Cardiovascular Fitness - Part 1
The workouts outlined in this unit are designed to maximize your aerobic potential and develop lasting endurance. They're long. They're hard. But they will make you stronger than you ever have been.
Workouts will include long runs, tempos at your lactate threshold, marathon pace runs, and longer fartleks.
As you read through this section, you'll referrals to notice "tempo pace" a lot.
Tempo pace is your lactate threshold pace, or the maximum speed you can run for about an hour. It will be anywhere from your 10k race pace to your half-marathon pace and will be 85-90% of your maximum heart rate.
Up-Tempo Long Run
The up-tempo long run is a challenging long run at a faster pace than your typical distance run. After a 2-3 mile warm-up, start running 20-30 seconds per mile faster than your normal running pace.
This workout shouldn't be done every week but provides a stronger aerobic stimulus than running easy.
You should already be comfortable with your long run distance before running it faster.
Progression Long Run
The progression long run ends with 2-5 miles significantly faster than your standard distance running pace. You will be running at your tempo pace, or even a little faster, at the very end of the progression.
At the start of the progression, you increase your pace by 20-30 seconds per mile and gradually get faster. You can end as fast as you like, but if you end the run very fast then you should do 5-10 minutes of easy running as a warm-down.
To use as an example, an athlete might like to do 3 miles of progression running at the end of long runs. Their typical distance running pace is about 7:00 per mile, so their progression mile paces would usually be about 6:30, 6:00, 5:40.
Long Run with Speed Bursts
This type of long run is highly beneficial, but not that difficult to complete. During the last 1-2 miles of your run, run several surges at a much faster pace. They can be anywhere from 15 seconds to a full minute and be as fast as a full sprint or as slow as your 5k pace.
Jog for 30 seconds to 2 minutes in between each mini-interval. You can do as many or as few as you like – aim for between 4-6 reps, depending upon the length of the interval.
These short bursts help you develop a quick turnover when you're already tired. With a full jogging recovery, they shouldn't be too difficult, plus they'll give you something to look forward to at the end of your long run.
Long Run with Interval Miles
This long run can be used to prepare you for a grueling race. It's very difficult, but can help you run up to a minute faster than you thought you could.
About two-thirds into your long run, get on the track and run one or two miles at a very challenging pace. For a seasoned runners, use your 8k race pace. Experiment with your half-marathon - 10k pace and find what is manageable.
If you are doing two reps, take 800m as a jogging recovery. For example, if you are running18 miles for a long run, run 14 miles to a track, do 2 x mile with a half-mile recovery, then a 1.5 mile warm-down.
Since this workout is so challenging, don't do it two weeks in a row. It also helps sharpen you for racing fast, so avoid it during a base phase. Elite marathoner Khalid Khannouchi (former world record holder) relies on this workout to prepare him for the marathon.
Perfect for marathon preparation, this workout helps you dial in your goal marathon pace and is a good transition workout before a longer marathon tempo.
Based on your current fitness level, run 2-4 x 2 miles on the track at your goal marathon pace. Take a 400m recovery jog between each at whatever pace you want.
Try to run as even as possible so your brain and muscles remember what your marathon pace feels like.
Marathon Specific Tempo
This workout is longer than a standard tempo, but at a slower (marathon) pace. After a 2-3 mile warm-up, run 8-12 miles at your goal marathon pace on similar terrain to the race itself.
If your marathon is on a hilly course, run this workout on a hilly road. If it's a trail marathon, run it on the trails.
Take 1-2 miles to warm-down. You can use a Garmin to measure the distance and your pace or run by feel. You could also run this workout on the track if you don't mind all the laps. But you miss out on the terrain specificity.
Short Tempo Intervals
This is the perfect introductory tempo workout and will help you understand what your tempo pace should feel like.
To be as accurate as possible, you can do this on the track. Options include 8 x 800m or 5 x 1200m at tempo pace. This workout is flexible, so hit the roads or trails and run your tempo intervals based on feel.
Tempo pace should feel "comfortably hard" or a pace where you have difficulty holding a conversation. Your heart rate will be high, but it won't be beating out of your chest like during a race.
Like all tempo's, take about a minute of rest between each interval (there's no need for longer) and it's better to run a little slower than a little faster.
Negative Split Tempo
This workout develops a lot of aerobic capacity as you progressively get a little faster - from your marathon to 10k pace. For a sharpening effect and to work on your kick, run the last few minutes even faster.
This tempo is best run on the track or a loop where you can measure your splits. Over 4-7 miles, run progressively faster every half-mile. Start at your marathon pace and work down to your 10k or 8k race pace.
While most of the benefits of a tempo workout can be realized in the first 20-25 minutes, a long tempo will provide you the physical and mental endurance for longer races. Make sure you're comfortable with shorter distance before attempting this workout.
Depending upon ability, run 5-10 miles at your lactate threshold pace. This speed is typically what you can maintain for about an hour.
END of Part 1 of UNIT
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