Marathon Training – Part 3
Increase the workload! I am adding threshold runs for my mid-distance (6-mile) run. Previously, we discussed the first period (BASE) and its main goal of increasing volume. So, let’s talk about the next stage – BUILD.
This phase typically occurs 1-2 months before approaching our priority event, race, or competition. The running volume should change to a slow build or decrease the total volume. During this stage, the focus is on improving the performance of running. We increase intensity during this phase by focusing on increasing our threshold runs. The importance of threshold run training focuses on blood lactate. Lactate is a byproduct of normal metabolism and exercise. At rest and with “easy runs,” our ability to clear lactate is nearly the same speed at which it is produced. With increased intensity of exercise and running, the number of lactate climbs. Your “threshold” is the speed/intensity of running in which the body can keep a steady state of lactate. “Above threshold” means the body cannot clear lactate at the same rate it is being produced.
To increase performance/speed – we need to move where our current threshold is. This improves our ENDURANCE. What does threshold running training look like? To improve at something physiologically, like lactate threshold, we need to stress the system physiologically. Ideally, we want to stress the system at the lowest intensity that causes a change – TRAIN AT THE THRESHOLD. The heart rate variability (HRV) should be between 80 and 90% (ZONE 3-4) or “comfortably hard.” There are two types of threshold workouts: tempo runs and cruise intervals. Tempo runs are steady pace at the goal HRV. Cruise intervals are run at a threshold pace for 5-6 minutes with a short break (1 minute) and then repeated multiple times. If you are having difficulty determining a threshold run pace, an excellent question to ask yourself is: could I keep this pace up for 30 minutes?