Friday, April 8, 2011

Combo Workouts

I get super giddy whenever my new issue of Runner's World arrives, and usually (like last night) end up staying awake way later than intended, ignoring the fact that it will still be there to read the next day. It gives me new ideas to vary training and work outs, and as an added bonus, breeds blog posts (which is helpful when I'm coming off basically a 2 week haitus and have writer's block).

In this issue there is an article on combo workouts and how these certain type of workouts can address specific training needs. The article states that "doubling up is great for targeting different systems in one workout-speed, strength, mental toughness and more-which makes you fitter and better prepared for race day."

Although I won't be trying any of these workouts this week while we're in the midst of tapering for our ten miler on Sunday, (the "government shut-down pending" 10 miler) I think tackling a few of these over the next month would be a good addition to our training and a way to mix things up.

The first one mentioned, and the most applicable to those training for a half or full marathon, is the long run + goal pace. To start, begin your long run at a pace about a minute slower than your race goal pace. Once you are two-thirds into your run, speed up to goal pace or even faster and maintain through the final miles. The benefits of this workout are that it allows you to practice race pace with less risk of injury since the faster portion is shorter, and gets your body accustomed to running harder on fatigued legs.

Run + Strength + Run is the workout I'll likely try first. Sandwich a lower body strength workout (squats/lunges/leg extensions and curls) between two easy two to three mile runs. In this workout you will create the "heavy leg" feeling and simulate race day muscle fatigue without having to put in the long mileage. The attraction here for me is that it breaks up two workouts that can sometimes feel monotonous to me, but I know are necessary.

Hills + 800s are great to improve form and fitness. Pulled straight from the article: "Combining a hilly route with half-mile repeats elevates your heart rate, which can improve your aerobic capacity. Plus on long slow runs we can get sloppy with our form; short, fast ones' clean up our form by teaching our bodies to find the most efficient way to run." Yes please. I often times worry that my form is lacking as my distance increases, hoping this can create some muscle memory for those longer runs.

The article (which can also be found online here) goes on to mention a few others that I won't continue to regurgitate here. I'm more interested to know if you've found success with any of these specifically mentioned, or perhaps you have some others to share that work for you? I'm coachable....even if I might not fully understand the lingo of "hill repeats" (pretty sure it just means you run up hill, rinse, repeat...)

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