06-30-2014

3 Workouts For Beginner Runners

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 8.45.26 PM

Hey everyone! While I’m away in Paraguay, I wanted to let my running coach Marc take over a few posts for me. He’s really knowledgeable on all things running, so I figured why not let him write about some running tips. Enjoy!

*****************

It’s Coach Marc and I’m taking over Patty’s blog while she’s on vacation!  Today, we are going to talk about 3 great workouts for (beginner) runners.

The first workout that all new runners should do is fartlek (Swedish for speed play).  Fartleks can be unstructured or structured – the choice is yours!  Unstructured fartleks work something like this…: Warm up with 10-20 minutes of easy running, then pick a place (parked car, tree, lamp post, etc) in the distance and run at a faster pace towards it; the recovery is the next object you choose.  Go in this fashion until you’ve decided you’ve had enough.  The structured fartlek is very much the same, however, in this case you can use a watch as your guide.  Say, for example, 3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy and repeat that for 10-15 times.  Either way, you’re getting in some faster running and taking a break in between each one.

Hills are another great workout for runners.  Whether the hills are long or short, steep or gradual, you can get a great workout in.  For early season, I suggest doing longer hills at a steady pace (think 10k to half marathon).  As you get into your season, you can switch from longer & steady to shorter & faster.  This will help generate power and speed that will propel you to faster times.

400s are another great workout because you can find a track anywhere and do anything from speed work to threshold & tempo runs around a track.  Below are the three main types of workouts you can do that are 400 meters in length.

For speed workouts, you’ll certainly want lots of recovery.  The amount of them you do should be based on the amount of miles you run in a week.  Typically speed workouts should be no longer than about 5-8% of your weekly mileage.  

Interval workouts should be done at 5k pace and require roughly the same amount of recovery as the repeat took.  For example, if you do a 400 in 80 seconds, you should recover (jog) between 70 and 90 seconds.  The amount of interval 400s you do, again depends on the amount of miles you run in a week with the general rule being no more than 8% of your weekly mileage.  

Threshold workouts are the primary workouts for marathoners and are done at a comfortably hard pace.  This pace is usually 10k though marathon pace.  With threshold, you don’t need a ton of recovery because the pace isn’t all that fast or taxing.  Typically a 5 minutes of threshold to 1 minute of recovery is the standard amount of work:recovery time.  As with speed and interval, threshold work should be done, but with no more than 10-15% of your weekly mileage.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 8.50.43 PM

Whatever type of runner you are, fartleks, hills and 400s should always be a staple in your workout routine.  They are three great ways to build strength and stamina that will prepare you to run fast in your next race.

*****************

For more workout ideas and running tips, make sure to follow Marc on Facebook, and on Twitter or visit his website.

Which of these workouts are your favorite? I love hill intervals and 400s :)

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

03-27-2014

Speed & Agility Drill

This quick workout/drill was inspired by a video I saw on STACK’s “13 Fitness Challenges That Will Destroy You.” It’s the “Triangle Drill” video, and you’ll need a partner to help you out.

Speed and Agility Partner Drill

Photo Source: compfight CC

My brother and I were working out yesterday and I said to him we need to try this drill, especially because he is a soccer player and wants to improve. He has a game this weekend so I thought this was the perfect time to test his speed and agility and for him to see how he can get faster.

The video in the STACK article is done in an athletic facility with turf…not all of us have access to that. So here’s what we did:

We went into a training room in our gym, and set up 3 medicine balls in a triangle. You might think a room would be too small (we initially did too), but you will definitely be thankful it’s not bigger once you start! I talk about how we did the actual drill a bit further down in this post.

The instructions in the video stated:

The Triangle Drill Challenge is a variation of a drill we use to develop speed and reaction time. But the challenge component causes further fatigue and improves decision-making during high-pressure situations during a game.

How To: Perform the drill as demonstrated in the video below. Choose a work-to-rest ratio that simulates your sport. If you’re a football player, work for about 10 seconds and rest for about 30 seconds.

So we set up the 3 medicine balls, and I told him which ones were numbered 1,2 and 3. He had to do the work for 60 seconds, and then take a 60 second break while I went. I stood there and said random numbers while also taking a tally of how many times he touched each medicine ball.

FORM

In the video, the athlete simply (well, it’s not so simple) quickly shuffles/sprints to each cone. This is how we changed it up a bit:

Sprint/shuffle to each medicine ball, then keeping a flat back (proper form for anything), squat down and quickly tap the ball, squat back up then get back to the center and wait for your partner to yell the next number.

Start with doing 30 seconds of work, and work your way up to a minute. I was so beat by the end of a minute! You will work your legs, core, and your heart rate will be through the roof. We repeated it 3x. Yes, it’s only a total of 3 minutes but it’s hard! Do it for as long as you feel like.

BENEFITS

So, “Why should I do a speed & agility drill?” you may ask. If you play a sport, it will obviously help with your speed and agility (duh), and quickness of mental decisions. But even if you don’t play a sport, it will help you build explosiveness and quickness, which is important all around.

As a runner, I realized the hardest part for me was side shuffles and back pedaling. No clue how I didn’t trip over my own feet. This is a great exercise for runners because we are constantly moving in one plane. This forces us to exercise in other planes, which will help build core stability.

Did you play sports in high school or college? I played club lacrosse in college and remember doing similar drills – running backwards is so hard!

Let me know if you try it out!

********************************

Follow Reach Your Peak:

04-08-2013

What’s My “Best Run?”

I recently found a new blogger to follow, Miss Zippy, and she just posted about one of her best runs…and asked others to share theirs.

The past few days, my runs haven been “eh.” Just feeling heavy and slow. But I had a “best run” on Friday when I did an awesome track workout!

Friday’s track workout consisted of a 1 mile warm up, 8×400 meters, and a 1 mile cooldown. My running coach told me to run them at 9:30 pace. I wanted to run them at 9:20 pace. Guess what I did? 9 minutes per mile pace!

I felt great, though after the first few I was afraid I was going too fast and would burn out. Totally didn’t! I only had 35 seconds to job in between laps. I felt amazing and while it was moderately challenging, it was nothing that made me feel like “OMG this is SO hard.”

My half marathon goal pace (for a race in May) is 9-9:15 minute per mile. I really don’t know if that is feasible, but I’m willing to put in the work to try to get there! Here are my splits

Lap 1: 2:09

Lap 2: 2:13

Lap 3: 2:13

Lap 4: 2:15

Lap 5: 2:15

Lap 6: 2:14

Lap 7: 2:13

Lap 8: 1:49 <–I always like to push myself on the last rep.

This track workout left me feeling confident and like I have actually gained a little bit of speed! Now I just need to be able to maintain that for longer distances. I know this means more tempo runs (which I really do not like). But you gotta do what you gotta do I guess!

What has been a recent “best run” for you?? Share yours and link it up at Miss Zippy’s blog!

Follow Reach Your Peak: