Table of Contents
TEMPO Runs – a key ingredient for distance racing success
Last month I discussed using the treadmill for indoor winter running and provided just one sample hill training workout; this month the focus is on another quality but controlled workout – Tempo running.
TEMPO or lactate-threshold (LT) helps your body adapt to the specific demands of sustained running on the roads and trails with workouts ranging from 15 – 60 minutes depending on your upcoming race distance. Without going into an expanded description it refers to running at your “threshold pace,” that effort level where hydrogen ions begin to spill from the muscles into the bloodstream causing havoc with the acidity (lactate) produced. When lactate is produced faster than the body can remove it you’ve exceeded the “threshold” and your leg muscles find running becomes quite difficult. Tempo training helps push up that threshold where you’re producing lactic acid and dealing better with keeping pace with removing the waste products. It trains the body to utilize oxygen for metabolism more efficiently.
Tempos are especially key for half and full marathon success.
Learn Perceived Exertion
To keep it simple, tempos are run at a “comfortably stressed” effort level, not racing, usually 10-15 seconds per mile slower than your 10K pace ( and not stopping to look at the view). Out in the field you can use your 15K or 10 mile race pace to establish your tempo effort. The key is to hold that effort level so the body does not rebel: hold a steady, high, but controlled pressure on your cardiovascular system. Incorporate your tempo runs after a solid mileage base has been established and begin with shorter then gradually longer tempo distances (see below). The body learns to handle the acidity, clear it out quicker, raise the “threshold level” and “relaxed speed” running.
The classic tempo distance is 20-25 minutes (about 3 miles) of sustained “comfortably stressed” efforts for the 5K; 4-5 miles for 10K; 6-8 miles for the half marathon, and up to 10 miles for the marathon which can be run on the treadmill, track or roads. You can include a progression of tempo type efforts depending on your background mileage and ability. It requires a gradual program of progression to extend the tempo distance, but it is a key element for improving your race efforts. I start runners with Tempo runs twice per month, then once per week with 4-6 weeks to go to race date.
Long runs develop endurance, the track workouts improve turnover, faster cadence and Max VO2 development (400-mile pace) which also contributes to more efficient and relaxed tempo runs. Once you have your 1M time, 5K time, and 10M time you have simple pace guideline for most of your workouts. Use the variety of feedback tools to learn your tempo pace, but more importantly learn to run “naked”, i.e. no watch, GPS, or other electronics to “feel” that correct pace.
The Treadmill pace chart was left out last month due to space limitations, but included this month for those who want to run Tempo on the treadmill.
> warm-up 5 minutes of easy running at 1.5 – 2% grade,
> then as a sample workout: tempo run at 3 or 4% grade to help compensate for a moving belt. Do not begin the Tempo too quickly, but a moderate pace, increase the speed about .2 or .3 mph every 2-3 minutes until you find your Tempo pace. Hold it for 15-20 minutes.
> Learn to lock into the rhythm and “feel” that perceived Tempo effort level.
> The chart shows equivalent “pace-per-mile” for treadmill running at various incline settings.
> Cool-down with a 3-5 minutes recovery run at 2-3% grade.
> Always follow-up with mobility work and stretching so that you’re ready for the next day’s training.
Track samples to get started:
> 6-8 x 1000 (200 easy recovery jog)
4-6 x 1200 (200 easy or 1:30 rest)
5-6 x Mile or 1600 (1:30 – 2:00 rest)
3 x 1.5 miles or 1800 (400 easy)
2-3 x 2 miles or 3200 (400)
2 x 3 miles (400)
4 – 6 miles steady on the track (you’ll be able to adjust pace every lap until you’re holding steady within 1-2 seconds per 400)
Hour run on the track: teaches even split running, getting down your pre-race routine, warm-up and focusing on efficiency.
Longer 8-10 mile tempo runs I usually have the group do on the road.
Alternating 400’s for 3-6 miles non-stop on the track: run first 400 @ 5K pace; then with no break run next 400 15-20 seconds slower (or marathon pace). Continue the alternating pattern for the total distance.
This is the treadmill pace chart that was supposed to accompany the December Tamalpa Gazette, Coach’s Corner but had to be left out due to space available. So here it is below; makes more sense now.
EFFORT – BASED TREADMILL TRAINING SPEEDS
Equivalent Pace-Per-Mile on Various Treadmill Settings
TM Flat road 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6 % 7% 8%
5.0 12:00 12:31 11:44 11:05 10:32 10:03 9:38 9:16 8:56 8:38
5.2 11:32 12:02 11:18 10:42 10:11 9:44 9:20 8:59 8:40 8:23
5.4 11.07 11:35 10:55 10:20 9:51 9:26 9:03 8:43 8:25 8:03
5.6 10:43 11:10 10:32 10:00 9:33 9:09 8:48 8:29 8:12 7:56
5.8 10:21 10:47 10:12 9:42 9:16 8:53 8:33 8:15 7:58 7:44
6.0 10:00 10:26 9:52 9:24 9:00 8:38 8:19 8:02 7:46 7:32
6.1 9:50 10:15 9:43 9:16 8:52 8:31 8:12 7:55 7:40 7:26
6.2 9:41 10:05 9:34 9:08 8:44 8:24 8:06 7:49 7:34 7:21
6.3 9:31 9:56 9:26 9:00 8:37 8:17 7:59 7:43 7:29 7:15
6.4 9:23 9:46 9:17 8:52 8:30 8:10 7:53 7:37 7:23 7:10
6.5 9:14 9:37 9:09 8:45 8:23 8:04 7:47 7:32 7:18 7:05
6.6 9:05 9:29 9:01 8:37 8:16 7:58 7:41 7:26 7:13 7:00
6.7 8.57 9:20 8:53 8:30 8:10 7:52 7:35 7:21 7:07 6:55
6.8 8:49 9:12 8:46 8:23 8:03 7:4 7:30 7:15 7:02 6:50
6.9 8:42 9:04 8:39 8:17 7:57 7:40 7:24 7:10 6:58 6:46
7.0 8:34 8:56 8:32 8:10 7:51 7:34 7:19 7:05 6:53 6:41
7.1 8:27 8:49 8:25 8:04 7:45 7:29 7:14 7:00 6:48 6:37
7.2 8:20 8:41 8:18 7:58 7:40 7:23 7:09 6:56 6:44 6:33
7.3 8:13 8:34 8:12 7:52 7:34 7:18 7:04 6:51 6:39 6:28
7.4 8:06 8:27 8:05 7:46 7:28 7:13 6:69 6:46 6:35 6:24
7.5 8:00 8:20 7:59 7:40 7:23 7:08 6:54 6:42 6:31 6:20
7.6 7:54 8:14 7:53 7:34 7:18 7:03 6:50 6:38 6:26 6:16
7.7 7:48 8:07 7:47 7:29 7:13 6:58 6:45 6:33 6:22 6:12
7.8 7:42 8:01 7:41 7:24 7:08 6:54 6:41 6:29 6:18 6:09
7.9 7:36 7:55 7:36 7:18 7:03 6:49 6:37 6:2 6:15 6:05
8.0 7:30 7:49 7:30 7:13 6:58 6:45 6:32 6:21 6:11 6:01
Running speed on a treadmill with no incline (0%) is actually slower than running on a flat road or track since you do not have to overcome air resistance on a treadmill. Chart reprinted from Nov/Dec 1992 Peak Running Performance newsletter. This chart was printed in The Schedule, January 1966.
Coach’s Corner, January 2015
The Treadmill As A Tool
How to Safely Increase Mileage, Quality and Tempo
by Kees Tuinzing
Increasing mileage and speed from a moderate base usually produces injuries for runners and triathletes. For novices, it’s even more of a problem because it takes time for the legs to adapt to a volume of running, i.e., bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments are often subject to overuse because the tissues haven’t caught up to the training load. The same holds true for those who up it from the 10K and half marathon to the marathon distance challenge. Enthusiasm wanes for the next training when the “hangover” effects are still present in your legs. ( I say it takes 1.5 years to adapt the body gradually to steady road running prior to tackling the marathon training program, but that’s another article).
Effects of higher mileage are pronounced for 1) heavier runners , like me (190 lbs and at 180 lbs when I ran in the 2:40 – 2:55 range) – close to the Clydesdale category, or 2) those who are over age 40, when recovery between workouts takes longer, and 3) runners who must run on pavement when off-road terrain isn’t readily available. ( I strongly encourage all long runs on the dirt for those first two years of running: you’ll come away feeling less beat up!) How do you spell relief?
I added one or two 30 minute sessions per week on the treadmill without orthopedic stress for additional mileage and speedwork.
For Mileage: It can be the road mileage you replace, or the extra mileage you add during the buildup phase. I re-discovered the treadmill after my 2- hour plus runs and upping to 70-90 mile weeks. I couldn’t face the pavement the next day, so I went to a treadmill workout. Afterward, I felt great, not “beat up” and followed the workout with a good stretching, foam rolling session. It’s a way to add gentle mileage and come away rejuvenated.
For Speedwork: You can add 4-15 minute bouts of quality training on an upgrade without soreness and to simulate the intensity of a 5K,10K or Tempo workout. It paid off with PR’s at The Carlsbad 5000 and Portland 5 – Miler by knocking a minute off my time. Note, that it doesn’t replace actual running outdoors, but you’re forced to stay with the unrelenting pace of the treadmill to keep you honest – and it’s all over in less than a half hour. It’s about learning to hold an effort level for consistent time period.
(See chart Effort-Based Teadmill Training Speeds for equivalent pace-per-mile on various treadmill incline settings). The incline setting is everything in treadmill training; you learn how to adjust with practice.
> Avoid running like a zombie on the machine at the flat incline setting: you need to compensate for the motorized belt and mix up pace and inclines (unless you simply need an easy recovery run workout and up the mileage). I think of 2% grade as “flat” and go from there. Change the incline every 4-10 minutes depending on the program goals or if you’re running tempo. Changing it up keeps you busy adjusting to the effort level, and more fit. You can also do repeatable self-testing to measure your improvement, e.g., whatever pace mph you can hold at 5% or 7% grade for 10 -15 minutes. Then use the same protocol six to eight weeks later.
> Bring water bottles and towel during the treadmill because you’ll be sweating profusely without convection at an indoor facility. ( Good for heat training for Honolulu Marathon and and other hot climate races).
> The treadmill workout is excellent for learning to work with a heart-rate monitor to check your effort levels and train accurately at a Zone suggested by your coach.
SAMPLE WORKOUT: Hill training
> Use 1.5 -2% grade for warm-up for 5 minutes (5’)
8’ at 5% grade, moderate, 75% effort
4’ at 3% , fast, 85-90% effort
3’ at 5%, easy run, 70% effort
8’ at 7%, tempo 85% effort
5’ at 2%, recovery run pace
Afterwards, walk around to cool off, towel down, drink fluids; then a good stretch session to finish. You should feel great. You can also become creative by adding the Concept II Row Machine for 500-1500 meter bouts before, during or after the treadmill workout.
For a steady Tempo, lactate threshold workout, which is “comfortably stressed”, usually 10-15 seconds per mile slower than your 10K race pace or about at your 10M or 50-60 minute run effort. It’s at an effort that’s not racing, but not taking it easy either; depending on your experience anywhere from 10K to 10M pace.
> warm-up 5 minutes of easy running at 2-3% grade,
> then as a sample workout: tempo run at 5% grade. Do not begin the Tempo too quickly, but a moderate pace, increase the speed about .2 or .3 mph every 2-3 minutes until you find your Tempo pace. Hold it for 15-20 minutes.
> Learn to lock into the rhythm and “feel” that perceived Tempo effort level.
> The chart shows equivalent “pace-per-mile” for treadmill running at various incline settings.
> Cool-down with a 3-5 minutes recovery run at 2-3% grade.
> Always follow-up with mobility work and stretching so that you’re ready for the next day’s training.
Winter Training with Row Machine, Treadmill and Loaded Carries
by Kees Tuinzing
Motivation to run outdoors from November to February is put to test: it’s darker, colder and often inclement weather. You can change up your regular routine by taking advantage of indoor training for two workouts per week, and emphasize the outdoor weekend runs plus maybe even one weekday short run. The treadmill (TM) for running and the rowing Concept II machine for “erging” preceded or followed by a brief Loaded Carries routine offer efficient, smooth and low impact endurance training; the loaded carries an efficient core, posture development. A temporary change with your running that you do he other nine months is a good for addressing weak areas (hamstrings, back) and upping your all around fitness.
The two days in the gym (or home gym) should be spread out with 2-3 days in between workouts, e.g. Mon/Th, or Tu/Fri while saving the weekends for the mileage outdoors.
These sample workouts are based on twice per week with the more strength oriented tool, the row machine, preceding the treadmill portion. Day one: the “A” Row machine quality erg workout first followed by the “A” Treadmill Tempo steady state run. Day Two, the “B” Row machine Tempo erg workout is then followed by the “B” treadmill interval workout. Pacing in running is done by minutes per mile while with erging it’s time per 500 meter split which is displayed on the little screen along with stroke rate and overall time. A very strong to elite pace would be under 2:00/500 meters, 2:05-2:15/500 a strong effort and 2:20 -2:30 the more moderate effort. Competition length during the old days was 2500 meters now it’s 2000 meters for the huge international erging CRASH B sprints held every February back East. Sister Marion Irvine, who rowed when she was injured and couldn’t run, won the title for 50+ with a 2500 row in 10:15 (those crazy competitions were another story)…
Day 1: ROW “A” (Quality): warmup 500M (meters) easy @ 2:20 pace or slower; 250M quality at 2:05-2:15 pace; then 2:00 easy recovery row; 750M strong steady effort @ 2:05-2:10; then easy 2:00 row; 750M at 2:20-2:25 moderate pace; finish with easy 250 meters.
Day 1: TREADMILL (Tempo): 1.5% grade easy run for 5 minutes; then run at 85% “comfortably stressed effort (not laboring) for 10:00 @ 5% ( then 3:00 easy @ 1.5%); 15:00 at 3% steady tempo; followed by 3:00–5:00 easy recovery run.
Day 2: ROW “B” (Tempo): warmup 500M, then 2 x 1000M @ 80% effort (4:00 easy row between each 1000).
Day 2: TREADMILL (Quality): Warmup 5:00 easy @ 1.5% grade; then 3:00 fast run @ 3% (1:30 @1.5% recovery run); 3:00 fast @5% (2:00 @1.5% easy); 4:00 fast @4% (2:00 easy@ 1.5%); 2:00 fast @ 3% ; then 4 -5 minutes cool down 1.5%
If one discipline is enough of a workout, e.g. just the treadmill for the day, you can simply rotate days with TM and Row machine and add your Loaded Carries for posturel/core strength.
LOADED CARRIES: Carrying dumbbellls, but preferably kettlebells (so weight hangs from wrist) to put the body with “time under tension” or TUT. I use these carries before new clients embark on a full exercise program to get used to holding weights, acclimating to TUT and building core for running, triathlons and most any sport.
A. Farmers Carry: grip two DB’s or KB’s of good weight in suitcase style carry; walk out and back 50 feet. Works hips, back, arms, shoulders, traps, posture with huge benefits that back specialists like: think of it as a “moving plank”. Goal is eventually half your body weight in each hand.
B. Waiters Walk: Either with one or two DB/KB’s, hold weight overhead with locked arm, bicep alongside ear, shoulder packed in socket and walk out/back 50 feet. Develops important shoulder health and stability. Use conservative weight and be able to “own the weight” rock solid without strain. Increase weight gradually.
C, Rack Walk: Clean two KB’s or DB’s to front of chest level, opposing knuckles almost touching, Keep posture erect, no “kinking” your back backwards and walk 50 feet out/back. Works entire upper back and within short order you’re breathing like a steam engine when the weight is right.
Limit But Include Quality Running Days
by Kees Tuinzing
The goal for runners who plan their own running program, pull one off the internet, or those who have a coach guiding them is to balance stress and recovery so that the runner makes makes steady gains in endurance, speed and strength towards their race date goal without setbacks. The whole name of the game with planning the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly programs is to provide that balance so that you improve as a runner ( or for any activity or sport); not sustain injuries, staleness, chronic fatigue or loss of enthusiasm. A coach helps guide you through the minefield of increased mileage, quality runs, active recovery, and rest so that adaptations to training take place.
We are easily channeled into the trap of including extra quality run days as a key race date approaches in an effort to produce a “personal best” (PB) time. I see this most widespread during Dipsea training season. “I’ve got to get in another Dipsea practice,” they’ll tell you with an anxious voice. But that person may have already completed a Dipsea, track, and hill work – that week. You then run the risk of too sore legs, staleness and not able to recover for the next workouts.
I’ve observed during the years of working with moderate mileage runners, i.e., under 40 miles per week, that they can handle only two quality days per week effectively. Those quality sessions are a rotation of drills and track workouts, tempo runs , hill repeats, and moderate to high intensity circuit training to balance out your musculature, build strength, and keep lean body mass. When you do your quality days make them count, but include the easy days too. I don’t think the ingredients for running success has changed much since the Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson years; their volume of training and quality was, of course, much higher. Many other coaches over the years have written up a rehash of previous training schedules with a few twists here and there but key elements have held up over the years.
In addition, note that consistency trumps most special or “magic” workouts.” How many of you have managed to get in a consistent 8-12 weeks of four days per week running that included one quality session of either intervals on the track, hill repeats or tempo runs without an interruption or setback?” It’s a relatively few number of runners; check with your running friends. It’s amazing how you improve when you get in a steady 2-3 months!
It think it’s important to include quality days to stimulate positive changes with variety in cadence, terrain, power, leg strength, speed, pacing – and health. Quality short workouts and some circuit weight training also help slow down the decline associated with the aging process by maintaining muscle mass, Max VO2 and speed. By including a controlled amount (10% -12% of weekly mileage) of hill training, tempo and track will get runners out of a “rut”, i.e., stuck in one gear pace, give the body variety of challenges to improve – and have some fun. Group workouts for quality sessions with runners of various ability levels make the process more productive and enjoyable. We’ve had our Thursday morning track sessions going since 1974, with similar programs across the country.
Hill Repeats and Tempo workouts I have discussed in past issues of the Gazette. Training on the track helps develop the neuromuscular input so your legs develop a faster turnover or cadence. It may not be an exciting place to run, but It’s a useful tool because you make use of exact distances to learn your pacing, develop a faster turnover and the perceived exertion to know what a 9-minute, 8-minute, 7-minute, 6-minute miles feels like – and to hit it in practice. Quality, but controlled practice on the track makes you a faster and more fit runner! This builds confidence in your running so that you can execute your race day plan with discipline.
I believe in taking novice runners, who have a modest base, to the track for drills and short distance intervals at a controlled pace to develop that neuromuscular input connection which will make them far more efficient runners – more quickly. Ten and twenty meter “catch the bus” pickups after going through the drills, produces a light touch on track or roads, a short foot contact time, and reduced vertical displacement while running avoids the tendency to “pound’ on the roads.
We can’t run all of these workouts within a single week without overdoing it, so I usually alternate the Hill Repeats and Tempo Runs each week; thereby keeping your hand in both.
The type of quality sessions you choose to emphasize are those which will help with your race goal. You’ll emphasize Tempo runs when training for the marathon; track, tempo, racing 5K’s for the half marathon, track and hill work when looking to hitting a 5K PB.
Many runners compete year round in a variety of race distances and feel they must maintain their speed (track), endurance (long runs/mileage), strength (hill repeats and circuit training) and race pace (tempo). When you run only 3-4 days per week it’s difficult to include all ingredients for achieving your best time. And, we also want to include an enjoyable, no-goal run on some wonderful trails at a conversational pace. Our group consisting of mostly women have training at talking pace down to a science!
You can rotate the type of quality workouts each week and keep some kind of balance so that you don’t lose speed, strength or race pace work. One week it’s Tempo and Track, the following week Hill Repeats and track; the third week Track and RR Grade or long trail run. It’s all running, but the body thrives on new challenges. Rotations don’t have to be based on the seven day week; some collegiate coaches have their runners on 10-13 day cycle to avoid overtraining. Learn what works for you by keeping a training log; otherwise you’ll never remember what worked. For example, the long 16-20 mile run benefits kick in about three weeks later.
Remember, the quality workouts provide the stimulus (stress) for change and improvement, but the adaptations that make that possible take place during the recovery days.
Planned Training Breaks
You’ve just experienced the satisfaction of completing a long distance race, cycling event, or triathlon. The background work came together and you made your personal best (PB). It required a substantial amount of time to build up to race day with months of consistent training and the mental tenacity to stay on track towards your goal, while juggling work and the home front: now it’s time for a physical and mental break.
Hey, coach when can I get back to training,?” I’m often asked a couple of days after our runner has completed the marathon. Hello! You’ve just asked your body to go through 18-24 weeks of buildup to the big day (longer for ultras) and now you want to get back to it. Not recommended! Let’s be respectful of your body and give it the proper break it requires. Oh, yes there are endurance athletes we know who participate in back to back races, or many challenges during the year and don’t suffer setbacks – for months or years. They’ve usually maintained very consistent training, have a body that can take it, and some luck; most of us need to balance stress and recovery.
I found that after peaking for a supreme effort I needed a mental and physical break from any endurance event. I’m referring to a long distance race that I didn’t “train through” but pushed the envelope for a time goal. Going for a time in the Ironman or the marathon for example, is not a healthy physical event; training for it maybe, but not racing. Yes, physical trauma has taken place in those legs and it generally took me some complete rest, and a month of “active recovery”, eating well, and a mental break to restore me physically and emotionally.
During our recovery period we tend to focus on the more obvious sore muscles, fatigue, staleness, and the general post-race “blues.” But there’s an area we don’t pay much attention to and that is the endocrine system. The adrenal glands and the rest of your endocrine system were tapped and helped get you through your training and goal: they were severely stressed. Give them time to recover. Some of those athletes who have tapped deep too often without giving their bodies the time to come back, often don’t ever fully recover, or are not the same for future runs, e.g. Alberto Salazar.
There’s the appeal to continue on after a successful race or lengthy training period,but being at a PB level also puts you close to the edge of disaster. You’re on a roll and tempted to capitalize on your peak. Remember that staleness and nagging musculoskeletal problems are the usual culprits for setbacks. Don’t think you’ll be the exception; take the active rest break before it happens. How do you avoid the setbacks?
First of all, do the maintenance for muscle balance and take care of your body’s equipment. That includes mobility work, stretching, a strengthening program for best general effect to keep your musculature in shape. Most endurance sports are very one-sided with a very repetitive motion pattern that can cause overuse problems, leading to setbacks and staleness due to overtraining: these can be addressed!
Second, schedule two breaks, lasting 2-3 weeks with some complete rest and “active rest.” Many runners find it difficult to back off or take the suggestion of two week breaks twice per year and are afraid of “losing it”. Trust me you’ll miss more training time due to overuse injuries and the rehab required to get you back that could have been avoided with scheduled breaks in training and balancing your exercise program. I refer you to “Ready to Run” by Kelly Starrett, Ph.D physical therapist and owner of CrossFit SF. However, you can maintain basic fitness with a substantially reduced program.
A complete break from training will result in losing several percent of your maximal aerobic capacity, reduced enzyme levels involved with energy metabolism, and reduced stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped out to the body with each beat of the heart). But seasoned runners will come back quickly. However, you can maintain the benefits of your fitness with a very reduced program.
Researchers (Dr. R.C. Hickson of the University of Illinois and Dr. Edward Cole of the University of Texas) have found that you can reduce your training frequency and amount of time per workout by almost 70% and still maintain your VO2 max and endurance for up to ten weeks. The key is a controlled quality workout: Dr. Cole advises once per week, do 3-4 one-mile repeats at slower than 5K pace with a few minutes break between miles. You can also substitute cycling (non-weight bearing exercise) and maintain running capability. Avoid running on the other six days of the week, and do other light activities. Your goal is to first heal up from the stress of a race or extended period of consistent training. Want to maintain longevity in your running? Schedule in two to three week breaks from training a couple of times during the year.
Note: The first suggestion for your planned break time that immediately came from my most tolerant wife, “Saint Sandy”, is for you to jump into the “ Honey-Do Club” and get those projects done around the house that you’ve been neglecting. “There’s nothing sexier to a woman than a handyman,” she says. I have not been sexy for many of those past years!
When I ask runners why they don’t run the 5K more often, the reply is, “It’s only a 5K”. But those 12.5 laps on the track or 3.106 miles on the roads tells coaches – and you, a great deal when assessing the fitness level across a broad spectrum of runners they are working with.
> The 5K is a test of fitness with peaking of the aerobic (80%) and anaerobic (20%) components. The 5K is similar in effort and time when you’re put on treadmill test where the cardiologist looks for electrical heart problems and to calculate your aerobic capacity – between 12-20 minutes depending on the protocol.
> a race distance for the novice to world’s elite runners
> teaches you how to judge race pace with the 3.1M distance: it’s too far to sprint and too short to run moderately when going for a time: teaches you how to run “on the edge” for those 15-25 minutes without having too much left over at the end.
> race 5K’s and you’ll definitely improve your 10K and half marathon times, because 5K race pace develops fitness and accurate pacing.
> I’ve found that with our groups it’s an accurate predictor for the 10K: double your 5K time, plus a minute and you’ll be quite close to your 10K time. Rather than trying to focus on 10K time only; reduce your 5K time and I can just about guarantee a PR for your 10K.
> Predicting your 5K potential. If you have a 5K coming up, had no experience with the distance; how can you assess progress? Owen Anderson, Ph.D, publisher of the Running Research Newsletter, provided a handy self-tester for the 5K predictor in the March 1999 issue put together by two researchers in Canada, Charles Babineau and Luc Leger. After a good warm-up, run 3 x 1600 as fast, but evenly as you can, with exactly one minute rest between each 1600. Calculate your average pace per 1600, multiply this pace by 3.125 and that should be within 15 seconds of your impending 5-K time. The researchers found that it predicted better than the VO2 Max test. They also found that 6 x 800 with 30” rest intervals and 12 x 400 with only 15 second rests had strong predictive power, but 1600’s best simulated the 5K event.
> The 5K racing distance won’t “beat you up” as long distance and ultra runs and require a long recovery.
The 5K, and most of the other distance events, require a base of endurance if you’re going to run it for speed. There is a much needed role of running at Zone 2, 120-140 bpm level for a foundation to faster running. Acclimating the body to running at race or threshold pace requires endurance and basic leg conditioning. Before you launch into 5K speed work get in several months of base mileage and rolling terrain running to strengthen the legs with 40 minute runs.
Maintaining speed training year round to keep your running mechanics efficient; it doesn’t mean you conduct long arduous speed sessions, but maintain turnover – “quick feet.” It’s about developing the motor learning so you can relax and flow at race pace. Carrying out your speed sessions at 5K pace prepares you for the demands of the 8K, 10K and longer distances – and you’re keeping your interval training under control to avoid hamstring and other leg injuries. They will also improve your tempo pace. Coaches, Frank Ruona, myself, and El Presidente, Ed Corral, often keep the workout volume and pacing around the 5K distance; depending what events our runners are getting ready for during different times of the year. But 5K race pace practice helps all your racing.
It’s interesting that on an international level, 5K racers, practice the 1500 (metric mile): most are sub 4-minute milers! With the WR at 12:37 it’s almost at 3, 4-minute miles back to back! It’s amazing to me that now with the growing demand of the marathon for basic speed, that the winner of this year’s London Marathon, Eluid Kipchoge, has 3:50 miler speed – and it did come down to a battle over the last mile (4:33) and then last 800 (see YouTube video)
Using the track: When you’ve picked your goal pace for the 5K you can zero on the accurate pace on an exact oval – the track. It’s not particularly “fun” to run around in circles, but use the accurate distance to zero on accurate pacing. You should be able to run your 12 x 400 within 1-2 seconds each time. Other intervals to practice: 8 x 600, 6 x 800, 5 x 1000. Example, to break 24:00: repeats at 7:45 for 1600; 5:48 for 1200, 3:52 for 800, 1:56 for 400.
After much practice on the track, and you’ve learned to run those 12.5 laps at an even “threshold” pace with a relaxed speed cadence leaving little left to sprint at the end; your 8K, 10K, 15K and half marathon efforts will flow easier with less intensity. So give the 5K it’s just due when you have a chance to run one (we have TCRS 5K too). My favorite major 5K is the Carlsbad 5K in the Spring with its unique course and format and two days of events; in the past our Tamalpa runners have gone down with over 20 runners to participate in this special 5K run and spectator friendly conducted with age and sex group heats; then we all line the course and watch the the elite running last. Let’s go for it next year!
The High Cost of Organized Events
It’s become more difficult for non-profit organizations to stage participatory events and raise funds for their causes. With a weak and uncertain economy, fewer sponsors, rising costs of city services, hard costs, and rising expectations of participants, a good number of runs, bike events and triathlons have disappeared. Even local low key club runs such as our Tamalpa TCRS events have had fixed costs go up steadily-and we’re not trying to make a profit on them!
Some of the features of a quality race that make up the “basics” of a race during 1980’s – 1990’s included: an accurate, certified (proves your distance is correct), safe course with appropriate aid stations and medical personnel; accurate results; age group awards, post-race goodies, and finisher t-shirt.
Entry Fees Don’t Cover Race Expenses: during those years up to 2000: Take a quality race such as Big Sur Marathon back in 1991 or 1992, with a high entry fee ($50 back then) race director (RD) Bil Burleigh said they don’t come close to covering services which include a “very fine runner-to-toilet ratio”, tents for the finish ($8,000), buses to the start ($15,000) for a point to point course, race timing, a professional “keepsake” post-race results publication, a top quality, five color T-shirt ($40,000), permit fees, insurance fees and CalTran costs for using Highway One for a course. You can be sure the above costs are very different 20 years later!
Our old rule of thumb in the “old days” (now changed) was that the entry fees covered about one third of the costs with the corporate sponsors making up the difference. However, there is another price to be paid: increased commercialism of the events. The greater the reliance on sponsor dollars, the more emphasis there has to be on fulfilling obligations to sponsors by providing publicity and race signage. This requires many extra meetings throughout the year leading up to the race with sponsors and the non-profit organizations to keep them updated and that their needs are met.
Sponsor acquisition and development is a year-round job as any race director of a major race can tell you. I know from my own experience of working our local Pacific Sun Marathon & 10K; now the Marin Memorial Day 5K/10K since 1977 required part-time work for ten months (while I was RD for a good number of years; after that the Club took it over). Obtaining sponsorship was for me, the most time consuming part of the race, and keeping in touch with sponsors year round; time devoted during the last three months before the race, volunteer coordination, then finally race day execution was the easier “cookie cutter” part of the event. It’s always more work than one thinks, but we sure have a good event!
During the 1990’s races were still “doable” for small to medium size races hosted by clubs and nonprofit groups, but after “crash of 2008”, many hard costs, services and venue fees shot through the roof (and were never rolled back when the economy did improve again). In addition sponsor dollars available declined dramatically, while the number of races have increased – all competing for sponsorship dollars.
A number of club races and runs once held in Golden Gate Park, for example have left that venue: “Zippy’s 5K”, “Run to the Farside”, to name two. I remember when we staged races in the Park years ago there was an “impact fee” of a dollar per runner which went up over time. Now, according to Dave Rhody of RhodyCo Productions, who work a number of major races in the Bay Area, found that the SF Park and Rec, with their budget devastated by the crash had to pass on all costs. For example, the “Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon” with PaMaKid Runners ( which has a lower entry fee of $45- $65 than most halfs), the Park and Rec added a “venue fee” for the Start and Finish areas of $8,000 and $10,000 each, with an extra fee for set up work the day before the race. In addition, the race had to take on paying for Park Rangers – all adding up to an extra $30,000 to the budget. Cones, barricades and delineators for runner safety add another cost to pay the subcontractor who handles that important portion of the race course. Medical costs also went up when they had to cover mobile medical paramedics on bikes on race day to cover the PanHandle, Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway portions of the course. Another cost trend that grew in demand for finisher medals ($4-$6) for half, 10K and even 5K participants! Really? It used to be only marathon finishers received medals, but now most half marathons also give out finisher medals. Yet, Pamakid Runners still manage to write sizeable checks to the charities they support.
Hard costs have gone up for race groups: their sub-contractors and medical ( wages go up), the portalets (years ago were $50, now more $85 each on up) and the t-shirts now are more often of hi-tech quality which is double or more the cost of cotton shirts. The cost of truck rentals, tables, cups, water for aid stations are up and instead of placement every 5K, at times even every 1-2 mile splits. With the large number of races water sponsors have had to limit how many they can support so race directors must purchase water for their aid stations. Add that over the years costs in San Francisco have gone on up in general; you can see why entry fees do go up. The result is that the race numbers are down lately for many events though the mega races and national rollout events such as Rock ‘N Roll and Color Runs are still thriving with their corporate backing. It will be interesting to see what fees participants will be willing to pay for events during the next several years.
Top 6 Challenge Workouts by Dan John 7/28/14
Tags: Challenge Training
Here’s what you need to know…
The “Demon Deacon” workout consists of doing one rep on the minute, every minute, for the allotted time.
The “Bengal” requires that you pick a big lift and do 100 reps with it. The workout might last over an hour.
The “Eagle” pairs the farmer’s walk with the double-kettlebell front squat. Repeat for 8 circuits and then hurl in a bush.
With the “Spartan,” one partner deadlifts for 5 reps while partner two does bear crawls. They then switch positions and repeat 5 times. If you die, you lose.
The “Coyote” is an all-round workout that involves 15 kettlebell swings, 5 goblet squats, and 3 push-ups for rounds. Twenty rounds equals 300 swings, 100 squats, and 60 push-ups.
For the “Road Warrior,” you do waiter’s walks, suitcase carries, suitcase deadlifts, one-hand overhead presses, one-hand bench presses, and side bends on one side only. The next day, you repeat all the movements using the opposite hand.
Editor’s Note: Dan John’s been making athletes puke in bushes for longer than a lot of T Nation readers have been alive. Hell, very few people have such an arsenal of brutal workout techniques and programs catalogued in their brain and we’d be crazy not to access that catalog as often as we can. In this case, we asked Dan to come up with his 6 best random, challenge-style workouts, ones that build muscle and fitness but don’t produce high levels of muscle and tendon inflammation and don’t overload the spine beyond the borders of sanity.
1. The Demon Deacon
Many of us were amazed years ago when Ethan Reeves, the outstanding strength coach at Wake Forest, would post workouts on popular forums. He would simply post the workouts and one or two examples of the actual weights/reps recorded. The numbers were stunning and it reminded many of us that we just weren’t born to be elite football players. One workout became a staple of all my programs. It’s simply this:
One rep on the minute, every minute, for the allotted time.
The time can vary from twenty minutes to one hour, but the key is the proper selection of load. It works best with the “big lifts” like the clean, power clean, front squat, and deadlift. (The back squat doesn’t seem to work well as it seems one can always do another back squat.) For loading, I’d suggest a lift that allows for a solid plate selection. For instance, two 45-pound plates on the ends of a bar (225 pounds) are going to work better than a whole bunch of assorted clanking plates.
The Demon Deacon works well if you do it with a partner. Some suggestions:
Front Squat with 205
Deadlift with 315
Clean (or Power Clean) with 205
If you want an interesting variation, try it with military presses. Use a “natural” number like 95, 115, or 135. Remember, it’s a single rep on the minute, every minute, for the total time planned. Certainly, you could plan on continuing to failure, but I’d suggest simply trying your hand at 20 or 30 minutes first and then extending to a full 60-minute game.
The great benefit of this workout is that you’re focusing on a single movement and gathering your resources to make the lift over and over again. Obviously, I love this kind of thing.
2. The Bengal
When I first ventured into the internet, you could read discussions on open forums with NFL strength coaches and legends of lifting. Unfortunately, the trolls literally drove them off and it still saddens me. Zit-faced 14-year-olds from the Midwest would say all kinds of terrible things while protected by the anonymity of the computer screen. Before that happened, though, I remember Kim Woods, the strength coach of the Cincinnati Bengals during the Super Bowl years, discussing the 100-rep challenge. I loved it and it remains a staple of my challenges to this day.
It’s very simple: Pick a lift, load it up appropriately, and do 100 reps with it. I’ve done it using the following:
165 in the Squat Snatch
205 in the Power Clean
185 in the Clean and Jerk
255 in the Front Squat
For the sake of clarity, it’s not 10 sets of 10 or whatever; it’s 100 singles. The idea is to pick a load that’s challenging and continue doing it over and over. The workout can last over an hour and you might find that you have minutes filled with multiple reps, interspersed with five-minute periods of pure rest.
Each time I do this workout, I come away with a better appreciation of the set up involved for each and every lift. It’s actually a teaching session for experienced lifters. One added benefit: You’ll become an expert at math as you begin to think at, for example, twenty reps, that you’re one-fifth there. Which is twenty percent. And that means you have 80 to go. Which is 4/5ths. It’s fun and educational!
3. The Eagle
I discovered the combination I call The Eagle a few years ago. The school mascot where I was teaching at the time was the Soaring Eagle, so the name was a natural. It combined the simplest of the loaded carries – the farmer’s walk – with the double-kettlebell front squat.
The athlete simply does 8 double-kettlebell front squats and then drops the weight to his sides and does a farmer’s walk for 20 meters. He then does another 8 squats. Repeat until completing eight circuits and then hurl in a bush because the workload is incredible. The suggested load for a high school male is two 24-kilo bells while females should start with 12-kilo bells. (While the suggested load may seem light, oftentimes the goal wasn’t met.)
There are some hidden benefits to this combo. The athlete needs two kettlebells and never puts them down. The metabolic hit is accelerated by the grip work, the wrestling with the kettlebells, and the sheer volume of carrying the load. There’s nothing magical in the choice of exercises; it’s just the patterning movement of loaded carries mixed with the grinding movement of squats.
4. The Spartan
I live in Murray, Utah and our local high school mascot is the Spartan, hence the name of this random workout (Mark Twight lives close, too, and he became ridiculously famous when the move 300 came out a few years ago.) This is a simple workout for two people and it’s based on the classic “I go/you go” template. I’ll give you two variations but the basic theme is the same: A lot of movement with very simple tools.
Option 1: ”Bear/Bear”
I strongly recommend gloves for both partners.
A duffle bag filled with up to three water-softener salt bags. Generally, each one weighs 40 pounds, so try to get two or three bags in the carrying sack. Duct tape it well.
Partner one does bear crawls while partner two carries the bag “bear hug” style. Stay in communication and switch well before fatigue sets in. Continue until… finished.
Option 2: Deadlift/Bear Crawl
Agree on a deadlift load, ideally using big plates like 225 or 315. Partner one deadlifts for 5 reps while partner two does bear crawls. Switch. Try this for five rounds the first time around. On the last set, do bear crawls to “failure.”
5. The Coyote
This workout is a staple of the Coyote Point Kettlebell Club. It takes only one kettlebell per person and can be adjusted with reps, sets, and load to fit anyone. Don’t let the simplicity fool you:
5 Goblet Squats
3 Push-Ups (or variations)
This little workout covers all the basic human movements and has the odd ability to always allow “one more round.” Simply try this for five rounds the first time and you’ll find that you have, by itself, an appropriate, repeatable, all-round workout. If you can handle the volume, 20 rounds equals 300 swings, 100 squats, and 60 push-ups and is a respectable workout. To make it harder, first increase the number of push-ups. Then, add a bigger bell. This is a great workout anywhere, any time, and for any reason.
6. The Road Warrior
This is a workout I designed for members of one of our federal agencies who travel all the time and never know what equipment will be available. It’s simple on paper but keeps your conditioning “in the ballpark” until you come home again.
With dumbbell in one hand ONLY (let’s say the left hand):
Waiter Walk (short walk with weight overhead like a waiter)
Suitcase Carry (short walk with weight like a suitcase)
One-Hand Overhead Presses
One-Hand Bench Presses (keep other hand “free”)
Reps and sets depend on weight available (and energy available). Get it going and feel good.
Do the same workout as day one but with the right hand!
Combine Push-Ups and Swings (or any variation)