Trail Run Training Tips, with Eric Barton
For this week's XTERRA Trail Run training forum we caught up with Atlantic Region Champ Eric Barton, who takes us through his favorite workouts...
"To pick a single workout to be labeled as a favorite is a challenge. Throughout the years, my "favorite workout" has varied from what I enjoy to what I know will hurt the most and give me the best results, "said Barton.
No matter what race I've run, I always try and incorporate mile repeats. There always seems to be a pure simplicity to them. It is a workout that is easily manipulated no matter the distance. It doesn't matter if I'm training for a 10K or 5K - I will do six, one-mile repeats at 5:40 pace. If I'm training for a half-marathon, I'll do nine, one-mile repeats at 6:00 pace. Mile repeats always yield positive results for me and are just a fun workout.
Gearing up for this year's XTERRA Big Elk, I added a couple of fun workouts that add mileage easily without you realizing what you're actually accomplishing out there. The first workout is a seven to nine-mile cutdown. I start at my regular training pace of seven minutes per mile and each mile, I try to knock off ten seconds. It's amazing because by the last mile you are rolling at a 6:00 to 5:40 per mile pace and the overall run is much faster than normal training.
The second workout I enjoyed before XTERRA Big Elk was a classic Fartlek run. Just to add on some mileage, I start and finish this workout with a mile warm-up. The core of the workout is five sets of 30-second sprints followed by 30 seconds of slow jog recovery. Next, I do 60 seconds sprinting followed by 60 seconds of slow jog recovery. Then it progresses to 90 seconds of sprinting followed by 90 seconds of slow jog recovery. You can take it as far as you want. This is always a nice workout for me because I hit around a mile per set, so by the end, I've run at least 5 miles at a 6:00- minute per mile average.
Photo Courtesy of Danielle Vennard