Friday, July 2, 2010

Weekend - Running Hill Repeat Workout!

For those of you not racing this weekend and want a different hill repeat routine try this workout to test your engine. This workout builds leg and lung power and several weeks of consistently doing the workout will improve your hill running and result in power increases in the legs.

Find a hill that is a steady climb that will take between 6-9 minutes in duration while keeping your heart rate in the 85-95% percent range of lactate threshold. So you will not be "red-lining" the heart rate but training right in the "sweet spot". The hill should not be so steep that you can't maintain the heart rate in this range. It can be done on trails or roads (I prefer roads).

After a 10-15 minute warm up including five 20 second "pickups" start the first set:

1. Climb the hill and keep you heels down (so you don't aggravate the Achilles) /while pumping arms - focus on solid breathing and staying in your heart rate zone.

2. Recover on the run down (should take you roughly the same time as going up)

3. When you reach the bottom, then start with 50-75 Hindu squats (error on the low side for the number of Squats). If you need a demonstration of a Hindu Squat (check out video on home page or do a Google search and you will see plenty of examples on how to do it correctly). The Hindu squats should be done quickly and exploding up, but stay under control with good form.

4. After the Hindu Squats immediately head back up the hill for the second set.

For those of you who want a challenge, attempt the following set:

8-10 Hill Repeats followed by 175-200 Hindu Squats after each recovery downhill run. Alternatively, do half of the hill climbs and Hindu Squats with nose breathing only - this is very tough but teaches you how to belly breath and staying relaxed!

After completing your set, warm down with 20-30 minutes of running in the 65-70% Heart rate zone.

I love this workout and do it every week (mid week) the benefits are immense! Please let me know your thoughts.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Race Specification Training - going Solo!

One common training practice is to add race specific training workouts to mirror the terrain or conditions of your upcoming race. The benefits are immense so there are no surprises on race day. How many times have you been in a race and even with all the various details on race websites with regards to elevation gains, heat, number of aid stations, etc. do you hear the comment "I was not aware that the race had so many hills!".

Race specific training can include many of the following: Heat training/acclimation, Hill training, downhill running on trails (Western States 100 Mile Run), roads vs. trails (running and cycling), training in the aerodynamic position for a triathlon vs. in an upright position (so your back does not spasm), learning how to walk fast in multi-day running races, training without headphones (biking and running) where it's not allowed in the race. There are many more, but one that is often overlooked is training solo.

Of course training with others is enjoyable but if your competing in a long race, mental strength becomes extremely important. The benefits of training alone for some of the long distance training will pay off come race day when you experience the "lows" as in many cases you will be alone without another athlete anywhere in close proximity. Social training is great, but in many cases athletes become "too" comfortable in having the security of another friend when training. When it's race day and they are facing a "bonk", mechanical problem with the bike, blisters, etc. you know what happens - yes they "crack" mentally and they end up on the DNF (Did Not Focus/Finish) list. I have seen this happen so often as athletes get so comfortable talking through the early miles of a long race with friends to make the "miles go by quickly" and then late into the race they have no mental strength to get to the finish when they are on their own. As you all know, the "real" race for most athletes begins late into the race. For example, during a 100 mile running event, the "real race" begins at mile 80-85 and in many cases it's all about your ability to push it hard to pass fellow competitors and finish strong while running alone.

I don't want to discount the fun of training with others, but if you prepare for your races with various race specific training techniques make sure you learn how to train alone to build your mental strength to get through the "lows" on your own!

Enjoy your workouts today!