Monday, July 2, 2012

Speed for Endurance

The 10-20-30 Training Concept - Speed For Endurance

I'm an endurance runner, or a trail runner. I am not a speed runner. I like to go out on the trails - with no watch - and just cruz around until I feel tired. I might have an objective in terms of getting to the top of a peak, or hitting a pass, or something, but I rarely do any systematic speed workout. This year, as part of my training and racing - which has been a very new, and exciting endeavor - I've tried to do what I consider stamina runs or tempo runs at around the 10K distance once a week. This is really me hitting a fun ~10K loop that is relatively flat and where I work on going fast the entire time. The loop I do is about 7.2 miles and I try and do it in under 1 hour (at 9,000 feet). A previous study I noted discussed how the incorporation of resistance sessions in one's running and training could improve overall recovery and skeletal muscles from damage. There are a lot of types of resistance sessions one can incorporate into their running, but for me it has been my 10K fast loop and hills. Now another study has just come out that also lends some support to incorporating speed training into one's overall endurance training plan.

The study, entitled The 10-20-30 training concept improves performance and health profile in moderately trained runners looked at whether incorporating interval training with short 10-s near-maximal bouts could improve running performance and health of endurance runners. The authors found that yes, bringing in some speed workouts into your training can improve running performance and health. What is even more interesting is that by bringing in speed workouts, the runners increased their VO2max despite cutting back heavily on their weekly miles. As endurance runners, we are often concerned with the number of miles we get in per week, or prior to a race, but as this study shows, we could benefit from a bit of speed work while also cutting back on miles for that particular workout session. If you travel a lot, this information is particularly informative, as I've found myself in many a rural town for my work where the only running option was the local streets. Since I hate pavement, I've always had a really hard time trying to get in any kind of training that I could feel good about (since I was unwilling to put in miles running loops around some random town on pavement). However, next time I'm traveling I will not worry so much about the miles, but instead will think of my traveling runs as my speed workouts. According to the study, I should not lose any fitness, and in fact could even increase my VO2max and running performance by just doing some fast intervals on the local ball field. So, a little speed for a boost in endurance running.

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