Monday, 9 December 2013

Some thoughts on your winter training

Here are some thoughts on your winter training from a running and nordic perspective.

Run Training
As one training-competition season ends, it’s appropriate to reflect back on that season to review the causes-effects of what you did, and project to the future on how you can get even better results.

Coaching/training/competition is 50% science and 50% art. Your training program, and running the fastest even pace possible in competition, provides the science. The science is what determines your progress resulting from training, and your performances in competition. The “art” is how you apply that science.
"Three, two, one, go!"
As a brief summary, here’s a review of the Scientific Principles of Training-Adaptation:
  • “The body adapts to the applied stresses.”  -You train, and your body adapts to the training to enable improved performances.
  • The adaptations are specific to the applied stresses.”  - You adapt specific to what you do in training.  If you properly train speed, speed endurance, and specific endurance, your performances will improve significantly.  If you train at or slower than your current best race pace, you will not be able to adapt to run faster.  For example, competing does not improve future performances; because you are running at your current race pace, not your objective race pace.  Competing is to measure your progress, not aid future performances. 
  • “The body will only adapt to an unaccustomed stimulus.”  - As previously implied, you will only positively adapt to training faster and harder than you are able to currently in competitions.
  • “Adaptation occurs during recovery.”  - You stress the body through hard formal workouts, and then you adapt to those stresses over the next 48 to 72 hours if you limit the interim stresses to allow that to occur.
  • “Your body will positively adapt to the applied stresses as long as the stresses are not to great.”  -  If the stresses are too great, you will not adapt positively to those stresses, but will adapt negatively. Negative adaptation is caused by cumulative stresses, where full recovery-adaptation from previous hard training sessions are not complete before subsequent high stress sessions.  As important as the workouts are, allowing full recovery-adaptation between formal workouts is equally important.  So limit recovery day running volumes and intensities and if full recovery is still not achieved, limit those even further.

Race Selection Considerations for Runners
Unless you are running faster than previous best race pace (e.g., running 5k's, 10k's and 1/2 marathons in preparation for running a marathon, competitions do not aid physical development.  So, to maximize your development, emphasize training, and select competitions wisely. By selecting events wisely you can use the shorter events to help you better prepare for your longer goal events.

Nordic Training
As a nordic skier you are now well into your season and each of the above training principles applies to your training and racing. Even with the race calendar in full swing to maximize your development emphasize your training including strength training and select your competitions wisely to help you better prepare for your goal events latter in the winter.
"What's the warm up"
Race Selection Considerations for Nordic Skiers
Less developed athletes should compete more frequently (perhaps once per each 2 weeks), to better learn how to “compete”.  More developed athletes should compete less frequently (perhaps once per each month), and only at high levels avoiding the pressures of racing every weekend which negatively affects your training and future preparation.