Measuring Your Starting Point (V02 Max Estimates).
In order to develop the four core training zones effectively, we need to know your “starting point” which Is your estimated V02Max. This is your current fitness level as it relates to your running performance. Using proven tables/charts developed by world-leading exercise physiologists such as Jack Daniels, PHD, Coach Sonja can help you target your personal starting point using finish times from a recent race(s). If you have not participated in a race in the last few months, Sonja will prescribe a time trial or test effort that will enable her to assign you an estimated V02 Max so that focused training may begin. Please contact Sonja for a consult to determine your personal V02 Max Estimate (starting point).
The Four Zones:
- Endurance Training — Endurance training includes your long runs, easy runs, etc. It has been proven that optimal Endurancetraining occurs when your heart rate is between 60-75% of max. This translates into a wide range forpacing so on your endurance/distance days, a good rule of thumb is to listen to your body and run at apace that “feels” good. There are two purposes to endurance training:1) To increase “Stroke Volume” – the amount of blood that is pumped with each heart beat and 2) Toteach your body to better utilizes fat as fuel (vs. carbohydrates). Here are some basic guidelines to followfor endurance training and long runs:*Stay with the same mileage or time duration of distance runs 2 weeks at a time, then increase miles or minutes using the 10% rule (increase individual runs and weekly mileage 10% more than the prior week.For example, if your long run was 10 miles last week, this week it would be 11 miles (10% more). If yourtotal mileage was 40 last week than your mileage this week would be approximately 44).
*Think Duration, not Distance. (This is better for you physically as well as mentally.)
*Long Runs should be 25-30% of total weekly mileage.
- Stamina Training (Lactate Threshold Training)
This zone is optimized when you are working at a level where your heart rate is approximately 85% ofmax. You are working to maintain the effort, but under control…”comfortably hard” or a 7 score on aperceived exertion scale of 1-10 are also good indicators of the pace. For most runners this pace translatesinto 20-30 seconds slower per mile than CURRENT 5k r ace pace.When this zone is developed the body adapts and is able to run longer, faster before crossing thethreshold and producing large amounts of lactic acid that result in fatigue. A runner’s lactate threshold isTHE most important component of success in distance running and 5k- marathon racing performance.Basic guidelines are below for proper stamina training: *20:00 at Threshold pace is the average ideal. Experienced runners/racers should build their threshold runs to 35:00 and beyond at pace.
*Do not push yourself past the proper intensity. Once you are out of “the zone” you are not forcing yourlactate threshold to adapt.
*Cruise Intervals (1000m – 3000m repeats) are excellent alternatives to the straight steady state run andoffer a mental break as well. Use 1:00 rest between the shorter intervals at threshold pace and up to 2:00rest between the longer intervals at pace.
Interval Training (V02 Max)Training for Speed via raising your V02 Max is vital to a runner’s performance but also one of the most challenging zones to develop. The effort level of V02 Max Training is 3k-5k race pace. Heart ratewill be 90% of max and above. You will produce significant levels of lactic acid at this pace….theeffort is hard. The purpose of speed training is to increase the capacity of our body’s key energysystems. Of most importance, your body adapts to a greater ability to use oxygen from the blood toaid the muscles in their effort. Here are some important components of proper speed training: *5:00 is the longest recommended duration per interval unless you run your mile repeats in 5:00 orless. (3-5:00 is the optimal interval duration for V02 Max training.)*Recovery for long intervals should be approximately 2/3 of the duration of the interval and shouldbe active. Shorter interval durations require less recovery time. (Half of the duration of the workinterval is a good guideline).*The pace of the intervals is dependent on your current fitness level, but generally interval pace is between 3k-5k race pace.Speed Training workouts should equal 5000 – 7000 meters of total intervals depending on fitnesslevel and experience.
Turnover (Sprint) TrainingDistance runners can greatly benefit from sprint training due to the positive effects it has onimproving running economy and developing neuromuscular speed and efficiency. Sprint traininginvolves short, fast repetitions at a range of 200m – 800m race pace. The body is working atmaximum capacity so complete rest is necessary in order to produce a quality effort on the nextrepeat. Such training produces a smoother , more powerful stride, an increase in lactic acid toleranceand ultimately results in less injuries, improved running economy (which makes the endurance andstamina workouts easier), and better finishing “kicks” in races. The ability to “change gears”, get upon your toes, and sprint in the last 400m of a long race can be a very valuable tool to a distance runner. Here are some guidelines to follow:
*Your sprint work pace depends on your event focus. For people whose primary event is under 5k,(For example the Mile) their sprint pace is typically 200m-400m race pace. For people whose primary event is 5k or longer, sprint pace is closer to 400m-800m race pace.*Full recovery (think double the time of the work you just did) is required when doing Speed Training. The focus is on the quality of each repeat.*Hill Training is a great form of Sprint training that also helps develop efficient running form. I recommend incorporating Hill training into the beginning phase of your program and to use the treadmill as a safe alternative to bridges, etc.*Fartlek can be used to give you a break from the track and pace per lap when doing Sprint training.
**Milers have another zone of training to focus on which I will call race pace training. An example would be 8 x 400m with up to 1:00 of recovery starting at current Mile race pace and working down to goal Mile race pace. If you are a Miler or 1500m specialist please visit the “Miler’s Club” page on this site for training tips and support specific to you.