Thursday, 13 October 2011

Becoming a Stronger Runner or Nordic Skier

Some thoughts on the keys to becoming a stronger runner or nordic skier.

As a runner or nordic skier looking to maximize your chances of having your best ever performance, you should aim to train everyday and if you are looking to maximize your performance even further train every day and gradually work your way up to 13 training sessions per week, training twice a day Monday through Saturday, and once on Sunday. The morning sessions should last between 18 and 24 minutes and the evening sessions should last between 24 and 90 minutes for a total of approximately 45 to 120 minutes per day. The only workout lasting longer than 90mins would be your simulation workouts and those should be scheduled every four to six weeks depending on your goal event.
Team Exspirt tearing up the track!
Slow movements don't help you become a better runner or skier, move at your best possible speed for the distance being run, in every movement, every day, every time you head out the door. The more you do it, the more natural it feels, and your body accepts it.

Beginners should start out with 6 to 24 minute recovery workouts for 3-4 weeks so that technique and strength becomes a natural rhythm. Running fitness takes between two and ten months to develop with beginners, with an average of around six months.
Hammering to the finish!
The system we use at the shop involves only four workouts, intervals, cruise runs, recovery runs and simulation runs of various lengths and intensities. Each of the workouts involves running the set distance at your best possible pace while maintaining relaxed fluid running form with no strain and without fading over the last half of the workout.

As well as these four main workouts you will find plenty of core strength, squats, chin ups, push ups and mobility work.
Team Exspirt out for trail intensity!
You never know what you're capable of on any given day. You simply can't listen to your body before you set out for your training because you will most likely always feel tired and look to the couch, but once you start training after six minutes you will start to warm up and feel great and strong. If you wait for a day to train when you feel good, you'll train about twice a year:-). Those days are rare. Your mind plays tricks on you. Learn to ignore it and keep training. If after the six minute warm up you still feel run down replace the days workout with a recovery workout or reduce the pace of the workout to match your fitness for the day. While focusing on speed and short workouts you will rarely run down and have sickness.

Don't take days off if you have access to training and even if you're incredibly sore, lace up and complete the workout at a reduced effort. This will help the adaptation process progress faster. Failing to train daily leads to more injuries, due to the inconsistent recovery rates amongst different tissues. Daily training is training under fatigued muscles. If you take days off, the muscles recover faster than other soft-tissues, which increases the likelihood of injury.
Team Norway time trialing!
When you train twice a day, you don't get as tight and don't need much stretching. Stretching is done while warming up and by completing the first two intervals and your last two intervals of each interval session in the 70-85% range.

You surely won't PR every workout, sometimes not for months. Keep pushing both intensity and volume to continue progress. If you can't take the tree down with one swing, keep taking smaller swings and it will eventually fall. Although there may be extended times where speed stagnates or even decreases, the general goal is to slowly increase your speed every few months.

Different workouts place different stresses on the body, so workouts have different paces. For the most part, cruise runs are easier on the body than intervals and are paced slower than your interval workouts but are still done with speed in mind. Running fast daily is no problem, but max intervals is too strenuous and for this reason the intervals are done every other day.
Coach, whats the warm up?
For peaking before competition, frequency stays the same (daily), but volume and intensity are reduced. Volume reductions begin eight days out, and intensity reductions begin 2-5 days out from competition. You're always giving it your all, but when you're tired the pace will be slower. The effort and desire mimic the competition, but since you're fresh at a meet the pace will be faster. This is the key to the system, when you rest before a meet you're not getting stronger, it's just that now you're finally able to pull together all of your power to use on the same day. In training, PR's come on anytime. The resting/peaking allows you to assume that you can hit the PR's on any given day and lets you stack the cards in your favor for the greatest chance of success.

Next week we will talk squats and what they can do for you as a runner or skier:-)