Greg McMillan, M.S. | McMillianRunning.com
In a progression run, you begin running at a slow, easy pace but finish at a fast pace. Not only will you find progression runs to be fun, but they are a great way to boost your fitness without any lasting fatigue. And, the benefits are the same no matter if you’re a 2:15 or a 4:15 marathoner.
Three Types of Progression Runs
While the idea of the progression run is simple – start slower, finish faster, I recommend that you begin with structured progression runs until you learn how to properly gauge your effort throughout the run. Below are the three structured progression runs that I have used successfully.
The first type of progression run is called Thirds. As the name implies, you break your run into three equal parts or thirds. For the first third, you run at a relatively slow, comfortable pace. As you progress to the second third of the run, your pace will have gradually increased to your normal steady running pace. Over the last third of the run, you increase your speed so that you’re running a strong, comfortably hard pace. For many competitive runners this effort corresponds to somewhere around marathon race pace to as fast as half-marathon race pace and a heart rate between 80 and 90% of maximum. This strong running significantly improves your Stamina which raises the pace you can run before you begin to rapidly accumulate lactic acid.
For your first thirds progression run, choose a 45-minute easy run. Run the first 15 minutes slowly, the second 15 minutes at your normal pace and finish the last 15 minutes at a strong pace. While I break the run into thirds, your pace doesn’t radically change after each third. Instead, it is a gradual but steady increase across the run. After getting your feet wet with this first thirds run, you can adapt the concept to any duration/distance.
It’s important to note that the pace of the final third is NOT all-out running. An appropriate pace for the last third is approximately your marathon race pace.* Could you run faster at the end? Of course! But that’s not the goal of this particular progression run. In fact, if you run too hard in the last third, the workout becomes more like a Tempo Run which causes too much fatigue for the purposes of a progression run.
It’s likely that on some of your runs, you already do a thirds progression run without even trying. When you are fully recovered from previous workouts, the body seems to just naturally progress to a faster pace as the run goes along. And please note that I suggest you do this on an ‘easy run’ day not a ‘recovery run’ day.** For all but a select few elite athletes, progression runs should not be used on days when you are recovering from a previous workout or race.
Lastly, I find a thirds progression run to be an especially beneficial workout for experienced marathon runners – runners who can handle an additional up tempo day in addition to their other key workouts and long run. The most important caveat, however, is that you must not push too hard in the last third. Strive for a medium-hard pace (around your marathon race pace) not a Tempo Run.
Read about two more types of progression runs.
By Patrick McCrann | Active.com
As solo an endeavor as running can be, there’s no doubt that having a companion to share your miles can help breathe the life back into your training. From sharing a few laughs to pushing your limits, the right running partner will help you grow as a runner.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are five great running workouts that you can do with your running partner of choice. Run them as fast or as slowly as you want; you’ve already won simply by having someone to share the experience with
But before we begin…
Quick Running Partner Advice
Running with someone else is just that; a run. Don’t feel pressure to do anything but run. It’s helpful to set some expectations around average pace and distance for that specific workout. Otherwise
don’t place too many constraints around the session as it can really take the fun out of the workout. And don’t forget that you can have as many different running friends as you like; you could have speedy partner, one for recovery days, and even one for your longer runs. The sky is the limit.
Top Partner Run Workouts
#1 — Triple Fast Slow
A variation on a fartlek (aka speed play) run, in this session runners take turns implementing three speed surges at the pace and duration of their choice, recovering as much as needed. After these three repeats, the other runner has the chance to take the lead.
Tip: Start with one set each and build up to three as your fitness improves.
#2 — Adventure Run
A personal favorite, this run involves one runner plotting out a brand new route and then acting as the tour guide leading the other(s). Use an online mapping tool and a GPS device to avoid getting utterly lost; but note that even diverting just a few blocks off your normal route can be sufficiently different.
Tip: This is a perfect substitute for a regularly scheduled long run, especially when your training is becoming monotonous.
Read about more partner workouts.
Recipe by Charles & Julie Mayfield, Co-authors of Paleo Comfort Foods | Recipe
The sweet potatoes give you a huge post workout carbohydrate punch to quickly restore glycogen stores and the sausage throws a little protein in the mix. The really cool thing about this recipe is its portability. Charles likes to vacuum seal and freeze servings of this to take with him to the gym. This hash is great served warm, but packs plenty of flavor if served cold also. It makes a really easy/portable snack that can easily travel with you and hold up when you are on the go.
2 tbs. coconut, avocado, or olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1 pound (450g) sweet potatoes, peeled & shredded/grated
1 pound (450g) cooked chicken or turkey sausage
3 tbs. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add in oil
2. Saute onion until translucent
3. Stir in potatoes, mixing to combine and cook until potatoes start to soften and eventually brown slightly.
4. Mix in sausage, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper, and cook until sausages start to get a bit brown
By Rich Strauss | Endurance Nation (on Active.com)
How much to train; how far to swim bike, and run; what carbon aero gadget to buy…the list is endless, and the triathlon space has no end of guidance on these topics. But success on race day is more about what goes on between your ears than it is about the details of training and gear.
These are the mental tactics we use to help our athletes prepare for a breakthrough performance on race day:
Step 1: Forget Your Fitness
Understand that all you’ve done in training for the last three, six or even nine months is build a fitness vehicle. Race day is about how you drive that vehicle through the course and across the finish line. All the fitness in the world can’t help you if you don’t know how to drive it properly.
This becomes more important as race distance increases. Simply put, you can’t fake the funk in the long-course game, as evidenced by the hundreds of very, very fit athletes under-performing because they don’t know how to drive their fitness vehicle properly.
Step 2: Separate Yourself From the Outcome
Once the race starts, forget the Outcome. Forget goal times, placing, everything. In our experience, chasing the Outcome will often force you to make decisions in the short term that will prove counterproductive to your long-term goals.
Step 3: Identify Critical Junctions of the Race
Where are opportunities on the course to gain time? To lose time? Where is my competition most likely to make mistakes that I can avoid to help achieve a better outcome?
A few examples:
- Consider swim placement and seeding to take advantage of faster swimmers, currents, and avoid navigation mistakes.
- Recognize critical parts of the bike course where you can gain time including hills, descents, corners and tailwinds.
- The same on the run course: where is that downhill that you can bomb? Consider holding back a bit in the first couple miles so you can attack the hills at the end.
- While the notes above apply to the long-course swim, energy conservation becomes more important.
- On the bike, the longer the ride the more it becomes about not making mistakes. Avoid riding too hard up hills and into headwinds, don’t spend too much time coasting, let off the gas in tailwinds. Rather than actively trying to make something happen to gain time, be sure to conserve energy where possible.
Get the next two steps.
By Gale Bernhardt | Active.com
If you’ve been pouring over last year’s race results and have come to the conclusion that your triathlon run could use improvement, there are several ways to go about getting faster. This column offers seven strategies you can use. You may want to try more than one strategy at the same time, but be cautious about trying to employ all the strategies at the same time and overdoing it.
Rest Up for Key Triathlon Run Workouts
Triathletes that are strong swimmers and cyclists usually love to go fast in those workouts. It’s fun to go fast. If running is a limiter, you need to be sure that you do not put your quality run speedwork day within 24 to 48 hours following a tough swimming or cycling workout. The swim and bike workouts preceding key triathlon run workouts need to be primarily aerobic or form work.
Add One More Run to Your Week
If you’re currently running two or three days per week, add one more, short, aerobic run to your training mix. Some triathletes find that adding one more run workout in the 20- to 30-minute range is enough to boost speed.
Remove a Run From Your Week
For triathletes running four or five times per week, peeling out one day of running and adding more recovery will often help improve running speed.
Include a Run-Focused Training Block
For many triathletes, there is a balance to the number of workouts they perform in each sport, each week. For example, it’s common to have two or three workouts in each sport—swimming, cycling and running—every week.
It’s also common for intermediate and advanced triathletes to include a big block of cycling within one training block, while minimizing or eliminating swimming and running. This is easily accomplished by participating in a bicycle tour. This type of big volume training is often called “crash training.”
Crash training isn’t used as often in running because a big block of running carries more risk of injury. Additionally, overall training volume will need to be reduced if you decide to do a run-focused week of training. For example, if you are currently training 12 hours per week with swimming, cycling and running workouts, it’s fairly low risk to do a week of just cycling at 12 or more hours. It’s high risk, however, to do a week of just running at 12 or more hours.
Read more about improving your run.
Most masters runners have race buddies — those friends we see a few hours several times a year, whom we only know in running shorts or sweats, whose jobs we can’t describe and whose homes we’ve never visited.
Last spring, following a 3,000m race at Cerritos College in Southern California, I had breakfast at Peris Restaurant with four race buddies, all age-group American record-holders: Ken Ernst, Brian Pilcher, Nolan Shaheed and Rich Burns.
“You know what I hate?” I say, as we study the menus. “I hate when I eat a light lunch at work, and everybody says, ‘But you’re so thin, you can eat anything!’ No, I can’t. I’m thin because I diet and because I run 90 miles a week!”
“I eat like 2,000, 2,500 calories a day,” says Brian. “My wife says I’m like a high school girl because I’m always watching what I eat.”
“I definitely have a sweet tooth,” says Ken. “I’ll eat M&Ms, ice cream.”
“My wife bought us each a half gallon of vanilla ice cream,” says Rich. “Hers will last three or four days. Mine was gone in two meals.”
“I eat chicken or fish, any white meat,” says Nolan, who eats once daily and has tea for breakfast. “I eat vegetables, fruit and grains. And beans and oatmeal. I love oatmeal!”
While the rest of us order, Nolan asks Ken–who recently set the M50–54 5,000m record–what he ran in high school. Ken says 9:02 for 2 miles, which is the fastest high school PR at the table. Turns out, Nolan never ran the distance.
“Back then, there weren’t too many black guys running the 2-mile,” says Nolan. “Coaches didn’t think black guys could do anything past a quarter, maybe an 880 now and then.”
“Who’d like to see Jeremy Wariner move up to the 800?” says Ken.
“He was the top 400 meter runner in the world!” I say. “Why should he move up? Nobody asks that about other 400 runners.”
“Because he’s white,” says Nolan, suggesting it’s racial profiling.
I tell the story of doing mile repeats with James Sanford, then the world’s top sprinter, when we ran for USC in 1980. Sanford thought sprinters’ workouts were too easy, so he joined us distance guys for the day. Sanford told us the fastest guy he’d ever seen was a tall, red-haired, white kid who quit running in high school. Nolan says he remembers the kid, but it’s soon obvious we’re talking about different people. Anyway, Sanford ran 5 minutes for the first rep, then collapsed to the Exposition Park grass, exhausted.
“I do all my running on the track,” says Nolan, while the rest of us stuff our faces. “When I was injured, I couldn’t run faster than 7-minute pace. And then I raced, and I ran just as well. I found out I don’t have to run faster than 7-minute pace.”
“On morning runs, I go about 9-minute pace,” I say. “Afternoons, about 7:30 pace. When I go fast, I go fast. But I don’t go fast on distance runs.”
“On a good day, I run 8:30 pace,” says Rich. “Otherwise, maybe 8:45 to 9:00 pace.”
Read the rest of the story.
By Runner’s World editors – Runner’s World | Active.com
Mark Covert doesn’t have to think about his run today. It’s a given; he’s going to do it. After running for 12,480 days in a row (through September 30, 2002), Covert isn’t about to miss today. Or tomorrow. Or the day after.
You, however, probably need a plan for today’s workout. Without a plan, it’s just too easy to skip a run. You’ve got pressures in the office, errands to do, classes to take, things to deal with at home.
And more. Always more. Which makes it tough to put together a consistent training program.
Yet consistency is the most essential piece of every training program. It’s the one thing—perhaps the only one—that every coach, physiologist, and medical expert agrees on.
Without consistency, you aren’t going anywhere. You’re not going to get faster. You’re not going to run farther. You’re not going to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, finish that marathon, or achieve your other running goals.
With a consistent training program, on the other hand, the sky’s the limit. You’ll feel better and run better every day. So let’s get with it. Here are 27 ways to add more consistency to your running.
1. Run with others. To make sure you do a workout, there’s nothing like the social pressure of knowing someone else (or a group) is waiting for you. Bonus: It’s often more fun than running alone, especially if you’re doing a long run, or a speed workout on the track.
2. Try something new. The fitness world is full of new and fun-filled events, and they don’t all require a 3-week trip to Borneo and a survivor diet of grubs and lizards. Don’t let yourself get bored with an endless string of 5K and 10K races. Cary Stephens, an attorney in Corvallis, Oreg., found himself drawn to “scrambles,” an off-road running adventure. (To learn more, visit www.bigredlizard.com.)
3. Run like a tortoise. We can’t lie to you. This isn’t a sport of instant success and miracle shortcuts. Patience pays off, often in a very big way. At the beginning of a marathon training program, many participants can’t imagine themselves running more than 5 miles. Twelve to 16 weeks later, voilà: the cheering crowd and unbelievable exhilaration of reaching a marathon finish line. Stick with the program. Repeat: Stick with the program. Prepare to be amazed.
4. Take a break. To every thing, there is a season. You don’t have to run every day, every week, or even every month. Many top runners visualize their training year as a mountain range. It has peaks and valleys—recovery periods when they let their running taper off, so that they can build all the higher in their next training period. For healthy, consistent training, your body needs regular—that is, weekly, seasonal, and annual—recovery periods.
5. Eat a healthy breakfast. We can’t emphasize this one enough. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because it fuels you for the entire day. To skip breakfast or eat a skimpy one is like failing to rehydrate and refuel after a marathon. You wouldn’t do that, would you? Well, your night’s sleep is like a marathon to your body, because you don’t get any fuel while you’re sleeping. So carbo-load at breakfast. And add a little protein.
Get the rest of the 27 tips.
By Pip Taylor | Triathlete Competitor
What do I eat the night before a race? Do I have to have a special meal or follow a strict diet the day before? Do I ever have a beer or a glass of wine?
I get asked these questions a lot. Mostly the people asking are not as interested in what I eat or drink but secretly hope that their pre-race pizza and lager will be justified or that their lucky steak and chips the night before is the secret to a good race.
So do you really need to join the queue at the pasta party or pester the waiter at the local Italian restaurant as to why they don’t include sports drinks on the wine list? The short answer is no. And the slightly longer answer is a provisional no.
The elements of performance include genetics, training and fitness, nutrition and mental state. Each of these is important on its own, and each influences and interacts with the others.
For instance, for one athlete, knowing she has had ideal nutrition going into her race can boost her mental confidence, but for another, state of mind may be influenced more by his ability to relax and socialize. Similarly, good nutrition plays a role in ensuring one’s ability to achieve optimal training and recovery, yet perfect nutrition will do nothing for performance without dedication and a willingness to work hard.
Still, all of these amount to nothing without at least some natural ability and genetic disposition. The reverse is also true—the world is full of talented athletes who have never gotten off the couch. So the key to performance is to get as many of these elements in sync at one time while recognizing the unique qualities of the individual athlete or situation. So yes, good nutrition is important, especially for racing. But it is not the be-all and end-all of performance and must be put into perspective.
There’s a large scientific basis for preparing well nutritionally for a race. If the race is two hours or longer, there is a benefit to having loaded muscle glycogen (“carbo-loading”), being well-hydrated and making sure to consume foods that your body can easily digest without causing any gastrointestinal upsets or surprises. However, a wide range of foods can meet these needs—the list extends well beyond pasta—and will also depend on your individual needs. Gender, size, fitness, environmental conditions, nutritional status leading into the event and nerves play a role in what and how much you need to eat the day before a race.
Read the rest of the article.
Everyone knows what it’s like to be getting ready for bed, but instead of slipping under the covers you head to the kitchen. What should be a glass of water turns into a bowl of cereal, which snowballs into leftovers and a bowl of ice cream.
Unfortunately, studies show that eating large meals late at night may be a poor nutritional habit. Primarily, this advice stems from the awareness that our digestive system is not firing on all cylinders prior to sleeping. However, studies also show that eating late can actually keep us awake, which causes a host of other issues.
Pro triathlete, Jesse Thomas, offers this advice to help avoid the late-night gorge session:
“I never let myself get hungrier than a 7 out of 10. That means I snack a lot on well-balanced mini meals between 15 and 300 calories…”
Examples of “mini-meals”
- Eggs & toast
- PB & J
- Snack Bar
- Fresh fruit/veggie
- Small salad
Thomas continues, “If I eat more often, I actually eat less because I don’t turn into a T. rex at night, scouring the kitchen cupboards for every morsel of food.” In other words, by eating steadily throughout the day, your body will be less likely to reach bedtime in a calorie debt. Food binge avoided. Belly slimmed. Good night’s sleep.
Yesterday was the American men’s media day at the 2013 NYC Half Marathon as American stars Bernard Lagat, Abdi Abdirahman, and Dathan Ritzenhein all addressed the media.
LRC sat down with Bernard, Abdi and Dathan and you can see 8-12 minute videos with each of them (click on the links above).
In the course of talking to Bernard, Abdi and Dathan we realized that in talking about their own training they had a lot of training tips that apply universally to running. So without further ado here at the top 10 training tips from Bernard Lagat, Abdi Abdirahman, and Dathan Ritzenhein as determined by LRC.
Top Ten Training Tips from Bernard Lagat, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Abdi Abdirahaman
1) Staying Healthy is Your #1 Objective – Ritz, Lagat, and Abdi
Abdi, Bernard, and Dathan have all had tremendous success and gone about it very differently. One thing is common for all of them, the importance of staying healthy. They have had varying degrees of success at staying healthy and how they go about it. Lagat is notorious for not running a lot of miles. What has it done for him? Made him have an unbelievably long career. Abdi Abdirahman has run a ton of 120 mile weeks, but said he is constantly on the “red-line” of staying healthy and getting injured. And Dathan Ritzenhein has been injury plagued throughout his career. He now realizes it would be better to do too little than too much. He said, “For me, just getting to the line healthy is important.” Running is really about how much you can train while staying healthy.
2) A Good Base is Essential: ”You benefit from getting in enough volume at the beginning of your training” – Bernard Lagat
Much has been made of Bernard Lagat making his half-marathon debut despite never even having run a 10k on the roads or the track. Lagat wants to run under 61 minutes on Sunday. Throughout his career, Bernard has been known for running lower mileage, but that does not mean he doesn’t appreciate the importance of a base. He said, “You benefit from getting in enough volume at the beginning of your training.” Lagat’s ultimate goal for 2013 is not Sunday’s half-marathon, but the World Championship 5,000m final in Moscow in August (see point #3), and the half-marathon is part of him trying to get a bigger base this year.
3) Don’t Forget the Big Goal – Bernard Lagat
Lagat’s goal for the season is to win the World Championship at 5,000m over Mo Farah and Galen Rupp. So no matter how he does on Sunday, he’s not going to forget the bigger picture, that his training is going well for his longer term goal. He said, “Whether I do well or not here, I feel like I’ve done good training and that is the training I have needed.”
4) Check Your Pride at the Door: “The workouts aren’t the competition.” – Abdi Abdirahman and ”Know when you’re getting your butt kicked it’s ok.”-Ritz
Dathan Ritzenhein trains with two of the greatest long-distance track runners in the world, Galen Rupp and Mo Farah. What do they do? Drill him on the track a lot. Dathan said he knows he has to check his pride at the door when they do a track workout. He said part of his mindset is: “Know when you’re getting your butt kicked it’s ok.”
Similarly, Abdi Abdirahman works out with Bernard Lagat and former NCAA champ Stephen Sambu. Abdi was asked who beats who in practice and Abdi said that was not what it was about. He said, “the workouts aren’t the competition…You run your own workout. If you’re not feeling good and someone is feeling really good and you can’t stay with them, you don’t have to feel bad.” Conversely on his good days Abdi is not afraid to “go for it” and drop whoever he is working out with. Winning the workout is not the objective. Abdi said the objective is finding the “good pace, (the) good rhythm.”
Abdi noted sometimes he’ll workout with Bernard Lagat and Lagat will do 5x mile while Abdi does 7x mile. The point being Lagat is fine doing less than Abdi. Are you fine doing less than your workout partner?
Read the next five training tips.