Just like you need to know what your 1 rep max weight is when you weight lift in order to scale your volume and create your rep scheme for weight lifting variations, you also need to know what your mile pace is in order to scale your mileage and gauge your pace for speed intervals and training runs.
I want you to remember that running long distances and having high mileage doesn’t necessarily make you a Boston Marathon Qualifier. Yes, accumulating mileage will help you complete the race. But in what condition? I, like many runners, have hit “the wall.” You don’t want to hit this wall, and I want to help you to not do that.
For me, when I run, I have three different types of “speed jargon” I use:
Tempo Running: Tempo running, I would suggest, is about 70%-80% of your max speed for an all out mile time. So if your fastest mile time is 6:30, you would be running the “tempo” part of the run at roughly 7:00 minute mile pace.
Sprint: This is your 400M Pace – If your fastest mile time is 6:30, your sprint speed is a 5:15-5:30 mile pace.
X% effort: Whenever I say “80% effort” or “60% effort” This is based off your average mile time. So if I say “I want you to give me 3 minutes at 80% effort” and you run an 8 minute mile on average, I would want your pace to be around a 7:00 to 6:30 minute mile pace.
2. Types of Training Terrain I Typically Use:
Flat Course for Speed Intervals: This could be pavement, grass, or a track; regardless, 100% of this ground should be flat
Hilly Course for Distance Runs: The elevation on this course should be an EVEN amount of downhill and uphill (50/50). If it has any more than the other, than it should be more uphill than downhill.
Flat Course for Distance Runs: This is a flat course for your distance runs (90% flat)
1 Hill that is at least 200M long: Find a hill that is at least 200M in length (uphill)
4. Shoes and Injuries:
Not so much for the actual run, but more so to prevent long term injury. Yes, you want the shoe that fits well, but you also want the shoe that prevents long term wear and tear on your body.
In order to know what shoe best fits you, you need you have to have a better understanding of your body’s biomechanics. A.K.A. the mechanical laws relating to the movement or structure of how you are made up.
There are 3 things you need to look for when finding the right shoe for your body.
- How high is your arch?
- What are your motion mechanics? (underpronator, overpronator, normal)
- How does your foot strike the ground? (Ball first, heel first, midfoot, extreme heel to toe)
5. Strength Training:
Incorporating a strength training program, or cross training, into your existing running regiment is critical if you have plans on becoming an injury-free, fast runner.
You have to have a comprehensive plan when it comes to training for anything over 13.1 miles. This also means, that in terms of running, you have to switch up the elevation, the intensity, and the speed. According to Runner’s World, “Multiple studies show that regular strength training can improve running economy-how efficiently the body uses oxygen-by as much as eight percent, translating into greater speed and more muscle endurance.”
Adding a lifting or strength training cycle to an existing running regiment will make you a better runner. This type of cross training makes you more powerful and more efficient. It will also decrease the amount of time spent running, limiting the risk of injury.
Dr. Oliveria, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando states, “If you’re training for a marathon or a half-marathon, you’ve got to build up the mileage slowly and not do a long run every day, back to back,” he says. You might do a three-mile jog one day, then the next day do some cross training to build up leg strength and hip strength; maybe the next day do your longer run, and then take a day off, he says. “[Your routine should] depend on your level of experience and your goal, using pain and soreness as your guide,” he says. “If you’re very sore the day after a run, it would not be wise to go for a run that day,” he says.
I like that he says using “pain and soreness as your guide.” This is true for running and lifting. When you work out, essentially, you are breaking down your muscles. So the rest days allows for your muscles to have time to recover in order to rebuild; making you a stronger athlete. If you don’t have this recovery time, you will never get stronger. This is why lifting cycles, and 1 rep max percentages are imperative to know and understand.
For example, shin splints come from putting to much pressure on your tibia bone. Although, the reason you are getting shin splints isn’t necessarily because you run too much, its because the muscles around your bone aren’t strong enough to withstand the pressure put on your tibia.
Bones grow stronger in response to muscles growing stronger. It goes hand in hand.
According to Runner’s World, “if you are a serious runner and would like to run faster or farther you need greater strength endurance—especially of the hip flexor muscles—to be able to drive the thigh forward the same way and through the same range of motion (ROM) on each stride in order to maintain your speed. From analyzing hundreds of runners from the 1500 meters and longer, the number-one reason for slowing down is the inability to continually drive the thigh forward through the same ROM.”
Improving range of motion through hip joint flexion, hip joint extension, and ankle mobility exercises will make your runs smoother and effortless.
If you want to get faster, you need to start doing joint-specific strength exercises or lifts that use the same neuromuscular pathways as running. Incorporating a strength conditioning program into your existing running regiment that duplicates the neuromuscular usage of the aerobic and anaerobic pathways is how you become a better, more efficient athlete.
Start Doing: Cleans, back squats, deadlifts, and snatches.