Thursday, July 31, 2008
The hardcore GPP believers feel that one can train for a marathon, triathlon, or even an ultra by doing little more than GPP exercises Crossfit, cross training, metabolic conditioning weight training, etc.
My question is this. Can a runner who is already in ultra aerobic condition, but injured to the point that 50+ mile weeks are out of the question, train for and successfully complete an ultradistance race (50-100 miles) on a combination of GPP and sport specific training?
How about a plan like this:
- M-F: GPP training (cycling, rowing, metabolic conditioning, swimming, crossfit, sprinting, hill repeats, Tabata intervals, etc.)
- Sat-Sun: SPP (LSD, running on forgiving surfaces, long slow trail runs, etc.)
Total weekly mileage would be around 30-40 miles, all from two or three runs.
Is it possible?
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Sprinting makes me Burpee.
Jog to park
5x220, 20 second rest
5x220, 20-30 second rest
1 more 220m sprint for good measure
Jog/walk back to start.
That's 1.5 miles of 95% effort sprinting. And quite a fun workout.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
- Run 2.25 miles to park
- 5 repeats up and down steep grassy hill (about 100 yards in length)
- 50 push-ups in sets of 10, resting in plank position
- Run back to downtown.
Total distance about 5 miles. It was 95-degrees hot.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I hear many runners, ultra or not, lament that they just keep getting slower and they don't understand why. The most obvious reason (beside the inevitable fact that we are getting older) is that their training is day after day after day of slow running. Specificity is a key principle. You have to train long to run long. You also have to train fast (sometimes) to run fast. There are, however, other principles.
Tabata (or sprinting in general), I believe, has a place in any athlete's toolbox. Sure sprinting down a football field at 100% effort 8 times might not be the best interval workout to improve ultradistance speed. But just try it once and tell me honestly that you don't think it would improve fitness. Studies show that it improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness quicker than steady-state exercise.
Ultrarunning is oxidative, and it does require "training in the oxidative pathway." But the argument that some ultra-endurance athletes who have adopted the "Crossfit principles" are making is that strength also plays a role in ultradistance performance and recovery.
The strength that I get from sprinting, squats, pushups and other bodyweight exercises might not directly help my endurance. But will I be better off 19 hours into a hundred miler than my fellow runner who has done nothing more than run LSD? I think so.
Another aspect of this type of crosstraining is that it keeps running interesting. Go out for your daily run or even your LSD, but halfway through it, drop down and do 30 pushups, or sprint HARD up that hill a couple times, or run up and down those steps 5 times. Then finish your run. You are still getting the oxidative training, but you are also having fun. One of my running buddies today told me that her running was feeling kind of stale. But she also said that today's workout was a lot of fun. Which brings me to today's workout.
- Warmup Jog to the park (1.25 miles)
- 5 x 200 yard sprints (95% effort up and down a groomed soccer field) rest 30 seconds between sprints
- 50 pushups
- 50 squats (bodyweight only)
- 50 situps or crunches
- 5 x 200 yard sprints (rest 30 seconds between sprints)
- Cooldown Jog/walk back to starting point.
It was a little more than 4 miles of running -- about what we would normally do during a group lunch run. But it included over a mile of sprinting. And it was fun. And if it helps me run a better ultra, then that's icing on the cake.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
You might be surprised.
Crossfit Endurance is a group of endurance athletes, Ironmen and ultramarathoners who believe that LSD does little more than slow us down and make us look like a bunch of overaged, emaciated drug addicts. I don't know about the drug addict part (I look more like an overaged beer drinker), but I have preached for years that too much long slow running will turn us all into long slow runners.
Consider this quote from Crossfit Endurance specialist, Brian Mackenzie:
While our approach starts with mechanics, it is based on strength and conditioning... Or CrossFit. The endurance training is a supplement. Our athletes eat the conventional endurance geeks for lunch every time... And we have story after story that explains how their friends either stayed the same, got slower and can't walk after the race. When we are the exact opposite. On almost a 1/3 of the training. How is this not a better approach?
Endurance geeks? And this teaser from the Crossfit Endurance site:
Why should I start training this way?
Are your times CONSISTENTLY getting faster at ALL distances (what was your last 5k time compared to a year ago)?
How high can you jump? (Many marathoners cannot jump onto a 12 inch box).
How many push ups/pull ups/squats/etc can you do? We can do more.
Have you or are you suffering from chronic use injuries (plantar fasciatis, IT Syndrome, runners knee, etc)?
How many hours do you train a week? How many hours does your spouse/family wish you trained? (This program only requires 6-8 hours per week to COMPETE at Ultra/Ironman distances.
Hmmm. Want to learn more about how running shorter and faster *could* make us better ultrarunners? Conditioning Research has a nice post on this very subject.
From my own personal experience, I've incorporated more "crossfit" style workouts into my overall training in the last year, with positive results (e.g., PRs at some tough races, more muscle, less fat) averaging just under 40-miles of running per week. That doesn't prove anything, and I'm not about to give up those epic-long training runs, but I am sold on the idea that too much LSD makes a long slow runner.
Try it for two weeks, and judge for yourself. I'll post a daily workout (not Crossfit per se, but something along those lines), follow along if you want. You might be sore at first... but soreness turns into strength. Strength turns into PRs in running, and other places too.
Run hard out there, and run long too. But run harder more than you run longer.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Watch it. Stretch and do sit-ups/push-ups during alternating commercial breaks. Keep track of how many you do, and let me know!
Update: Great stage! I did a sprint interval workout before, then 200 each push-ups and sit-ups. Fun stuff.
Run hard out there...
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Here's the protocol:
Run at 100% effort for 20 seconds
(that's a bit longer than a football field for me)
rest for 10 seconds
Repeat for a total of 8 repetitions.
Emphasize 100% effort and be strict on the 10 seconds of rest.
It's a 4-minute all out, minimal-rest workout that will leave you grabbing your knees.
Studies have shown that this protocol alone will boost aerobic and anaerobic fitness quicker than steady-state exercise. Skeptical? Try it for yourself. Or at least google it. At a minimum, it will improve your speed. I've been doing these sporadically for over a year now, and my running has improved at all distances.
Anyway, I digress. So here was the workout today:
Jog to the park (1.5 miles)
50 air squats (body weight only)
another set of Tabata sprints.
Jog back to start (1.5 miles)
We did our sprints along the length of a very well groomed soccer field. It was so smooth -- one of the kindest running surfaces we have around town. Over the course of the workout, we did 16 lengths of that field -- or about a mile of all out sprinting. Then we walked home. Literally. We did not want to run for more than 2 blocks at a time after this one.
It was one of the hardest (and most rewarding) workouts I have done in a while, and it only lasted 45 minutes from door to door. The hard part lasted less than 20 minutes. But then there was the EPOC (excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption: the part that leaves you huffing and sweating as you are changing back into your street clothes). That's all part of the protocol and one of the reasons it works. Your cardiovacular activity is elevated, as it would be in steady state running, even as you are standing in the shower. It's the same thing you might feel after a hard 5k. If you really run it hard. One of my running mates was still sweating 20 minutes after returning to the office. Tabata. EPOC. What a way to spend a lunch hour.
Run hard out there...
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Run hard out there...
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
July 12, meet at noon for run from Elliott's Knob to Rte 250. We will figure out cars, etc. as it approaches. Should be fairly easy to do so. Total run, 24 miles or so.
Saturday July 19 Trayfoot Loop in SNP (near C'Ville) 21 miles, 4,000+ feet of climb.
Sunday July 20, TWOT loop, 25 miles, 8,000 feet of climb.
Saturday Aug 2, repeats of Elliotts Knob. I want to run as many as I can in three hours.
Sat/Sun Aug 9, 10 Horton is planning a Gstone training run (I think).
Sat Aug 16 Dennis is directing JET 50 (Jerkemtight 50 mile) on the original Gstone course (south of Rte 250).
Labor Day weekend Aug 30, 31...
Sat. run from TWOT parking to Grindstone turn-around and back (30 miles).
Sunday run a loop of TWOT (25 miles).
September 13 or 14: Priest/Three Ridges (24 miles).