If you are like most intense runners, the pinnacle of our training tends to lean on the endurance end of the long run. The short intense repeat training seems to take the back seat involving around 10 percent of the training curriculum. The bulk of training is dedicated to longer periods of movement, but after further research, turns out that short sprints can produce the same if not better results.
Short Intense Movements
Bottom line, adding 30-50 second all-out sprints to your training yields excellent results. Especially if time does not allow for a long steady endurance exercise. Sprint movements can produce the same if not better cardiovascular benefits as some of the longer endurance runs.
Shorter and Faster
Training does require endurance, which includes long runs that last from one-hour plus of continue running. Many people do not commit to 60-minutes or more of training because of time challenges or level of running investment. If you’re short on time, and are not at a high level of commitment in training, but want to improve you fitness, sprint workouts might be a perfect solution. Not to mention committed trainers need this tool to enhance the fitness level for successful racing. Evidence shows that short, high intensity sprint workouts improve aerobic capacity and endurance in about half the time of traditional long runs. Professional and amateur runners who are looking for balance and success need both short and long workouts in the training mix.
Sprint training is excellent for elite as well as amateur runners to improve overall performance. Recent studies show that a sprint training session of six repeats equals one one-hour session of continual running. In fact, one study found that just six workouts of six all-out thirty-second sprints with three-minute recovery in between could be as effective at improving aerobic fitness as an hour of daily moderate-level aerobic exercise.
Sprint workouts increase strength in running muscles by implementing quick springs involving leg and hip movements. Building leg and hip muscles reduces injuries and improves muscle endurance aiding in longer movements without rest. Sprints also encourage leg turnover ratio which activate fast-twitch muscles allowing for faster pace, which improves a runners PR. It is imperative to include the sprint workout as part of the training curriculum. Sprints are the secret weapon which produces both speed and aerobic fitness.
- Perform sprint workout routines twice a week with at least one-day between workouts.
- Warm up with an easy run for 5-10 minutes. Engage in some light stretching.
- Perform your first sprint at about 60 percent max intensity, holding for 30-40 seconds.
- Recover for two-three minutes with a light jog or walk, but keep moving.
- Perform your next sprint at about 80 percent max intensity. Holding for 30-40 seconds.
- Recover for two-three minutes with a light jog or walk, keep moving.
- Perform the remainder of your sprints at 100 percent max intensity or all-out efforts of 30-40 seconds.
- Recover for two-three minutes after each sprint with slow jog or walk, keep moving.
- Cool down with a 10-minute jog followed by light stretching. Drink plenty of water: congratulations!
Sprint Session Structure. Each session should include four-eight sets of sprints. Perform this specific endurance training twice a week. There you have it” Sprint to success!”
A well balanced cardiovascular conditioning program, which involves running is a crucial element to burn body fat. Walking is excellent, although nothing burns better than a program of running. Now, that being said there is one other key factor to fat burning. This factor or principle involves food consumption and how it is processed in the body. Our diet plays a huge role in the fat burning process. Let’s take a look at the fat burning process and how it relates to exercise and food consumption.
Take a look at your overall training routine, ask yourself “can I increase my work outs?” For example, if you work out two days, go to three, or if you run for half an hour, increase it to 45 minutes to an hour. The longer we extend our training routine the more fat is burned. We are not talking about more intense as much as we are talking about slower and longer. Large chunks of fat burning takes place with slower movements held at longer periods. To spike and add flavor to the routine introduce Interval training, that is, alternating bursts of intense activity with bursts of lighter activity such as speed work. This movement increases calorie burn, which in turn will motivate fat burn. Alternate between days of high intensity to slow and easy long runs. Cross training is also an option such as including an hour on a stationary bike.
The body burns fat in concert with muscle development. Get into a weight training routine. Developing muscle increases the metabolism resulting in fat burn. Engage in a weight training program three times a week for just a half hour a day. For a runner this is a perfect cross training time period. Work the full body to build a balance physique. It is not critical to build a huge body of muscles, just get lean.
The nutritional fat fighting grub team are whole grains, lean protein, plenty of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Small frequent meals are key to burning fat and losing weight. Plan to eat six to eight small meals a day, separate the dining times every two hours. The body goes into starve mode if it is not fed in two hours, which promotes the storage of fat. Eating every two hours will keep you out of the starve mode, which satisfies the body and increases the metabolism. Choose to eat your veggies whole as compared to blending them. The digestion process of whole veggies such as carrots or broccoli help promote calorie burn.
Drink plenty of water. Sometimes we get lost as to how much we are drinking. The best way to record water intake is to have a measured container of fluid, such as a gallon of water. This keeps one accountable on how much to consume in a day. My preference is a gallon a day. I start out with a full gallon and drink till empty by the end of day. Water is a fat emulsifier aiding in the fat burning process. As you drink water feel the fat melting off your body. Drink a minimum of 64 ounces a day or 8 glasses.
Foods low in sugar content and carbohydrates aid in the fat burning process. The body burns the easy energy source first, which is the sugars. If there is little to no sugar in the system the body burns the fat source. Just a note the longer the workout the more chance the fat will be used as the main fuel. This is why an easy slow movement performed at a longer period such as the long run burns the fat.
Sample fat burning plan
Dine with all four food groups going light on the carbs and no process sugar, carbs should be consumed before 1 pm. Eat six to eight light meals every two hours instead of the three big meals a day. Stay away from process sugars, soda, and alcohol.
Seek a well balance plan of intense cardio mixed with slow and easy long runs. Add a weight training program to build muscle three times a week.
Happy Fat Burning!
There has been some hints of very cold weather breaking the silence of winter wondering. Keeping our training strong in cold weather can be difficult, but it is possible. When it comes to running in the cold, “there are no bad days, just the challenging need to make adjustments.” Running in the cold requires extra thought in the clothes we wear. Running in the cold requires meditation on safe practices. The following information is the most common tips about running in the cold transferred in a simple check list.
Tips for running in the cold:
- Tread mill: Runners are very committed athletes with special characters that motivate them to success. Treadmills help to increase the frequency of your workouts. When the weather gets cold, rainy, and dark with two feet of snow runners can continue their training on these glorious machines. The love of running guides us to the ultimate goals in precise training. The tread mill allows the athlete to be aware of pace, heart rate, and stride. Remember that it takes a special person to stay committed to training. Providing the correct tools is a tremendous help to keep your training a success.
- Feel cold: it is important when dressing for the freezing temps to feel cold the first mile. Dressing too warm (nice and warm at the start) half-way into the run you will heat up and feel uncomfortable and sweaty. Start the run feeling a little cold and soon you will warm-up to the correct temperature.
- Wear synthetic clothing: cotton does not breathe well and is heavy when wet.
- Dress in layers starting with the smaller tighter clothing first, ending with a moister resistant venting cover.
- Insulated hat and gloves: rule of thumb when our extremities are warm the rest of our body feels warm.
- Extra traction shoes for the black ice and snow. It is easy to slip and fall while running.
- Apply lip balm protector and or petroleum products to protect sensitive areas such as lips, cheeks, eye areas.
- Eye protection, sun glasses especially in bright snow areas.
- Wear bright reflective clothing or lights to be visible in blind areas and especially at night.
Finally, keep moving, I find it funny when people ask me “isn’t it too cold to run” when they themselves are walking in the same weather. Running in 10-degree weather keeps you warmer then walking in it, so go ahead and run in it! Just be careful and plan your cold weather run with the cold weather check list.
John K Carlson
There is no mystery that hydration is most important to a runner’s daily training. Think of the daily consumption of water as an important part of the workout like stretching. Proper hydration increases energy while reducing heat related symptoms. Hydration is the key to a successful run, it is health to your flesh and strength to your bones.
Staying hydrated is a positive lean toward a great performance in training, more importantly, directing the path to the prevention of heat-related illnesses. Your day should start out first thing in the morning with 16 oz. of water. Most importantly drink a 16oz about an hour before your run. To make sure you’re hydrated before you start running, keep drinking small amounts of water around 6-8 oz. up to the start of the run.
In preparation for a long run or marathon it is important to start the hydration process a couple of days before. Drink half to a gallon of water each day up to the run. A great indicator of a well hydrated body is to see clear or pale urine. If your urine is dark color this will indicate the need to increase the water consumption. Avoid alcohol it dehydrates your body.
Dehydration or lake of proper fluid intake can lead to heat related illnesses. Signs or symptoms are headaches, lack of coordination, distortion, and cramping. Runners need to pay attention to what and how much they’re drinking before, during, and after exercise. This is an important practice that aids in the avoidance of heat exhaustion or stroke, which can lead to death.
The current intelligence on fluid consumption during your run is 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes. More intense workouts such as speed work, the runner should drink 6 to 8 ounces every 20 minutes. During long runs ten-miles or more, some of the fluid intake should be a sports drink to replace sodium and electrolytes. The carbohydrates and electrolytes in the sports drinks also help you absorb the fluids faster.
“A Cool way” to measure your water intake by the sweat loss
To determine your sweat rate, which is a measurement of how much fluid a person needs to take in during a run. Weigh yourself before a run, and then again after the run. One pound of weight loss equals 1 pint of water loss. Calculation example: if you lose one-pound during an hour run, you would need one-pint to replace the fluid loss. The runner needs a small four-oz. every 15-minutes of running to keep up with the loss of fluid for an hour run. Remember that the runner needs to do this test on different times of the seasons allowing for moderate to extreme heat conditions for accurate measurement.
Principle 1: Staying Hydrated is most important to a runner’s daily routine. A gallon of water a day is what the doctor ordered. This is a great motto to use to measure the quantity of fluid intake. Of course you may not need a gallon a day, but a good rule of thumb is to sip water all day long and especially before and after a run. Get into obedience of drinking a measured amount of water every day. Principle 2: If your urine is dark yellow after your run, you need to keep rehydrating. It should be a light lemonade color or clear. Principle 3: Wisdom and understanding “obey your thirst” drink when your mouth is dry and when you feel the need to drink. Drink before runs and make sure you have access to fluids if running longer than 30 minutes.
Oops I mean “Happy Running”
The physical ability to run a 5k, marathon or even moving around from place to place improves in relation to your level of breathing capacity. Producing of fruit doesn’t stop there, higher oxygen capacity increases cardio health which reduces the risk of perishing health. Folks, there is no mystery on how to improve breathing capacity, we need interval training. The purpose of interval training or speed work is to improve your VO-2max, which is accompanied by stride frequency turn over, resulting in a faster and more comfortable race pace.
The specific endurance movement called “speed work” is responsible for increasing aerobic endurance and improving pace while yielding a faster finish time at a more relaxed state of the run. The goal of speed work is to increase VO-2 max performance. VO-2 max is simply the body’s ability to convert oxygen into energy more efficiently, or in simple terms to increase the body’s breathing capacity. Increasing VO-2 max strengthens the heart’s ability to deliver more oxygen while improving the leg muscle’s efficiency in converting oxygen into energy. VO-2 max is measured in millimeters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute. The more oxygen your muscles are able to consume while engaged in the run, the stronger the energy levels are put into the muscles allowing the body to move faster and longer in distance.
Through years of imperical study involving the VO-2 max, the shining structure of training reveals that we need to perform very hard exercise for 3-8 minutes with a slow recovery movement in-between multiple sets. For best results perform these sessions (speed work) twice a week. To determine your speed work pace take your 5K pace per mile minus 10-seconds. For example if you’re 5K pace is 8:00 then run your speed work at 7:50. The speed work structure is short runs of high intensity training. Let’s take a look at some example work-outs
Speed work examples
Yasso 800’s- perform on a quarter mile track (preferred) or measure out a half-mile length on trail or road. 800 meters is a half-mile distance. Take your 5K pace per mile and divide in half minus 05 seconds that is your 800 meter repeat finish time. Run a mile warm-up then three to ten sets of 800’s. Start out at three repeats and work your way up weekly to eventually 10 sets. Place a two–three minute recovery jog in-between the sets with a mile easy cool down after the work out.
200 Meter repeats-Perform these repeats at a faster pace (sprinting) or close to it. Again on a quarter mile track the 200 meter is half the distance of the track. Warm-up first, then sprint the 200 meter followed by a one-lap cool down. Repeat 3-12 times according to your work-out and training level.
One Mile Repeats- Just what it says; this is a one-mile repeat at the same pace stated above. Perform this work-out when you have at least six yasso sessions under your belt. The one-mile repeat is an advance speed work session that WILL (if performed correctly) get you ready for a PR. I call this the magic speed work, because this workout if done correctly is the best way to accomplish your race goal. Again track preferred, but a measured one-mile stretch is ok. Begin with a one-mile warm-up then perform three to six one-mile repeats with a two to three minute slow jog or walk recovery in between ending with a half mile cool down. Warning this workout will put you to bed early! Please stretch and eat your recovery meal immediately after this workout.
The party pack work-out- mix all these routines together in a ladder formation. Start with the longest movement and work your way down to the shorter distance. Increasing the speed in the shorter movements completing two sets of each. Proper recovery jog/run in-between sets.
ALWAYS drink your WATER at least a gallon a day when training heavily.
There you have it folks, increase your breathing capacity! Love you all!
John K Carlson