This program would suit an Intermediate level runner who is looking to take about 10% off their 10km PB. Not an easy task but this schedule, with the right nutrition, will help achieve it. The three best predictors of running performance are VO2 Max, a measurement of one’s maximal aerobic capacity, Lactate Threshold the point at which blood lactate levels rise considerably and Running Economy which is the energy demand for a given velocity of submaximal running. This intermediate schedule addresses all 3 factors.
The VO2 Max Intervals on Tuesdays are very intense and therefore require sufficient recovery between reps. A work-recovery ratio of 1:1 is recommended, During the recovery phase Dynamic Stretches can be undertaken such as Hip Swings and various Speed, Agility, Quickness (SAQ) movements but NO static stretching until all reps are completed.
Following this demanding workout is a Recovery session on the Wednesday. An easy 5km with a warm-up built in followed by an S & C program which may include exercises such as Single Leg Deadlifts, Lunges, Step-Ups, etc. and core exercises to strengthen the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. It is not necessary to dedicate an entire hour to core work and finally NO weights machines instead stick to dumbells, barbells, kettle bells, cables, and bodyweight exercises. A personalised S & C program can reduce the incidence and severity of running related injuries by addressing biomechanical issues and can also improve running economy. Finish off with Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) by using a Foam Roller or Grid to work on the myofascia starting with the thoracic spine and then moving onto the quads, adductors, ITB and piriformis.
Back to work on the Thursday with tough Lactate Intervals. These are extremely tough and you will be glad of your recovery day to prepare for this, The work-recovery ratio is 1:4 and can be done at the track with a 400m sprint followed by walking around the track or by running full speed up hill followed by a slow walk down. 2 weeks of incline walking will help prepare the tibialis and peroneal muscles around the lower leg and help reduce the intensity of the delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that you will get with these intervals. DO NOT skip your recovery or rush it. Amateur runners do not often over-train but they are guilty of continually under-recovering!
You will need the REST DAY on Friday. IT must be stressed this is not a recovery day, this is not a ‘I’ll just do a gentle 5k day’, today is ‘DO NOTHING AT ALL DAY’ and ignore that advice at your peril as your risk of injury will increase as will certain levels of inflammatory chemicals within your bloodstream plus your immune system will need a break.
A nice TEMPO run on Saturday to get back into the swing of things. This will also help lactate tolerance as you encourage the body to create an environment within the working tissues that can create lactate but reuse it as an energy source more effectively than before so you can work harder at lower heart rates. Don’t be encouraged to work too hard here. A little panting, the heart rate up, nice and warm with a bit of a sweat on but working just under threshold.
Sunday is LONG RUN day. These runs will improve the performance of your slow-twitch muscle fibres and create more mitochondria, the powerhouses of your muscle fibres. You are also training your body to use fat as the primary substrate, the main energy source. This is important. If you use up your glycogen stores, your carb stores to fast and too soon you will be stuffed. Don’t hit this run too hard and don’t finish with a sprint. You have done all your speed work this week. You should feel like you still have gas in the tank when you hit the shower. Stick to the program and don’t mix it up and I promise that you will get faster.