The Dream Season - Page 5
Photo by Patitucciphoto.
For a downloadable PDF of a trail half-marathon training program that incorporates all the workouts covered here, please go to: trailrunnermag.com/halfmarathon.pdf
Carbohydrate-Depleting Long Runs
Only water and electrolytes are permitted until the run is complete. These workouts train the body to use fuel stores more sparingly and perform more efficiently on low blood sugar. These runs are very taxing and should be limited to training runs of three hours or less.
Fast-Finish Long Runs
These workouts are the most challenging component of your endurance-based training. The goal is to finish fast or with a high level of perceived effort. These runs make you a stronger runner, build your confidence and become race-day-habit forming. Begin the workout at steady long-run pace (conversational) and increase the effort and/or pace to near marathon race inten sity (roughly 80 to 85 percent of maxi mum heart rate) toward the end. The fast-finish portion can range from 2 to 3 miles for early sea-son sessions to 8 to 10 miles later in the season or for more experienced runners. Keep in mind that if you are training on hilly or technical trail, aim for marathon “effort” as marathon race pace will be too difficult to sustain.
Back-to-Back Long Runs
Piggybacking long runs two days in a row has proven effective for races beyond the marathon, because they mimic ultra race-day fatigue but allow for a night’s recovery between sessions. Begin with relatively short back-to-backs during the pre-season months and build on those as race day approaches.
Cross training gives the musculoskeletal system a break from the pounding from running, but still benefits the cardiorespiratory system. Other forms of exercise can replicate the four training zones by matching the corresponding zone’s perceived effort or heart rate. To get the best bang for your buck if you are in the midst of a race-specific training cycle and want to substitute a cross training session for a running workout, do an activity that is closest to the running motion as possible.
The best examples of this are using the elliptical machine, cycling, cross-country skiing, hiking and aqua jogging. Swimming, rowing, yoga and Pilates work best as off-season or recovery activities. If you prefer tough ancillary activities like Boot Camp, P90X or Cross Fit, make certain that these classes don’t leave you too exhausted or sore for your running workouts.