Thursday, October 7, 2010


Last time I ran a marathon was Vancouver in 1997. I think it's time for another. So, I am heading to Boise for the City of Trees Marathon on Sunday. I have no idea what to expect but it will be fun.

You know, for me these days, running is that thing that I have, no matter what. So, I figure, I might as well have it any way I can.


Lucho said...

"Lucho, this is good stuff. So, you build power by working on explosiveness (fast, hard, efforts, etc...) and strength by resistence work (hills, weights, etc...). True? If so, can't you do all three (vo2max, strength and power) with hilly tempo runs blended with fartlek work done for an hour plus to stimulate all three systems?"

AJW- You could work on two, but getting the most benefit for the effort would be limited. By only working on one system you can gain much more quickly. In order to truly build any one of those three you have to be able to activate the muscles in a specific manner, of course there are always some generalized or accidental benefits.
If you want to build power then the effort needs to be at near maximum effort and very short, like 8"-15" long and then you need near full recovery (synthesis of ATP). These efforts should be short enough to not illicit a high HR or high breath rate (use of oxygen is almost absent). If you hold the effort for a longer period of time then you do not build power as much, but you start to work more towards V02 max. Once fatigue is introduced in to the mix, then we get in to fuel issues and depletion of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction which causes a loss in full muscle activation. But this can be good for fatigue resistance. Strength could be gained, as I said it is a component of power so you could work them simultaneously.
So let’s say you did a workout where you ran this structure:

Wu) this has to be fairly thorough and your core temperature has to be elevated, muscles hot and loose. 20:00 minimum with fast strides and/ or drills to prepare for the hills.

6 X 10" max effort hills. These build power specific to running and when they are done truly at maximum effort they are quite difficult and cause muscle breakdown. In order to build power and strength you must break the muscles down to force adaptation! Then once they heal and recover you are (theoretically) stronger and more powerful.
Recoveries have to be no less than 2:00 each.

Then went in to 4 X 1:30 at Vo2 max. These have to be well above threshold and just below maximum efforts. Once again, recovery must be close to full. Fatigue will only limit your ability to reach the appropriate effort level. 3:00 minimum up to 5:00.

Then you might go in to 30:00 at FT/LT.

So here we have ~1:30 total run time.

So you are covering 3 systems here, but it's very likely that the first set of power intervals is going to throw off muscle function for the next set. You may be too fatigued to hit Vo2 max (which is only slightly lower than max effort) on the 1:30 intervals, and even then in order to stimulate Vo2 effectively you need to be utilizing oxygen specific to Vo2 max and you need to be able to push hard enough to do this, the hill intervals (and remember that the body is recovering constantly during a workout which requires high levels of oxygen and nutrients) could very well limit this ability. And then by the time you went in to the tempo you are already producing so much lactate (and you would be low on muscle fuel) that you will likely be WELL below threshold PACE. Pace is a critical factor here when we talk about running fast. An exhausted muscle will produce high levels of lactate even when walking but this doesn't mean that you are gaining the same benefit of running tempo when you are fresh.
And then there is the recovery issue. This workout would tax your systems so severely that you may carry fatigue in to the next session which then delays recovery and limits the benefit of the session. One golden rule is that if you can't recover from a workout then don't do it. Any well written training plan should be planned around recovery days, not quality days.
I doubt that all makes sense... I've only had one cup of coffee so far.

Scott Keeps Running said...

Nice race!