold; the pyramid session is a nicew way to get some variety and, if done well, leads to the two longest intervals being done at a higher pace than if all the intervals had been the same length.

Suggested Drills for the week

Straight Leg Run

High Cadence ‘fall’ into run – Start by jogging on the spot, increase the running cadence until running fast then lean forwards and allow the jog on spot to naturally turn into a run. Aim to lean forward from the ankle and not the hips.

Hopping for 30m – left leg a third of the way across the ‘D’, right leg on the way back – back and forth twice

Strides while imagining a balloon tied to your head and lifting it up.

Strides while focusing on keeping your out-breath long and slow and relaxing/dropping your shoulders.

Tuesday Session

10 minutes warm-up, 40 minutes effort, 10 minutes easy. Efforts should be slightly slower than half-marathon pace.

Thursday Session

5 minutes easy

Straight Leg Run

High Cadence ‘fall’ into run

Hopping

Strides

Pyramid – 400. 800, 1600, 800, 400 with 400 m easy between each. Efforts at 3km pace.

Cool-Down

Sunday Session

Hills ( 6x 3 mins + jog back down)

Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 4.4.2022

This week our technical focus is on foot drive, i.e., maximising the force pushing us forwards when our foot is on the ground rather than pushing us up.

From a fitness perspective we’re still focusing on the longer races (half marathon and marathon) so we’re looking to increase Lactate Threshold; a relatively easy way to boost Lactate Threshold is training in sweet spot which is a point around 90% of threshold.

Suggested Drills for the week

Straight Leg Run

High Cadence ‘fall’ into run – Start by jogging on the spot, increase the running cadence until running fast then lean forwards and allow the jog on spot to naturally turn into a run. Aim to lean forward from the ankle and not the hips.

Heels Up running – run while exaggerating the lift of your foot towards your bottom, ensure you are driving the knee forwards.

Strides while imagining a balloon tied to your head and lifting it up.

Strides while focusing on drive the ground backwards.

Tuesday Session

5 minutes warm-up, 10 minutes effort, 5 minutes easy, 15 minutes effort, 5 minutes easy, 10 minutes effort, 5 minutes easy. Efforts should be slightly slower than half-marathon pace.

Thursday Session

5 minutes easy

Straight Leg Run

High Cadence ‘fall’ into run

Heels Up running

20 minutes sweet-spot (slightly slower than half-marathon pace) with a surge on the last 50m of every lap.

Strides (Extended Session)

Cool-Down

Sunday Session

Fast Finish Long Run – Last 5-10km (3-6 miles) at next goal race pace