shoes in the snow cropRejoice for the light has returned! … except for those of us who run in the morning :-[ … and thus, we will be rekindling the Wednesday evening group meetups at the Nauset Middle School track beginning this Wednesday, 19 March, at 5:30pm. This week’s run will be a light 3 miles at an easy pace, just to get us back on the track and moving. If you’d like to go further or faster and want to grab a body or two to go with you, have at it. There will be at least one coach-in-residence to answer questions, help with form and efficiency, and suggest workouts but there will be no structured workouts for a week or two until folks have a few regular miles in their legs. See you there!

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After last week’s long intervals, it’s now time for some 5K/5M race tuning and a little bit of strength work. To facilitate neuromuscular activation, that is, getting the brain and the central nervous system more in tune with what we’re trying to do with our muscles, we need to focus on very short, very intense work intervals. Because it takes between 25 and 35 seconds for your body to catch up to an applied stress, we’ll keep our work intervals at 30 seconds and then jog or walk for 30 seconds to recover. After that, hit the hills for some strength adaptation. Find a hill that you can comfortably run up within about 20 steps, again, nothing longer than 30 seconds. Now alternate running, leaping and skipping on each climb and repeat 4 times. Use your arms to drive you up the hill. Be sure to do a full dynamic warm up prior to embarking on today’s session.

10’ jog warm up
dynamic warm up: leg swings, walking drills, dynamic upper body stretches
10 x 30s x 30s @ 110%
dynamic stretches: leg swings, walking drills
4 x hill triplet (run, leap, skip)
10’ jog cool down

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Race season is now heartily upon us. Let’s make those 5K and 5 mile races a little more bearable by getting used to race pace for extended periods. Today’s workout simulates a race with 2 x 1 mile repeats separated by a full 800m recovery. Target your work interval pace at just a few seconds per mile faster than your goal race pace. For 5 milers and longer distance racers, do 3 or 4 mile repeats. After fully recovering from the last mile repeat, remind your legs how to move quickly with 4 x 100m accelerations.

10’ warm up
2(3) x 1 mile @ goal pace x 800m {full rest}
4 x 100m accelerations
10’ cool down
walking drills

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There are two key speed workouts that should be in every runner’s weekly plan, the high-speed neuromuscular triggering work which focuses on intense intervals of 30 seconds or less, and the so-called ‘threshold’ run which optimizes your body’s ability to fuel the muscles with primarily aerobic energy pathways. The keystone of the ‘threshold’ run is a 20 minute work interval at 5K race pace. Half- and full-marathoners should do 2 work intervals separated by about 5 minutes jogging.

10’ warm up
20’ @ 5K race pace
10’ cool down
5 x strides
walking drills

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Learning how to run fast on tired legs is crucial for the finishing phase of your 5K and 5 mile races. As you come to the finish, you’ll be surging, attacking, fending off attacks, and shifting into your finishing kick. A descending ladder will train you to run faster as you fatigue through the workout. Half- and full-marathoners should do 2 or 3 sets of the workout. This very simple descending ladder can be tweaked into any number of permutations and distances – just keep the general progression of longer to shorter work intervals. Based on lap counts, we call this one the ‘4 3 2 1’ workout.

10’ warm up
1 x 1600, 1 x 1200, 1 x 800, 1 x 400 @ 5K and faster
jog 400m between, 800m after the first mile if needed
10’ cool down
5 x strides
walking drills

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This week we continue our pursuit of our 5K goal race pace and will add a little distance, up to 4 x 1200m with a 400m rest interval. Last week we paid special attention to lifting our knees high and letting gravity do the work of getting our legs down again. This week, focus on your arms and upper body: arms swinging straight and not crossing your center line, thumbs touching the seam of your shorts and your ears, elbows comfortably relaxed at about an 80 degree angle, and a strong upright chest. Visualize ski poles in your hands that you drive into the ground to propel you along with every stride.

10’ warmup
4 x 1200m x 400m @ 5K goal pace
10’ cooldown
drills, 5 x strides

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Our focus is back on endurance training for the next few weeks. We’re going to hammer in your 5K goal race pace and make it seem easy when you get to race day. This week, we’ll do 3 x 1200m with a 400m rest interval. If you need to take a little extra rest before the next work interval, take it. You should be starting each work interval fully rested. As usual, don’t forget to wrap up with our standard set of drills and 3-5 75m strides.

10’ warmup
3 x 1200m x 400m @ 5K goal pace
10’ cooldown
drills, 5 x strides

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