A couple of weeks back we talked in a blog about improving your running mechanics to be a better, faster runner within the bounds of your genetic abilities so today for the second piece we're going to be talking about training your physiology.
You have to build yourself up to more speed and being able to withstand more pain, more muscle burning suffering and it's definitely a case of the more you do the better you can handle the unpleasant parts of going fast.
So let's look at the work you are going to have to put in to get you where you want to be.
Usually when you are a beginner runner you take it gentle and build a foundation, at least that's what you should be doing.
You are probably running at one speed for longer and longer periods of time as you build up and you have probably heard about the talk test and how you should be able to hold a conversation with a friend while running and that that is the zone you should spend most of your time training in ie the aerobic zone, where your muscles aren't in an oxygen deficit and this is a great place to start but now if you want to get faster and stronger and increase your aerobic capacity and your ability to intensify your workouts then you need to start pushing harder, quite a lot harder but for short periods of time.
There are a number of high intensity workouts you can add to your running mix from hill sprints to tempo runs to fartlek sessions to intervals on the track but today I am going to give you a sample interval workout and yes you might be lying on the ground at the end puffing like mad and ready to nearly throw up your lunch.
You can do this on the track or what I often do is to do it on the treadmill so I can concentrate fully on form and control all the variables so I can measure my performance week to week.
This won't be a long workout but it will be a toughie so make sure you warm up really well before launching into the body of it.
This is an interval workout where you are going to be doing 8 to 10 sets of intervals.
You want to be running for around 400 metres per interval or you can measure it in time intervals too which would be around 90 seconds to two and a half minutes depending on your speed.
In between the intervals you recover for around half the time it took you to do the interval. So if you ran 90 seconds hard out you recover for 45 seconds (slow jog or even a walk).
The goal is to help you sustain higher speeds for longer times.
Now there are three variants here you can choose. You can do the same speed for each interval or you can increase the speed a little per interval or you can alternate your typical 5km pace and your 10km pace, by that I mean you run one interval at your 5km pace and the next at your 10km pace. (To workout out your 5km and 10km pace times you need to do time trials so see what is the fasted time you can manage, failing that guestimate it). An example might be to run 15km per hour for one interval and 13km hour for the second interval.
What happens when you do these hard runs is that you are expanding your comfort zone, your ability to run on tired legs, pushing your aerobic capacity so you improve it, it;s going to improve your physiology so you can handle higher speeds for longer periods.
You should do this at least once a week, maybe twice and do that for at least 6 weeks. If you do that and work on your mechanics, your form and technique and improve your strength and mobility you will become the super runner you always wanted to be. Strong, fast and awesome.
I did want to point out at this point that you should always only compare yourself to yourself. Improve over time and not to get frustrated. We all have genetic limitations that will dictate how much we can improve our vo2max etc and the goal with everything we do should be to be the best that WE can be.