While circulating through my favorite blogs, I pulled up Mark Hadley's Blog. After just a few minute of reading, I quickly realized that Mark's suggested race week cut down workout looked very familiar. Well, except for the 400 meter loop, it was very similar.
Mark suggested a race week cut-down work-out where a runner goes through a set of intervals each one getting progressively shorter and faster. He goes into great detail describing the distance and the prescribed speed to execute these intervals. The link above will lead you to his post. Please take the opportunity to read it.
That being said, with just a few small twists, it is the same workout that I will be doing tomorrow morning.
My workout-out is based on time rather than distance. Tomorrow, I will be running 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 minute intervals with ½ recoveries. I prefer this method of training because it is more effort based. And I have become a big believer in effort based training. The ability to read how your body feels and to know that there is more in the tank is an important attribute that each runner needs to learn.
Also by taking intervals on to the road, I am better able to simulate the same conditions that I will encounter during a race. Races have flats, uphills, downhills, twist and turns in the road. Learning how to tackle these obstacles while running hard is just as important as teaching your body to run faster.
But the thought process behind the two different styles of workouts is exactly the same – to run each interval slightly faster but leave the body at a point where it wants to do more.
On side note, the other advantage, time and effort based workouts are that they can be plugged into just about anything from a general aerobic day, a tempo run, or a long run. On several occasions, I have added this particular workout that I am doing tomorrow during a 22 miler. Once I finished the workout, the training pace felt so much easier.
Before I wrap up, I want to add one more comment. I don't want to people take it that I am against track workouts. Indeed, they have their place. But just like every runner is unique, the style of training that works best for them is just as unique. For me, the roads work best.
Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner