Last week we introduced a new workout series that artfully combines strides with tempo runs. This week creates a sandwich situation with the short, fast bursts of quality running as the bread and a big meaty filling of a tempo run in the middle.
STRIDES & TEMPO #2
25mins @ lactate threshold (your 1-hour race pace)
Recoveries: 2-minute jogs
Terrain: A flat and measurable pathway.
The idea with this session is to set the tone of the workout with great technique and expression of speed with the initial strides. Then get through some quality grind work in the middle and finish off as you started with exceptional technique in the final strides despite running on tired legs.
The strides and the tempo run each serve very different purposes. While the tempo run is there to tire you out and really test your body’s ability to go longer at a reasonably quick clip, the strides are all about the quality of the movement—not how hard you’re working.
With this focus on quality at the front of your mind during the strides, it’s important to have enough recovery each time you perform those 30-second efforts. That’s why we’re allowing a full 2 minutes after each stride.
Remember also to:
- aim for good pacing in the tempo run,
- use the tempofit.org calculator to work out your lactate threshold pace,
- run on a flat measurable pathway so you’re getting reliable feedback on your splits.
THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:
ARE YOU MAINTAINING YOUR BASELINES OF FITNESS?
By Hayden Shearman
Whatever exercise we do—whether that’s running ultra-marathons, bashing out hard hill reps or sitting on the couch—our bodies have a mixture of desirable and undesirable responses. Shortened hamstrings, reduced core strength, declining athleticism, poor mobility—these are all signs that, while fitness might be improved in one area, something else is getting out of whack in the way we’re treating after our bodies.
So here are eight baselines that I use as warning lights to let me know if I need to do some work in a particular area of fitness.
Note: The numbers will be different for everyone and so will some of the movements. So, the following list is just to give you an idea of things you can look out for with your own fitness.
- Touch your toes: With straight knees, can I reach down to touch my toes. If I can’t, it’s a good sign I need to A) do more stretching and mobility work, B) get properly warmed up before doing anything intense, and C) have a look at my overall workload on my hammies and calves to see if that training needs to be pulled back.
- Below parallel squat: Can I comfortably get my butt below the height of my knees without those knees flaring up and my alignment going out of whack?
- 1-Minute Plank: The plank is a great test of your ability to hold strong through your torso. And, for me, anything less than a minute is a big old warning sign that I haven’t been doing enough core work or intentionally engaging my core when doing other exercises.
- Press Ups: If I can’t bang out 40 good press ups in a row, something is wrong and I need to give my upper body some attention. You will certainly have a different number to me, but work out what this is and/or do the same for another upper body movement like pull ups, rows and overhead press.
- Dead Lift: I like the dead lift as a baseline metric (for me a 1-rep of 100kg is a good sign I’ve still got okay functional strength for this movement). But you could also use squats or leg press for lower body strength.
- Strides: If I can’t perform bursts of fast, controlled running without any niggles or pain, then this is a BIG warning sign for me to not do too much slower mileage just for the sake of it—I need to spend time getting my mobility and strength back so that I can build in quality rather than just quantity to my training.
- Skipping: I love skipping for my achilles and calf health. It’s also a good warning light to let me know if things are getting too dicey in that part of my body.
- Jumping: I remember an experienced and internationally successful masters runner being amazed that I was hurdling the fences we were encountering on our run. I was surprised, that despite their impressive distance running ability, they had lost the athleticism to jump. Sure enough, that runner got injured badly shortly after. But I went on to make the exact same mistake a few years later while logging big miles training for a marathon only to rupture my achilles. All this was a major lesson for me to make sure I never dip too far into the cardio fitness well that I lose my ability to be athletic.