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Month: September 2016

Finding Your Inner Hare

Posted on September 30th, 2016 by

Making the most of a track session requires more than preparation and focus. This week, I will explain how to get moving like a Hare and whiz through a session with ease.

Like many of you, I like taking part in my local parkrun. It’s the Ally Pally parkrun. It’s a good one, whenever you have a chance do it. Week in week out, my arch nemesis Ed takes part too. Ed is one of those, who always sets off like all guns blazing and then struggles a bit towards the end. I am the total opposite. Like an old locomotive, it takes me a while to get going. Once I am operating on full steam, my pacing feels metronomic. As it happens, I managed to pass Ed in the final 400 meters. Like sportsman do, we shake hands and exchange compliments. I enquired about what his thoughts on his pacing were. He couldn’t fully articulate what he was doing to pace himself. Other than saying he had not much left at the end. He believes he needs to start fast to make up for his slowing down at a later stage and he also believes that he does not have a finishing kick. Well, I thought this is something we experience when training on the track, what is required to set ourselves up for success, which is worth elaborating here in our new hair-brained blog.

Interpretation of Training Sessions

Our running coaches send out every week the Thursday session details. At first glance, it looks cryptic and complicated. We feel sore from just reading and don’t want to look at it again! For example, one of those ‘bread & butter’ sessions like 6-8x 800m ( 5k Pace ) [ 200m Recovery Jog ]. In case you wondered, the formula for describing track sessions follows the IAAF notation. The IAAF is our global governing body for athletics and thought hard about introducing a standard notation for running sessions. The IAAF notation uses round brackets for stating the pace (or running intensity), while the square brackets represent the recoveries between the repetitions. Sometimes the bracket style is used the other way around. Once we understood the session details, we focus on the intervals and number of repetitions. Thinking about the sheer volume gives us a bit of anxiety and sends shivers down the spine. We often don’t go that far to work out what 5k pace means for us. If it feels tough, breathing hard, gets us grunting, then it is good enough we might think.

Race pace or date pace?

The pace recommendation for us slow twitched runners refers to the most recent, current or date pace, not your goal, targeted 5k pace or your PB pace. If we aim for an unrealistic target, we end up running a gear higher, at 3k or 1.5k pace and build up levels of fatigue which makes us walk silly for days. With a recent performance, you can work out the recommended splits for your repetitions using the pace calculator from the Mornington Chasers website.

Determine your baseline

However, in case you haven’t run a race for a while, simply start recording your training times and review your training paces. Simply get started and use the first session to establish your baseline. Try to aim for even splits throughout the sets. If can maintain the paces, without slowing down you will have certainly achieved the objective of the training session. Once your run is down, review and adapt the baseline every week, progress from there and set yourself a new target for next week.

Urban Bettag coaches for the Mornington Chasers and leads the development of their track training and mentors their junior coaches. He blogs and shares his wisdom about running on the Hare Brain Blog every Friday.