It's Track time (or off-track time as the case may be). Are you coming? If you’re wondering why you should be coming to these workouts, let me take a moment to explain all of the benefits to this type of training. Hopefully after you’ve read this, you’ll be all in!!!
Let’s keep it simple and clear:
- Why does every triathlete, multisport athete and runner need “track work” – which can otherwise be defined as interval work (which happens on or off the track, the running surface doesn’t have to be all-weather rubber)
- Simply Put – to create positive adaptations in the body that will allow you to run farther at a faster pace as efficiently as possible. To make you a better runner.
- Improve oxygen uptake and utilization by the body (efficiency at using oxygen)
- Improve clearing of lactate in muscle fibers. In hard efforts, you begin to accumulate lactate in the muscles, along with hydrogen ions. While lactate isn’t in and of itself an issue (it eventually will be recycled back through and used for energy), the hydrogen ions are a by-product of the breakdown of glycogen during anaerobic glycolytic metabolism, and cause that familiar muscle burn and limits our ability to continue to push at that level.
- To develop efficient neuro-muscular pathways and muscle fiber recruitment directly related to running – improvement in running form and feel
- Mental adaptations – mental toughness and a familiarization with working through discomfort
- You learn how to pace yourself at various effort levels (a massively important skill to have)
- To improve your running economy which ultimately is what makes you a better runner.
- Interval work encourages a high functioning metabolism and the development of a leaner body (you likely will lose body fat as long as your diet supports training and performance)
If you want to take the sport of triathlon and other multisport disciplines seriously enough to be the best athlete you can be, you need to train specifically in each of your disciplines and incorporate quality workouts in each. Many of the adaptations you need for improvement happen within the muscle fiber and part of training includes developing the most efficient neuromuscular adaptations for the given muscle groups that are used. Running uses a specific set of muscles that may or may not be used in other disciplines of multisport. So you’ll never fully develop as a runner if you do all of your quality training on the bike or in the pool, or in the gym. You must have quality running workouts as well.
Running, like every other sport, has ideal technique and form, and specific necessary adaptations for the demand you expect to withstand. Now, if you don’t have any desire to run faster, better, more efficiently and with less chance of injury, you won’t need to do any type of interval work. Slower, aerobic training will allow you to maintain a slower pace during a race. But if you want to get to your run feeling eager and pass competitors, feel strong and capable and actually look forward to it, you have to put in this type of work in addition to the slower, endurance training. If you spend all your running miles at a slower aerobic pace, you will lack the ability at every level, to run at a faster, more efficient pace. Your body won’t be adapted to stronger push-off (running is indeed a series of plyometric strides) and higher demand on your musculoskeletal system and you won’t have developed ideal running technique and economy. Your energy systems won’t have adapted to higher oxygen consumption and your mind won’t have been prepared for the challenge of effort. Don't expect to be able to run faster if you've not trained your body to run faster.
Track/Interval work is better when we do it together. That's why it's SO popular among our triclub members. This is one of those types of workouts that can be very difficult to do well on your own. Having a team atmosphere allows you to work harder. It allows you to run with others that are at or above your level which will push you to improvement. It helps you stay focused and push through to completion. It is very difficult to hold to high level running on your own and much more fun when done with others!
For those who’ve never done this type of training or haven’t done it with us yet, here’s a bit of information on what you can typically expect at our SB Triclub Track Workout:
- Levels of Intensity – Interval work has 3 basic levels of intensity
- Tempo/threshold work – “don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, I’m workin’ here and I will tear off your head”
- VO2 Max – “Oh geez, I think I just coughed up a lung”
- Anaerobic – “just shoot me and put me out of my misery”
- Be prepared, someone might barf. It happens, just sayin’.
- What to expect workouts to include
- We will always start off with a light jog warm up, coach led dynamic stretching, muscle activation work, form and technique work, and strides.
- Generally we will be doing 2.5 to 3.5 miles of effort in a workout. “Effort” means the hard stuff. This doesn’t include warm up, recovery jogs, prep work and cooldown. All included, a typical track workout will provide 6-8 miles total.
- Generally we will use active recovery between intervals, which means a slow jog recovery.
- You will be assigned a specific group based on your current level, given specific goal times (ranges) for your intervals and you’ll need to determine what your splits should be (as in, if you need to do your 400 meter intervals in 90 seconds, you’ll check your watch at the 200 mark and know that you need to be around 45 seconds at that point and if you’re not, you make adjustments in your pace).
- No reason at ALL to feel intimidation. These are friendly, well supported workouts and a very friendly group.
- The Routine
- Arrive at 6:00 PM and warm up on your own for 10-15 Minutes (optional band work)
- At 6:15 PM as a group we will do some dynamic stretches, drills and strides
- 6:30 PM – Main Set and Explanation provided to you. Break into pre-assigned groups and go get it done.
- 7:15 PM Cool down with a slow easy 10 jog
- 7:30 Complete and utter joy and bliss because you just did something awesome, and dang it, you totally rock!!!!