PLEASE take the time to read this through, it will drastically help you understand the approach we take towards training as a club and will hopefully answer a lot of your "training" questions along the way.
If you don't have time to sit down and read a 250+ page book about running and the science behind it, Daniels' Running Formula... here's a very concise rendering of what you need to know.
We use a lot of Daniels' techniques, including information from his tables of training intensities based on a recent performance. When you race a distance, say a 5k, you can look up that time on a chart and determine a corresponding "VDOT" number - V Dot O2 Max - basically the maximum volume of oxygen you can take in.
That VDOT # is the key to training in YOUR correct intensity zones for EVERYTHING you do. You can plug your VDOT # into other charts based on what type of event you're training for, 800meters up to the Marathon, and you'll get appropriate training paces that are specialized just for YOUR ability level.
Become familiar with the charts, with your paces for each intensity and take pride in seeing your VDOT # rise as you improve.
Easier days could consist of:
A plain-Jane easy run; some sort of team game possibly involving chalk, riddles and/or tag; swimming; ULTIMATE.
Hill Sprints: At least once a week, after a runner has established a consistent running base, we will try to include a few hill sprints at the end of our Monday easy run. These are short repeats of 8-12 seconds at full effort up a moderate to steep grade and we typically will do 6-8 with full recoveries between each, walking gently back down the hill for the start of the next.
Abs: Our core is very actively engaged while we run, and do a lot of other activities too, so it's important to make sure that our core is strong. This segment of abdominal work will typically be done at the end of the workout and will typically last no longer than 10-15 minutes. It will include a haphazard array of core workouts that we've collected over the years, be ready to get some rock hard abs!
Harder days could consist of:
Anaerobic Threshold(Tempo): Tempo style workouts with little or no rest done at about 20-30 seconds slower, per mile, than 5k race pace. Can be completed in multiple styles such as: A steady 20-30+ minute run done at the correct Tempo pace or a small to medium amount of lengthy repeats, like 5x1mile at 20-30 seconds slower than 5k pace with only one minute of rest.
Speed-work: These workouts are great to wake the legs up, knock some dust off the shelves and oil the rusty gears. After developing a substantial amount of consistent easy running it is good to incorporate a speed session (done at 800 meter race pace and below) every other week or so to make sure you don’t lose touch with your fast twitch muscles.
Hills: Hills are a weight room in disguise. The majority of runners dislike hills for an obvious reason, they make your work hard! Hills, in any form, can boost running performance for any level runner training for any distance, from sprints to the marathon. How the hills are incorporated is what makes the difference. We will do continuous runs over rolling, hilly terrain and also hill repeats which come in such a variety that the possibilities are truly endless! Joy!
Intervals/Repetitions: These types of workouts train the body to run relaxed at a highly stressful level by cutting the race distance into smaller portions. Pacing can range from 800 race pace for 300 meter repetitions and below to Half-Marathon and Marathon pace repetitions of a mile or more! These workouts can be customized in many ways to produce the desired result. Rest is a key component as you cannot give yourself too little rest because you want to feel strong enough to run controlled at a high effort for each repeat, but you can’t allow yourself too much rest or you could fall into the trap of “racing” your workout.
Ladders: A fun way to spice up a repetition workout. One example would be a ladder starting at 1600meters followed by a 400meter jog, then cut down 400 meters each repeat until you reach 400, then repeat the workout going back up to a mile starting at 400, all reps with 400 meter jogs between. This workout can accomplish many things at the same time, but caution must be used to make sure you don’t do these types of workouts too often, which can cause overuse injuries and general fatigue since so many different muscle groups are being activated.
Cut-Downs: Start at an arbitrary distance… say 1600meters and then cut down another arbitrary distance, like 400meters, per repeat w/ varying active rests based on what the athlete is trying to accomplish through the workout. Can easily be oriented for distance or speed/sprint.
The tables can be a bit difficult to read at first. From left to right they read as such:
- Easy Runs & Long Runs pace per kilometer followed by pace per mile
- MP means Marathon Pace and the time shown is pace per mile
- (T)Threshold Pace includes repetitions of 400, 1000 and one mile
- I(Interval Pace) includes reps of 400, 1000, 1200 and mile but the longest rep time is 5:00 so if your ability level doesn't allow you to cover that much distance in say... the 1000, 1200 or mile... then a time is not shown and you should just go for 5:00 MAX.
- R(Rep Pace) includes reps of 200, 400 and 800 with the same process of "time limit" surpassing distance ran. If you can't cover an 800 meter rep in 2:30 or under than a rep is not shown and you should just run for 2:30 MAX for those types of reps.