Posts tagged Training Blog
You Have to Learn How to Run Slow, to Run Fast & Recover

I thought I would hit one more time on the importance of running slower to run faster and its role in recovery.

Frank Shorter won the marathon gold in the 1972 Olympics. While one of the early pioneers of marathoning Frank recognized the importance long runs play in recovery. In his auto-biography “Olympic Gold-A Runner’s Life and Times” I found a clear snapshot into his training regimen.

Keep in mind this is a world class runner and trained 7 days a week. But Frank clearly was a believer in recovering well from hard workouts before attempting the next one. “Monday is a recovery day. For me that’s 7 miles in the am at 7:00 pace and 10 miles in the pm at 6:30 pace. This is a form of rest, and it must follow any intense workout. To get the full value of intensified training you have to balance it with recovery. For some runners that is a hour’s jog or a day off, for me it’s a comfortable 17 miles”.

Frank generally used Monday, Wednesday and Friday as his recovery day.

Parting thought; Frank was a 2:10 marathon runner. That’s running 26.2 miles in 4:58 a mile. Notice his recovery runs noted above, a lot of miles at 6:30-7:00 pace. Substantially slower than his racing paces. And he was a Olympic gold medalist.

Also, one final note, Frank followed the Lydiard Training method with a few modifications for his level of competition and years of base building.

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
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You Have to Learn How to Run Slow, to Run Fast

One of the bad habits many runners get into is running most of their workouts too fast. I encounter a lot of folks who talk about their running and on one hand convey how tired they are all the time and can’t seem to run faster in races than they do in training.

I ask how they are structuring their training and usually find they run most of their runs at the same pace, which turns out to be faster than their actual pace they run races in. Basically, they are in a perpetual state of tearing their body down and never allow for proper recovery.

In some ways training is very simple, if you apply a stress to your body, you also have to allow your body to recover. This is where the fitness gain comes or adaptation, during a recovery activity. If you don’t recover you head into an ever downward spiral which ends up in sickness and/or injury.

A key component of the Lydiard Training Method is the use of long aerobic runs as much slower paces than your race pace to allow for proper recovery. It is during these runs you actually gain fitness benefit, build mitochondria, improve your ability to process oxygen and gain endurance.

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As an example, that running slower to run faster does work, check out this long aerobic run I did during the aerobic base building phase in June leading into one of my marathons in October. It was 18 miles one at 7:00 pace. And depending upon how I felt, sometimes I would slow down to 7:30 pace. My race pace for the marathon later that fall was 5:22 pace.

If you have a well-balanced training plan there will be other specific workouts to stress your system at faster paces. In this same week, 2 days prior I did a hard tempo run, similar to an out and back hitting around 5:25 pace. Keep your long aerobic runs nice and slow and you will reap the benefit!

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Hydration in the STL Heat

As I watch heartrates rise a bit to maintain certain ranges for workouts, I can tell summer is definitely here in St. Louis. So, thought I would provide a bit of info on hydration.

Obviously in the heat you sweat more which can lead to dehydration if not managed well. When that occurs then your heartrate rises and you have to work harder to maintain what you perceive as an easier pace under cooler conditions. This is one of the indicators. Others are darker urine, lightheadedness or dry mouth.

Here’s some guidelines to think about as you create your hydration strategy on those aerobic run days. Everyone’s needs are different however and very unique to the individual.

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1. Drink water during the day and do the pee check. If it’s pale yellow you are in good shape. If darker, drink more water. Check the picture here for the comparison in a language runners understand. Beer.

2. Drink water during your workout. Seems like common sense, but 24-32 oz of water during your workout can work wonders.

3. If you are going over an hour in duration, which many Lydiard training runners are doing a few times a now in base building, then consider 24-32 oz of water with electrolyte replacements in it.

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4. After you run, make sure you are also hydrating. It can be water of course but also feel free to add in electrolytes too. It can’t hurt. Post workout I used to drink as much as I wanted until I wasn’t thirsty anymore. Again, kind of common sense.

Take a look at the picture here to check out the content of GU Tabs, Nuun Tabs and UCAN mix. Notice that they each have at least 300mg of Sodium and are all very low in calories. Sweat is very high in sodium content so you have to replace it and during long runs you should not be taking in replacement carbs or sugars, as you need to train your body to burn its fat. That’s its best source of energy during running.

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day-to-day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Your Aerobic Engine

From a science perspective marathon running is a 99% aerobic activity. (Source: “Training Distance Runners” by Dave Martin & Peter Coe). The half marathon is 98% and the 10k 97%.

Therefore, building your aerobic engine is critical to your healthy, successful completion of these events. Without this capacity, regardless of your pace, success is not possible. In the Lydiard Training Method this work is accomplished during phase 1, Aerobic Base Building.

At the heart of your aerobic engine are the Mitochondria which are found in your muscle cells.

Mitochrondria are critical as this is where ATP-Adenosine Tri Phosphate is created in the presence of oxygen. ATP simply put, is the energy which drives the contraction of muscles and enables you to move. It makes sense then that the more Mitochrondria you have, the better your ability to efficiently handle aerobic activities, ie marathoning. And what is the prime driver in increasing Mitochrondria? Long, slow, aerobic running. Take a look at this photo showing the before and after endurance aerobic training taken from a study by Dr. Dave Costill. All those red circles indicate mitochrondria, and as you can see there are many many more after slow aerobic running over time. The more you have, the more you can efficiently deliver oxygen to your Mitochondria and make ATP. Additional benefits of Aerobic Base Building are the recovery benefits it provides from your harder workouts where muscle cells are damaged and strengthening of your muscular-skeletal systems.

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Lydiard believed that you have to learn how to run slow, before you can run fast. At the heart of this concept is Aerobic Base Building where you create the platform necessary for endurance running and preparing you for the subsequent phases of the Lydiard Training Method.

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Warm Up and Cool Down

Two very important aspects of any good training plan are time and attention placed on proper warmup and cooldown. Coach Lydiard always ensured any runners he was working with started and ended their sessions with warmup and cooldown.

A solid warmup should be considered the first part of your run. It warms up your muscles and gets your ready for your main run. Usually this takes about 10-15 minutes and you should jog then gradually increase your pace naturally as your body gets ready. There also is a more formal warmup done prior to an interval session for example that involves 10-15 minutes of jogging, 3-6 100m stride outs then a few minutes jog.

The warmup should never be eliminated, rushed or cut short as it gently allows all your systems to kick in prior to moving into the workout and reduces the chance of injury.

A good cooldown should always be done after a faster workout. And if that workout is anaerobic in nature it should be at least 15 minutes and as long as 30 minutes jogging. It aids in recovery and stimulates blood flow to metabolize acidity and tissue damage incurred during the workout. Never skip the cooldown as this will increase the chances of illness and injury. One way to think of this is the cooldown begins the process of getting your body ready for your next workout.

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As you can see here in this picture from Pre’s log, even he always included a good warmup and cooldown in his workouts.

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Lydiard Phase 5: Taper

An optimum period of time to train for a full or half marathon is 18 – 24 weeks. Sunday June 9 would be the last start day for Chicago Marathon training (October 13) for an 18-week program.

The Lydiard Method is comprised of 5 phases, in sequence, each of which builds specific systems you will need to perform at your peak during your goal race.

The fifth phase is called Taper and typically is 1-3 weeks in length. The prior 4 phases have allowed you to develop aerobic and anaerobic capacities, your recovery systems, muscular and cardiac strength and provided either increased endurance or speed as needed. The work has been done so the Taper phase allows you to fully recover, replenish your vital physical and mental stores and be 100% ready on race day.

Your workload is decreased and is just enough to allow you to maintain your fitness level. Aerobic runs are now Long Jog’s and Jog’s which are slower and shorter. There is one short, quick, up tempo run 3 days prior to your goal race. If you are on a 6-7-day plan there will be one session of 50/50’s.

You will completely stock up your glycogen stores and you will put on a couple pounds during the week preceding the race. You will lighten up as you get a few miles into your race so don’t worry.

Do not be tempted to try out your fitness in an unscheduled race. This is called “picking the flower by the roots”. You will be feeling great, energized and ready but save it for the goal race! Remember all the training you have done to prepare you for your day and the target race. That’s all that matters now.

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Running vs. Training
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I’ll take a pause this week from reviewing the phases of Lydiard training to focus on the difference between running and training and the importance of aerobic recovery runs. Next week I’ll talk about Phase 4 of Lydiard Training; Integration.

We use the word “training” when discussing the Lydiard Method because that’s what it is. A systematic program with 5 phases and specific purposeful workouts within each phase designed to get the runner to the starting line of their goal race healthy, fit and ready to perform their best. The secret sauce to Lydiard training is how and when workouts are scheduled. Running is just that, running with no end game in mind or plan to stress and recover so your body can achieve an increase in fitness.

Coach Lydiard used to say frequently to his runners, “You have to run slower, to enable you to run faster”. In talking with many runners recently this concept is hard for folks to wrap their heads around. When we present the concept of slow aerobic runs which build the aerobic engine at the Mitochondria level and serve to allow the body to recover from harder faster runs, we often hear “I can’t run that slow”. But then we discover that runners run a lot of their workouts at their “race pace” yet in their race they can’t hold that pace for the duration of the distance. This is the difference between “running” and “training”. Both are equally important depending upon the goals and desires of the individual involved.

Here is a recent example of a runner I am working with. This individual is at a fitness level whereby they can run a mile around 4:25, yet they do their long aerobic recovery run at 7:50 per mile with a very low heart rate. Depending on how they feel I’ve also seen 8:00-8:15. This runner is mastering the art of running slower to enable them to run faster, at the right times either in specific workouts or races and recover properly allowing them to handle the next hard run properly.

As you make your decisions about your fall goal races and what you desire to achieve consider whether you are running or are you actually training. The latter is very different from the former.

The time is now, not July, to start your training for fall goal races. Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up.  While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Lydiard Method Phase 1: Aerobic Base Building

Given its time already to decide on your Fall goal race and training approach, the next few TTT’s will be focused on summarizing the key elements of each phase within the Lydiard Method. An optimum period of time to train for a full or half marathon is 18 – 24 weeks. May will be the time to begin your work.   

The Lydiard Method is comprised of 5 phases, in sequence, each of which builds specific systems you will need to perform at your peak during your goal race.

The first phase is called Aerobic Base Building and typically is 8-10 weeks in length. This phase will build your aerobic engine. Why is this important? Because your aerobic capacity drives endurance and services and enhances the recovery process. Distance running, particularly at the half and full marathon lengths are over 98% aerobic in nature. Basically, if you don’t develop a strong aerobic engine you will not be able to run these distances.

Several key physiological changes occur during this phase such as developing your cardiovascular system and your capillary beds which is where ATP is made which powers muscle movement. It increases the numbers and size of Mitochondria which is where ATP actually is created. And it develops your ability to efficiently burn fat, the best source of energy for endurance running.

The creation of ATP happens in the Mitochondria and happens in the presence of Oxygen (cardiovascular system), Fat (your ability to efficiently burn is critical) and Sugar. This is the little engine at the cellular/muscle fiber level which drives your ability to run efficiently.

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How is this all accomplished? During this base building phase, you will run several long aerobic runs per week at a comfortable pace during which you must be able to pass the “talk” test.  Depending on your starting fitness level you gradually build this capability over long runs that last 1 hour up to 2 hours and 30 minutes.  While there are several other workouts included during the week, the key focus are these longer aerobic runs. This phase can last 8-10 depending on your overall plan and time until your goal race.

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Next Goal(s) and Training Plan

 While you are in the midst of recovering from your full or half marathon its time to reflect. Were you satisfied with your performance? Did you achieve your goals? If not, why not? And most importantly where do you go from here? Another full or half? Train for shorter races but more of them?

Now is the time to assess what you have been doing and are you happy with the results. Achievement of personal goals in all aspects of life doesn’t happen without a well thought out and executed plan.

As you assess various training approaches it is important to realize that most important aspect of a good training plan is building an aerobic base. Without this base anaerobic training collapses and future results are very unpredictable.

Lydiard believed that any good training plan has to be sequenced properly and well balanced in order to ensure that your different energy systems required to run well on your target day need to be fully trained, rested and ready. (graphic credit: Healthy Intelligent Training by Keith Livingstone).

Another question you have to answer the question do I want regular short-term results or long-term peak performance on your target race day? You can’t do both. If you enjoy jumping in a lot of races then a Lydiard plan is not for you. If you wish to run your best in your target race and are prepared to effectively train towards that day and goal then Lydiard is for you.

Please join our Lydiard Method informational session on Thursday April 25 to learn about our next training cycle for fall races. It’s from 7:30 – 9:30 pm and we’ll explain how the Lydiard Method works and why.  We’ll also be joined by a few folks who recently completed their Lydiard cycle for GO! and they will share their experiences.  Click here to register: Lydiard Method Informational Session Facebook Event

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Tapering

Our Lydiard Method training runners are now headed into the Taper phase after this week. Its two weeks long and culminates in target races April 7. The hard work is all done by this time and these two weeks are all about allowing your body to fully replenish and provide the opportunity to arrive at the starting line healthy and fit to do your best.
I’m sure I’ll see runners trying to get their “20 milers” in two weeks out from race day or even 3 weeks out. Not Lydiard trained runners. What others don’t realize is at this stage the cake is “baked” and they don’t have enough time to even recover properly from these long runs, if they can’t finish them under 2:45. For Lydiard runners this work was done weeks ago at the appropriate time and duration. But that’s a TTT post for another time.

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First an update from this past Saturday, March 16. Running Niche had 7 Lydiard method athletes compete in the St. Pats Day 5 Miler here in St. Louis. This event was used to simulate race conditions and preparation while performing a Progress Calibration Run to gauge where they are in their fitness development. All 7 ran negative splits and finished strong, the core goal of a PCR. All but one PR’d. Here’s the results: Omar Abdi 3rd overall in PR of 25:28. Carolyn Baird 4th overall in PR 31:35. Nick Pelligrini PR’d in 35:36, Maria Fassett PR’d in 45:41, Angela Mazul PR’d in 46:52 and Sergio Masul PR’d in 46:38. David Mokone finished 19th overall in 28:44 after a break in training. My congrats to all for handling this “race” in a disciplined manner. They are starting to realize their strong fitness level, benefits of their training and what they are capable of in their target race in 3 weeks. We’ll be working with them to plan their race strategies soon and will post about the key pieces of that. Pictured here are Angela and Sergio.


Back to the Lydiard phase 5, Taper. Over the last 2 weeks the workload is gradually decreased. There are no workouts which break the body down. Anything done fast is done short. Aerobic runs, although shorter, are a key component as they are in all Lydiard phases. Do be mindful of your diet during this phase as with decreased workload if you tend to overeat you will gain weight. However, in the three days prior to your target race, particularly for the marathon, eat plenty. You have to ensure your glycogen stores are maxed out. While you may feel sluggish in the first few miles of the race, you will lighten up later in the race and feel smoother. You will feel good, rested and want to do more during tapering. Resist this temptation. Doing less now is the key component of this phase! You should feel fully recharged and ready. With GO! races 3 weeks out now, Lydiard runners are allowed to run two more race situation time trials as final prep as they sharpen for their target race.
Next week I’ll post about race strategy approaches. If you would like to learn more about the Lydiard Method, stop by the store as we enjoy talking about training, particularly yours!

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
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