It sure has been a while since I posted an update on my Hanson’s Method training plan. This is because 1) I was dealing with not always hitting my scheduled runs and 2) the first half of my program was speedwork and then it moved to a strength run.
These are totally new to me, as my programs in the past were focused on tempo. steady, speedwork and long runs – so what in the heck is a strength run?! I even had to review the chapter in my book to make sure I knew what I was getting myself into on Tuesday.
Strength workouts are still runs, but ones that emphasize volume at a slightly lower intensity with the goal of stressing the aerobic system at a high level. While the speed sessions are designed to be short enough to avoid lactate accumulation, the strength sessions are meant to force the runner to adapt to running longer distances with moderate amounts of lactate accumulation.
The benefits of strength workouts include:
- improved lactate clearance
- improved lactate tolerance
- improved endurance at faster paces
- improved O2 delivery
- improved running economy
All of that sounds really good to me, especially since come race day I’ll be running and running and running and runni……You get the idea.
My speedwork sessions started with 400m (0.25 mile) repeats and progressed to 1200m (0.75mile) repeats. Strength workouts don’t start our nearly as kind. I started with 6x1mile (1600m) with 400m (0.25 mile) rest and will progress to 2x3miles (just shy of 5k) with only 800m (0.50 mile) of rest.
However, these are at a much slower pace than speedwork. I was running my speedwork at an average pace of 5:13-5:32/km and 5:00-5:18/km or 8:24-8:55/mile and 8:03-8:33/mile.
My super handy pace chart (click here) tells me for a 4:00-4:15 marathon time, I’ll want to run my strength workouts at a pace of 8:59-9:34/mile or 5:34-5:56/km.
The lack of rest will probably be a challenge, but really, that’s the whole point of these runs – to get my body used to pushing hard and maintaining pace for a looong time.
Since there aren’t really pace times out there for the 50km, I plugged some expected finish times (anywhere from 5:00 to 5:30) into this site (<– also very handy if you need to convert min/mile to min/km and vice versa!) and here’s what it spit out.
To be honest, these all seem pretty reasonable to me. The 5 hour finish is definitely a stretch and I’m not even going to have that as a goal, but I really feel like a 5:15-5:30 finish is doable (provided I don’t cramp like I did in my marathon). I even looked up my average pace for my full and it was 6:19/km even with all the cramping and walking, so I feel like if I stay healthy, running at a 6:18/km pace for 50km is actually achievable.
The First Run
Tueday I set out to do my first ever strength session.
To be honest I really just wanted to lay on the couch. I was tired. It was my seventh day in a row of running. But, I knew I’d get to rest on Wednesday (can we pause for a moment to honour the awesomeness of a rest day) so I decided to get out there and just do it. You know, like the commercials said.
My dinner on Monday probably didn’t help matters: fish, beans and four (yes, four) beets. Holy fibre.
It was also hella windy. Welcome to spring in Alberta. (I could look up how windy, but I think hella windy works).
The plan was to run 6×1 mile intervals, due to the wind, every second interval was running into the wind, so that was super fun. Then came my tummy.
Whenever I have speed work to do, I always tell myself I must complete more than half the intervals and then I can decide if I want to continue. 99% of the time I do them all. Not this time.
I made it to 4 intervals and my tummy had other plans. I tried to do a slow run for the 2.5km back home and even that didn’t help, so I walked.
All in all, my run was over 10km and I definitely think these workouts are dobale. For the majority of my running I was running a near 5:30 min/km pace and I felt really good about that.
Tell me: Have you ever ran a program with a strength run?
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