By Julie Young, Head Coach of o2fitness and Director, Silver Sage Sports and Fitness Lab So many of you may be approaching a 10-miler as seasoned, experienced runners planning to improve performance (and stay injury-free, of course) while competing at the top of your game.
The key to improving running performance is first and foremost staying injury-free. In our experience, runners can insure against injury by investing in consistent purposeful hip and trunk stability exercises, global mobility (joints, muscle length, soft tissues), quality work and quality rest, and a gradually progressed training program.
There should be a clear objective to each and every training session, as well as an understanding of how that relates to the goal — in this case, optimal performance in this case a 10-mile event. Empowered with this understanding, you can train more purposefully, which equates to more effective training and successful results.
Here are a few key components of a training program to get you sharp for a 10-miler, assuming you already have a solid endurance training base in place.
- Consistent, trunk-hip stability work:
- Training the ability to hold a stable, neutral pelvis and spine (to create a stable base to efficiently generate the power from the hips in to the lower extremities) x two-three days/week.
- Hip activation (to improve hip recruitment in the running stride) x three days/week as a warm-up protocol.
- Speed and power sessions; for example, a track workout with 3 sets (5x200 meter on/200m easy). The “on” is performed at 80% ramping toward 100%.
- The objective is to institute solid, efficient mechanics, as well as to gain running-specific strength and power. We need to get fit to run, not run to get fit.
- We start these at a more moderate intensity to ensure that purposeful, controlled mechanics are in place. Once established, increase the speed, power and intensity.
- The goal is not how fast we can run at the expense of technique, but how well we can maintain solid, controlled movement under higher intensity. This workout, by controlling recovery time, also helps improve recovery rates.
- Interval sessions for the 10-miler may start with lactate/anaerobic threshold intervals and progress to V02 type intervals, depending on each individual’s race goals.
- Lactate threshold intervals train the body to more efficiently process the lactic build-up. Lactic acid is a by-product of burning carbohydrates. This easily metabolized fuel source is the energy of choice at higher intensities. As the intensity levels transitions along a spectrum from aerobic (with oxygen) to anaerobic (without oxygen), so does the fuel source from fats to carbohydrates.
- By consistently incorporating these intervals (and we suggest alternating them on flat terrain and as hill repeats), at the appropriate time during the week, you will run, with more metabolic efficiency at higher speeds.
- Supplement running with cross-endurance activities, such as swimming, cycling (road and mountain) and hiking. While we want to perform specific structured workouts while running to gain the greatest specific muscular and metabolic adaptations, using other forms of exercise to continue to develop and maintain a wide endurance base provides active recovery, mental and physical variety to avoid feeling obligated to running and injury prevention.
Ultimately, the key to successful training is individualizing the plan to efficiently and consistently fit all the training components into life’s priorities of family and work. Individually developed plans also consider how each individual adapts to the training load — to ensure adequate rest to counter-balance the work — resulting in a progressively upward performance trajectory.
If you have questions about any of these workouts or are just looking for advice, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.