Monday, 2 May 2011

40 minute super workouts - No2

Workout No 2 - The Crescendo

This workout has the ultimate stamp of approval - its a staple of the kenyan endurance runners and I learned how to do it during a training spell in Nyahururu a few years ago. The Kenyan version lasts up to an hour but you can do it very well in 40 minutes.

Spend the first 15 minutes of your 40 easing into the run and getting yourself nicely warmed up.

Then you start the crescendo. The first time you do this run its probably helpful to think in 5 minute steps for the effort you want to run. And I say 'effort' rather than pace because as you know if you are tired or fresh the pace will vary from day to day for the same effort. This is how I would distribute the effort to start with:
1st 5mins = 30secs mile slower than marathon pace
2nd 5 mins = 15secs/mile slower than marathon pace
3rd 5 mins = marathon pace
4th 5mins = half marathon pace (approx 15sec/mile faster than MP)

Spend the last 5 minutes of your run at an easy pace to cool down before finishing.
This level of effort should leave you feeling invigorated rather than wiped out and provides a really nice aerobic stimulus - the effort builds towards your threshold (pace you can sustain for one hour).

Crucially it also has a couple of other benefits. Psychologically it prepares you for running faster as a run goes on which is what you would ideally do in a race. How can you expect to pick the pace up in a race if you haven't practiced it regularly in training ? And secondly the increasing pace challenges the muscles to work in a different way as the run evolves - you get a different stimulus than if you just run a constant pace.

The progression for this type of run would be to increase the starting speed so that you are running the 20mins from marathon pace to a little slower than 10k race pace for the last couple of minutes. And run it as a continuous crescendo rather than 5 minute blocks. Remember you are looking to learn to feel the pace here.

And a final word. The day you turn this workout into a time trial i.e trying to beat your time from last week or your 'course record' is the day you are on the road to ruin. Indeed I like to use a different route so that I avoid any temptation to compare !