Chase or Be Chased
We wanted to work a progressive running program back into our programming and decided to make it the focus of a 3 week Work Capacity cycle. We chose a testing distance of 2 miles. That’s long enough to keep it from being an anaerobic effort and short enough to keep it from turning into a total slog.
We are a strength gym and most athletes here aren’t fans of running or haven’t done any distance work in the past, so for some this was an entirely foreign cycle. While our main goal was to improve running time we also wanted to improve efficiency, aerobic capacity, mental fitness and teach good pacing. We also wanted to make running a less daunting, less miserable experience. To learn to run efficiently and outside your comfort zone is crucial to making a complete hybrid athlete.
The first track session of each week focused on interval training. We used the Mcmillan Pace chart to determine pacing and had the athletes start with 1x 1200m Run and 2x 800m Runs. Each week we progressed the distance by 400m so the athletes finished with 3x1200m efforts. These were challenging, but the paces were attainable and almost every athlete made or slightly improved their times.
The second track workout of each week was a track tempo run. We used a slightly slower pace and had the athletes run for a set time, trying to get as many laps as possible at their goal pace in the allotted time. The time under effort progressed 2 minutes each week, starting at 14 minutes and progressing all the way to 18 minutes on the last week. This was a much more challenging effort for the athletes. Since the goal was improving pace the athletes had to start slower than they wanted to in order to maintain their pace through the end of the effort. Consistently we had athletes go out too hard and fail to maintain their pace. That meant they lost out on part of the end range training benefit. These sessions also finished with some middle and short distance sprinting to get a little speed work in.
As always with a testing cycle it is really hard to have consistent weather conditions and this testing day was no different. An aggressive wind sprang up and most likely cost the athletes anywhere from 15-20 seconds depending on their fitness. Part of training outside is the reality of testing and training in non-ideal conditions. Regardless, the athletes showed a much improved attitude and got the work done.
Total Number Of Athletes Tested: 72
Average Of All Finishing Times: -36s
Number Of Athletes With An Improved Finishing Time: 56
Average Improvement For Those Athletes: -53s
Improving a two mile time by almost a minute in 3 weeks is fairly impressive and a testament to the work that these athletes put in. Our goal as coaches is for this to be the foundation of a base aerobic fitness that we can begin to build on and create a higher aerobic and anaerobic output. While most of us will never be true runners, we want our athletes to have the highest level of base fitness leaving this gym and being a proficient running is a big part of that.
You can hate to run. That’s fine. But you still need to be able to run to be a complete athlete. You need to train your weaknesses consistently and show your professionalism as an athlete to diligently improve all facets of your fitness.
Do you want to become a complete athlete? If so, this running based Work Capacity Cycle is part of our Hybrid Programming and starts on 4.28.2014. Leg it out for 3 weeks and let us know your results.