Developing each the different energy systems to perform efficiently is the key to building better athletes. In this post I discussed how to address the different energy systems in the weight room. What follows will will be a series of posts that address energy system training on the track for long sprinters, i.e. 400, 600, and even maybe some 800m runners.
All running workouts are not created equal. The demands of acceleration are different the demands of speed and are different than the demands of endurance. As a result, I think of these three general categories when designing a running workout.
Within these three general categories, each can be broken down further into subcategories. Conditioning long sprinters will the focus of this post.
Endurance training or conditioning for the 400m runner can be broken down into two basic categories, tempo (extensive or intensive) or lactate tolerance, and each serve a different purpose.
There are actually two types of tempo, extensive and intensive. Think of extensive tempo as easy running (70-80% RPI) and intensive tempo a little harder (80-90% RPI).
Extensive Tempo Workouts
6 x 200m with 2-3 minute recovery between reps
8 x 150m with 2-3 minute recovery between reps
10 x 120m with 2-3 minute recovery between reps
12 x 100m with 203 minute recovery between reps
For out of shape athlete, these workouts are great to begging the process of getting in shape. For the well conditioned athlete, these workouts can be used on recovery days to flush the system and re-energize athletes.
Intensive Tempo Workouts
300m - 2 x 250m - 2 x 200m with 4-5 minutes recovery between reps
250m - 2 x 200m - 3 x 150m with 4-5 minutes recovery between reps
200m - 2 x 150m - 3 x 120m with 4-5 minutes recovery between reps
Because intensive tempo workouts are run slightly faster, I like a ladder of descending distances. This keeps the quality of the rep in terms of form and time high as the athlete gets more tired during the progression of the workout.
Lactate tolerance workouts develop the ability to tolerate lactic acid build up. What lactic acid is, how it accumulates, and the effects on the body are a topic for another day. For now, what we want to develop is the ability to run fast (90-95%) while lactic acid accumulates.
400m - 350m - 300m with 10-15 minutes recovery between reps
350m - 300m - 250m with 10-15 minutes recovery between reps
3 x 300m with 10-15 minutes recovery between reps
Take Away Points
The key to running conditioning workouts is to keep the goal in mind. When doing an extensive tempo workout, don't go so fast that it becomes intensive or even lactate tolerance.
A common mistake is to go out too fast on the first few reps and not be able to maintain that pace throughout the workout and thus making the it much harder than it was designed. As a general rule, it is better to start conservatively and then alter your effort as the workout progresses to achieve desired effect.
A common mistake it to run too fast. The first rep of a tempo workout should be run as fast as the last rep. Alter your pace accordingly.
Another common mistake is to alter the recovery times. If you are recovering very quickly from each rep, simply increase your speed. If recovery times are too short, slow your pace on the next rep.
Adjust your pace to keep the recovery times constant.