Posts tagged Training Tips
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

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)
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When is the Right Time to Use Gels as Fuel?

The body uses two sources for energy: carbohydrates and fats. While ingesting “gels” packed with carbs during aerobic training runs is popular, physiologically it doesn’t train your body to efficiently use its fat storage as the main energy source. Long distance running is aerobically based and aerobic exercise works best by utilizing the body’s fat reserves.

As you can see by slide number one, Fat is very effective as the core fuel for aerobic exercise. Keep in mind the half and full marathons are 98% aerobic.

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The second slide shows how as one runs longer, the utilization of fat as the fuel becomes more and more important. The longer you go the more important fat utilization becomes as burning carbs is just a short-term energy pop.

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So, the question becomes what is the best way to train your body to maximize utilization of its fat storage during long aerobic runs? Its simple; don’t use gels or other form of carbs during your long training runs. If your body is burning these quick hit replacement carbs you are not training your body to efficiently metabolize your own fat storage.

The final slide shows the glycogen levels in muscles while using and not using replacement drinks. When not used during aerobic training runs the glycogen levels at the cellular level are actually much higher than when replacements are used during training. You are training your body to become very efficient at burning fat as fuel for long aerobic runs. This is a science fact folks. If you are burning carbs you aren’t burning fat, its as simple as that. And fat is your primary fuel for the half and full marathon distances.

Which brings me to the question of when should you fuel? With the GO! St. Louis races only 5 weeks away, and many Lydiard Method runners moving into Phase 4; Integration, now is the time to experiment with carb gels. If you have trained properly all your long aerobic runs up to now would have been accomplished without these replacements and you have built a well-oiled fat burning machine. As you jump into a couple of races leading up to GO! try several different kinds of gels to find the one that works best for you in terms of absorption and which does not upset your stomach. Given the quick acting nature of carbs, you will feel a “boost” which will come in quite handy particularly in the last 8 miles of a full marathon. In this way you are racing on a fat burning engine you have trained well over these past few months then primed at the right times later in the race with carb packed gels.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
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The Role of Intervals in Marathon Training Continued

This week’s training tip is quite simple. A couple thoughtful quotes from Master Coach Arthur Lydiard.

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As many runners on the Lydiard Method are now in the Anaerobic phase its important to keep this in perspective. Guts do play a role in these interval sessions. They are “uncomfortable”, by intent. You need to push yourself, get your body accustomed to being distressed a bit, not too much, but a bit. When you are doing the longer interval segments, which many of you are doing now, 1.25 – 2.0 miles, you need to persist, keep your pace consistent and be sure you are recovering between each. A good rule of thumb is when your heart rate drops back to 120-130 bpm. You will need to push to the level of “uncomfortable” but no further. The point isn’t to puke.

Arthur also had another thoughtful quote:

“I have a saying, ‘train, don’t strain’. The Americans have a saying ‘no pain, no gain’ and that’s why they don’t have any distance running champions. They get down to the track with a stopwatch and flog their guts out thinking that will make them a champion, but they will never make a champion that way”.

Remember that you are training, and in a specific training phase of the Lydiard Method preparing you for your target race in April or May. Every workout you do is built upon the prior and each phase builds on its one before. Keep the faith, your training will serve you well on race day.

Remember, all workouts on the Lydiard Method have a specific purpose and are sequenced accordingly to maximize the “training effect”. If you would like to learn more about the science and performance-based Lydiard Method, stop by the store. We are always happy to talk about your running!

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

The Role of Intervals in Marathon Training Continued

Thought I would provide a real time example of a solid interval workout from February 11. This runner, based upon his fitness level when he started his 2nd Lydiard cycle in early December, is capable of a sub 3-hour marathon come April 7. He has executed the Aerobic Base Building and Hill Strength phases quite well and is now ready for the Anaerobic phase of his program. Yesterday was his first interval session as a part of this phase.

For most marathoners/half marathoners doing intervals at above anaerobic threshold with enough recovery to repeat allowing the body to get used to high levels of acidosis is recommended. They should be prolonged harder work, not shorter durations. This means at least 1000 meters and should be more like 1200m, 1600m and longer.

In this example from yesterday the workout started with a 1.5-mile warmup then 1000m, 1200m, 1600m, 1600m and 1600m segments, followed by a 1.5-mile cooldown. At 1/4 effort his target pace was 6:30 per mile with a recovery in between that allowed his heartrate to lower to 120-130. Then he started his next interval. As you can see by the below two graphics below his pace range was 6:32 to 6:19, very consistent. The report back was that the fast-paced segments were handled well and he could have gone faster. These intervals are getting him used to running harder, faster paces in a sustained effort and training himself both physically and mentally to get used to this level of being uncomfortable.

As we plan for his second interval workout the pace will quicken as well as the duration of each segment. Each of these workouts will build on the one prior.  The Anaerobic phase of the Lydiard Method usually lasts 4 weeks.

If you want to achieve your long race goals in the half or full marathon you need to work on your endurance, after all these long distances are 98%+ aerobic!

Remember, all workouts on the Lydiard Method have a specific purpose and are sequenced accordingly to maximize the “training effect”. If you would like to learn more about the science and performance-based Lydiard Method, stop by the store. We are always happy to talk about your running!

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