With January coming to an end in another week, most northern hemisphere athletes are polishing off their off-season training programs and transitioning into their early season base building programs.
As I discussed in a previous article (I. Aerobic Conditioning), it’s important for athletes not to fall into the trap of only long, slow, distance training during their base building phase of training. The goal during this pre-season time of training is to prepare the body for the demands of your Race Preparation phase of training that gets you into race fitness. You’ve hopefully come off your off-season training program with improved skills and general strength and conditioning, and now you’re ready to dig into the aerobic conditioning endurance athletes love to do.
For most endurance athletes this pre-season training should focus on sport specific strength and endurance along with appropriate amounts high intensity efforts to train speed and power over short, manageable distances.
The following session is a great one that can be easily adapted to a swim, bike or run sessions. The session targets both ends of the aerobic conditioning spectrum making it very time effective for athletes on a tight schedule. After a warm-up, you perform multiple sets of short, powerful intervals with adequate rest. You want to tap into some of your fastest speeds here, as they are broken up over very short repetitions, making the efforts achievable and not overly stressful. After the power sets, you transition to a strength set to develop sport specific strength and endurance.
The example that follows is for a run session intended to be done on a track near a hill. You can also do this on a treadmill (by adjusting distance for time, and incline for hill) if a track and/or hill are not available.
5:00 Dynamic Warm-up exercises
5:00 Drill Progression (practice a specific drill you learned during the off season)
10:00 easy run
4:00 build to tempo effort
Multiple Sets of the following:
4x[100m at 400m speed/pace, 300m easy jog]
800m easy run
Repeat 2-4 times
Run uphill for 5:00-15:00 at a moderate effort, with downhill recoveries
Repeat 2-3 times as desired to achieve 10:00-30:00 minutes of uphill running
5:00+ easy running
Written by Cody Waite, professional XTERRA athlete, endurance sport coach and founder of Endurance Performance Coaching. Check out EPC’s Personal Coaching, XTERRA Group Coaching, and Custom Training Plan options.