The saying is "Winter miles, Summer smiles".
At this time of year hopefully the majority of us have returned to training after a well-deserved break following a summer track or road racing season, or perhaps you have just completed or soon to complete an Autumn marathon. Whatever the scenario, you'd expect charged batteries, and with fire in the belly, you are ready to Elevate in the coming season.
The running season(s) now blur into a constant continuum of races year round over varying distance and all terrains imaginable. We cannot compete at our peak 52 weeks of the year, so it becomes a challenge to many an athlete and their coach to efficiently structure training cycles to hit target/goal races in a way that fits with continuous growth and development of the athlete.
Framework for success
As Craig articulated in a previous blog, and I'm sure it won't be the last time it is mentioned, training plans are specific to your needs, goals, and demands. But we work within frameworks to develop the physiological and mental characteristics which make us better runners and athletes. As we embrace the new challenges we have set for the upcoming season, fundamental to success is the development of a strong foundation and the building of a base.
This idea, or training protocol, has been prescribed by many coaches over many decades. However, its poor implementation by athletes and coaches alike that still baffles me. Running, or indeed training, in general, is a process of patience and consistency. It is about knowing the details and reasons behind what you are doing and concentrating on the task at hand. So if building a base is the goal, then this is where our focus of patience and consistency should be.
...and the third little pig, he had a strong aerobic platform
The majority of races at this time of year are predominantly 10km and upwards. For these events, you are moving into 90% plus aerobic metabolism. As the primary source of energy is from your aerobic system, it makes sense to develop the aerobic system to better utilise oxygen. By running miles and building a base of endurance you develop the oxygen-carrying capacity to its maximum. Aerobic conditioning is the basis of everything you do. How fast you intend to go or what pace you plan to run is determined by how well the aerobic system is developed.
That's not to say it is all easy running; it encompasses paces up to threshold (or beyond
if including leg turnover work) through the inclusion of workouts such as intervals or tempo runs in your plan. The art is striking a balance between stressing the body and allowing the body to recover. We aim to stress and fatigue the body with a training stimulus and allow adequate time for the body to recover and adapt to go again.
Poor training occurs when we train too hard and do not allow enough time or opportunity for the body to recover, or were we do too little and therefore do not stress the body sufficiently to adapt physiologically and therefore subsequently fail to make the necessary improvements and gains.
How can you plan the changes you want to implement to your running this winter?
Make an honest assessment of the areas you need to improve.
Break the elements down further and again find the areas you need to prioritise: continually training what you are good won't drive you on to #GoUpALevel
Make improving your technique a real priority, poor gait or form is throwing away energy unnecessarily.
Make targets to tick off as winter moves along.
Be patient! Changes don't always happen immediately, everyone's gene pool is different but patience and consistency are key to the process.
Elevation Coaching will help you to optimise your training between workouts and recovery to maximise your winter training phase.
If you are interested in a running plan with Paddy Hamilton at Elevation Coaching contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to start your path to meeting your goals.