Before cross country really gets going in full swing, and the school year for that matter, I want to finish off this series of posts about my summer training. This is the last post of a four-part series.
While much of this summer was focused on triathlons, at this point in my athletic career I am still a runner first, triathlete second. With each training session I did, the underlying question was always, “How will this prepare me for cross country?” In the beginning, since I was forced by my recovering knee to slowly increase my running volume, I figured any amount aerobic activity would help. I slowly increased my running volume to 60 miles in 6 days/week and held that throughout the summer.
As I explained in Part 1, each week was laid out about the same. I wanted to get it one workout, one long run, strides 2-3x, and the rest easy-moderate running (often over hilly terrain). My workout generally consisted of a fartlek or a lactate threshold (LT).
My favorite fartlek comes from Coach Heins that we do several times each season: 5-4-3-2-1-1-2-3-4-5 with half rest. So it starts with 5 minutes “on,” followed by 2.5 minutes recovery. Next we do 4 minutes with 2 minutes recovery, and so on. The workout gets tough on the way back up. On the 2nd 3 minute pick up you will only have 1 minute rest before it, while the 1st 3 minute pick up had 2 minutes rest before. See how that could get difficult?
My LT’s were generally about 5-6 miles and I often went off of heart rate. Before the workout I might set an alarm on the Garmin to alert me if I go over, say, 175bpm. If I do, I must slow down. There’s no magic to these kind of workouts. Just a long sustained effort that will obviously make you strong physically as well as mentally.
I did most of my long runs with Chris Baird out at Sycamore Canyon. It is a great trail with a steady incline for the first 6.5 miles or so before reaching a pretty tough climb. I am a big believer in the power of the long run and the many benefits that come along with doing them weekly. As long as I’m training to be running, as a single sport athlete or triathlete, I will always find a place for long runs in my training.
Before each race I also did a little tune up session on the track. Some mixture of 800s, 400s and 200s. The purpose of these was just to get in some race pace or slightly faster than race pace running so I could feel what running fast feels like.
So with this post I conclude my summer. I start graduate school tomorrow, which I am a little anxious for. I am also beginning my final cross country season which I know will provide many great memories and blog posts!