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The Connecticut racing season is already heating up with in person road races, and if you check out the May race calendar on hitekracing.com it is absolutely stuffed full of races starting around Memorial Day in time for summer running.
This is so exciting! We will get to race in person again if you haven’t already!
There are two key things we need to consider as runners as we return to racing this summer. The first is that we have built up adequate aerobic base, and the second is that we have enough mileage and leg durability to support racing. Aerobic base refers to having enough running and/or cross training under our belts to be able to race our desired distance at the effort we plan. Second, leg durability, is having built up enough strength to handle the ground contact forces that come with running, that build with running speed, and that take a toll with more distance.
Winter in New England is typically gray, cold, windy and wet. Some runners have been hardy and run through rain, sleet and snow. Other runners may have slipped inside to treadmill to run out a solid 3 miles 3 x a week. Regardless of where you’re at, it’s time to consider the following tips to increase your aerobic capacity and leg durability.
Some runners have managed to keep up a full run training load through the entire winter, including the old standbys of a recovery run, a tempo run, an interval run and a long run, with a possible two more days of easy runs or cross training. However, based on what I’m hearing, more runners than not have been lucky to get in a two and possibly three runs done at a “formerly” easy pace and aren’t feeling at the top of their game. If you’ve been managing 3 runs of 3 miles each a week, then you’re actually doing pretty well! However, we can do better and it’s time to get focused. If you have an upcoming half marathon, marathon or ultra, then you have three primary ways to increase both your aerobic base and your leg durability safely as you build towards race season.
There are three primary ways to increase your aerobic base and leg durability with the least chance of injury, mental burnout, or soreness.
1. Maintain your running days per week but add time to each run.
You’re running three times a week for 30’ or 3 miles, for a total of 90’ or 9 miles per week. This runner could either add 5’ to each run, or ½ mile to each run. The new total would be 105’ per week, or 10.5 miles. This runner could complete the same the following week and so on continuing to build up until a sufficient base has been established. NOTE – The additional time or mileage should be kept at an easy, conversational pace.**
2. Increase your running by one day per week and keep your usual duration.
You’re running three times a week for 30’ or 3 miles, for a total of 90’ or 9 miles per week. This runner could add a fourth run per week for a total of 120’ or 12 miles of volume.
3. Add two or more Active Recovery runs or walks per week.
You’re running three times a week for 30’ or 3 miles, for a total of 90’ or 9 miles per week. This runner could add a 15’ Active Recovery run (up to 55% effort) on other days of the week for a total of an additional hour per week, or could add a 20’ Active Recovery run and a 20’ Active Recovery walk on other days of the week. Adding a 20’ Active Recovery run would increase running totals to 110’ per week, and somewhere between 10.5-11 miles total. Active recovery is at an easier pace than aerobic endurance running. Walking is another great way to increase time on feet (T.O.F.) and to slowly build up lower leg durability as your volume increases. Throughout the season, start adding in some run-ervals to your walks! This will make you a faster runner overall!
**How do you know if you’re running at an easy conversational pace? 1) Breathe through your nose while running; 2) Running a conversation pace is kind of obvious ; or 3) using a heart rate strap and watch, you can run at or below your aerobic threshold.
Don’t know your aerobic threshold? Contact Coach Clare here to get help determining yours!
These are simple and safe examples of how to increase volume/duration. After the first week, you can increase again for the next four weeks until achieving yoru desired aerobic base. Then it’s time to turn up the intensity!
One important note is to remain patient and not be greedy. Some athletes start to push intensity and volume at the same time, and these are the riders that quickly report knee, foot, ankle or other pain that sidelines them.
Be smart, get in your T.O.F. and Let’s Do This! #CZCSpringTraining
If you’d like to discuss your training leading into the CZC Spring Training Challenge, then please contact Coach Clare here.