Seniors’ Endurance Training w/c 26.6.2022

This week the training focus will be mixing VO2 Max improvement using Tabata Style training and hopefully many of you will be racing either the Manchester Mile, the Sale Sizzler or both. Good luck to everyone racing.

Tuesday Session

15 mins warm up

4 minutes of run fast* for a count of 20 breaths, walk for 10 breaths (repeating this cycle for 4 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 four times

15 mins Cool Down

For background see here.

Thursday Session

No session – if not racing then try a solo fartlek run; warm up nicely then pick a point to run to, run at the maximum pace you feel you can achieve to the point you’re running to, recover, repeat, then 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 20.6.2022

This week I will be using the Thursday session to look at everyone’s form and, with their consent, do some video analysis with a view to determining which technical areas to work on over the next few weeks. Additionally we will be doing some pacing challenges. Hopefully, this time no minor domestic catastrophes will interfere…

We’ll be continuing with the 5x1km theme ready for the first Sizzler next week.

Tuesday Session

10 minutes warm-up

5 TIMES: 6 minutes @ 10km race pace, 2 minutes super easy running as recovery

10 minutes cool-down

Thursday Session

5 minutes warm-up

Observed strides

5x1km @ 5km race pace 60 seconds rest

5 minutes 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.

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 12.6.2022

This week I will be using the Thursday session to look at everyone’s form and, with their consent, do some video analysis with a view to determining which technical areas to work on over the next few weeks. Additionally we will be doing some pacing challenges.

The fitness focus will be to improve VO2 Max; 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. Improvements to VO2 Max can be elicited with efforts that are just below (lactate) threshold (the point most athletes can sustain for around an hour) and thus are relatively ‘easy’ to achieve.

Tuesday Session

10 minutes warm-up

4 TIMES: 8 minutes @ 10km race pace, 2 minutes super easy running as recovery

10 minutes cool-down

Thursday Session

5 minutes warm-up

Observed strides

400m @ self selected pace*

400m 10s faster than self selected pace

400m 10s slower than self selected pace

400m 10s faster than self selected pace

400m 10s slower than self selected pace

400m 10s faster than self selected pace

400m 10s slower than self selected pace

400m 10s faster than self selected pace

400m 10s slower than self selected pace

1km handicap race

5 minutes cool down

* Choose a pace you are confident at being able to improve by 10s on subsequent 400s, i.e., a pace you are confident is at least 25s per km slower than your fastest 400m rep time.

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 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)