Run Up, Run Down: Two Training Techniques to Get Faster
If running faster is your 2014 resolutions, use these tips to hit a new PR.
PublishedJanuary 2, 2014
In my book, Running On Air, I promote an effort scale related to rhythmic breathing that allows a runner to gauge their running pace and perform a number of different “workouts” within a training program. This effort scale is specific to the individual and their present fitness level. The cool thing is we don’t all need to be at the same fitness level to share this type of program.
If you’re trying to improve on speed in 2014 there are two training components you could try to help you reach your goals. The first component is “faster running” and that can be in the form of speed work and/or tempo runs. This faster running is race assimilation work and is beneficial physiologically and mentally. Your cardiovascular and muscular systems will become stronger and more efficient with this type of running. The second component is the necessary opposite of your faster running- slow recovery days. Slower running the day (or 2) after your fast running allows your body and mind to recover from the more difficult work and become stronger. If you run too fast during these days (and cross training too hard can be just as detrimental) your body will not only not recover but you could also be making it weaker. Training up on fast days and down on recovery days can pay huge dividends.
Training Up is a term used when an athlete is attempting to run, bike, or swim with an individual or group that is more talented than they are. The idea is that if you attempt this type of workout once or twice a week, you will improve your level of fitness. It’s nothing new; aerobic athletes have been training this way for over 100 years by including interval training and threshold runs (bikes and swims) in their weekly schedule. Training Up gives the athlete a pacer or pace group to follow and work at a level that is difficult to do alone. The key is that this pacer or pace group needs to be “within reach” of the athlete Training Up. Training with someone that is far better than you are and plans to get in their own “hard effort” will not benefit you. What makes Training Up successful is being able to “keep contact” with your training partners while working a bit harder than you would alone. This often means that you may not be able to complete the entire workout but you should be able to conquer 50-75 percent of it.
Training Down can be just as beneficial as Training Up. We all need rest and recovery days. These easier days allows the body the active recovery that is so important in staying healthy and assists our body in reaping the benefit of harder/faster work. Your easy run pace could be another person’s tempo run pace. The benefits are twofold:
- By running with someone at a lower fitness level than you, you are forced to run at an easy/comfortable pace. You won’t make the mistake of running too fast and extending your recovery period.
- The person you choose to run with will be “Training Up” and will experience the benefit of a pacer for their workout.
Make Training Up and Training Down one of your goals for 2014. You’ll enjoy running with a variety of people, help yourself, help others, and as a group, will enjoy more PB’s than ever before.