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Running Research News And Events
March 17, 2010
PLANNING THE RIGHT TAPER: FAST, EXPONENTIAL DECAY MAY BE THE WAY
Almost all athletes and coaches agree that tapering - the reduction of training in a systematic way - is a good thing, because it ensures good recovery from heavy training (Gibla, M. et al., "The Effects of Tapering on Strength Performance in Trained Athletes," International Journal od Sports Medicine, Vol. 15, pp. 492-497, ) and is a key part of preparation for an important competition (Shepley, B. et al., "Physiological Effects of Tapering in Highly Trained Athletes, " Journal of Applied Physiology, 72, pp. 706-711, 1992). Unfortunately, there is a wide disagreement about how tapering periods should be constructed. These debates revolve around how long a tapering period should be, the extent to which training volume, intensity, and frequency should be reduced during a taper, and also - very importantly - the rate at which these variables should be reduced. PLANNING THE RIGHT TAPER
One dispute has centered around whether tapers should contain "step reductions" in training or "exponential decays." In a step reduction, total running is reduced by a certain amount, and the new volume of training is sustained throughout the tapering period. In an exponential-decay situation, the quantity of training decreases steadily over the course of the taper (there is no step-down in volume but rather a continuous slide), reaching bare-bones levels at the end of the tapering period. One popular step-down strategy is to clip training by 65 to 70 percent and then maintain the new, lower volume of work for one to three weeks. Traditionally, exponential decays have been linked with shorter durations of time, often four to eight days.
Until now, the relative merits of step-reduction and exponential-decay tapering have been poorly evaluated. Several years ago, outstanding tapering theorist Joe Houmard asked 5-K runners to cut training by 70 percent for three weeks (a step reduction). At the end of the 21-day period, the runners' 5-K race times were not significantly better, nor did the runners exhibit greater muscular power (Houmard, J. et al., "Testosterone, Cortisol, and Creatine Kinase Levels in Male Distance Runners during Reduced Training, " International Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol. 11, pp. 41-45). In contrast, a seven-day exponential decay in which training volume was reduced each day and overall weekly volume dropped by 85 percent produced dramatic improvements in 5-K race times and muscular power (Houmard, J. et al., :The Effects of Taper on Performance in Distance Runners," Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 26, pp. 624-631).
This has led some tapering theorist to argue that when training volume is reduced aggressively and progressively to an extremely low level, performance is improved to a greater extent, compared with a single (or even several) step reduction over a more extended period of time. Some anti-step scientists even go on to argue that step reductions usually maintain performance but do not enhance it. PLANNING THE RIGHT TAPER
Such arguments are not completely fair, however, since step-reduction tapering has been linked with fairly impressive gains in physical capacity. For example, in a classic study carried out by renowned exercise physiologist Dave Costill in his laboratory at Ball State University, collegiate swimmers reduced training volume from 10,000 (1) to 3200 yards per day during a 15-day period (Costill, D. et al., "Effects of Reduced Training on Muscular Power in Swimmers," Physician and Sports Medicine, Vol. 13, pp. 94-100). After this 15-day step-reduction taper, the swimmers' performance times improved by 3.6 percent, their arm strength and power swelled by up to 25 percent, and blood-lactate levels were lower during 200-yard swimming "sprints." These results led Costill to recommend - in his fine book Inside Running: Basics of Sports Physiology - tapering periods of approximately two-weeks duration, with volume set at about one-third of usual levels (a large step reduction).
In later work, Raymond Kenitzer and Catherine Jackson asked 15 female collegiate swimmers to pare training volume by 60 percent over the four-week period (Kenitzer, R. and Jackson, C., "Blood Lactate Concentration in Female Competitive Collegiate Swimmers during End Season Taper, " Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 21(2), p. S23). For the long distance swimmers involved in the study, volume dropped from 8000 daily yards to 3500 yards. During this step-reduction taper, blood-lactate levels fell steadily for about two and one-half weeks, and performance times both began to worsen. Kenitzer and Jackson drew the obvious conclusion: 60-percent, step-reduction tapers lasting up to 17 to 18 days are good things.
Step reductions can do more than maintain performance levels. However, the exponential cause was advanced pretty dramatically shortly after the publication of Kenitzer's work. Another scientist with a strong interest in tapering, Duncan MacDougall of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada), asked a group of well-conditioned runners who were averaging 45 to 50 miles of running per week to try out three different kinds of one-week tapers. The three strategies were:
(1) Doing nothing at all during the week (a 100 percent step-reduction),
(2) Running about 18 miles during the week at a leisurely pace, with a complete-rest day at the end of the week (1 64-percent step reduction), and
(3) Undergoing a drastic exponential decay in training over the week, with an emphasis on quality running. Using this strategy, the runners completed five hard 500-meter intervals on the first day of decay, four 500-meter blasts on the second day, 3 X 500 on day three, just 2 X 500 on day four, and a single 500-meter surge on day five. After a rest on day six, they were ready to be tested on day seven (as were the employers of strategies one and two). Importantly, each 500-meter interval was performed at about one-mile race pace, and since the runners warmed up with 500 meters of inchmeal running before the quality intervals were undertaken, the total training volume for the week was about 10K, or just over six miles. Thus, this decay involved an overall 87- to 88-percent reduction in training (MacDougall, D. et al., "Physiologic Effects of Tapering in Highly Trained Athletes," Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 22(2), Supplement, #801). PLANNING THE RIGHT TAPER
The performance test on day seven involved running as far as possible at one-mile race pace, and the 64-percent-step-reduction runners did fairly well, advancing endurance time at this speed by 6 percent (the 100-percent-reduction runners failed to improve at all). However, the exponential runners blew the roof off MacDougall's lab, raising endurance time at one-mile pace by a full 22 percent! The expo folks also possessed enhanced leg-muscle enzyme activity, augmented total blood volume, increased red-blood-cell density, and greater muscle-glycogen storage, compared to the step-reducing runners.
These results certainly made exponential-decay tapering look better than step-reduction plans, but a few comments are in order. First, note that MacDougall's decaying runners employed a relatively high quantity of quality running during their taper - about 7.5 kilometers out of a total volume of 10K (75 percent). It is possible that the 64-percent-step-reduction runners would have fared far better if they had been able to include quality work in their training as well.
In addition, the expo-decay runners trained during their taper week at exactly the pace which was utilized for testing. Thus, their tapering period was highly "neural," i.e., it "tuned up" their nervous systems and prepared their neuromuscular systems for the exact intensities and most-efficient patterns of coordination and overall movement which would be used in the test. As you can see, MacDougall's work did not really compare step-reduction tapering with exponential-decay cutbacks but instead merely contrasted two widely disparate tapering plans.
Nonetheless, MacDougall's unique exponential plan looked mighty good, and further work by Joe Houmard and his colleagues added weight to the idea that tapering should proceed along a "steep-slide" course. Inspired by MacDougall (Houmard had used the Ontario taper to prepare very successfully for a marathon), Houmard asked eight experienced runners (six males and two females) who had been running about 43 miles per week to abbreviate their running to 6.2 miles of interval training and seven miles of jogging. Almost all of the interval training consisted of high-intensity, 400-meter intervals at about 5-K race pace or slightly faster. PLANNING THE RIGHT TAPER
The exponential part of the plan was modeled along MacDougall lines: On the first day, the runners completed eight 400-meter intervals, on the second day they clipped off 5 X $00, on day three they hit 4 X 400, and on day four they tried 3 X 400, followed by 2 X 400 on days five and six and 1 X 400 on day seven. During the workouts, recovery intervals (composed of walking or resting) lasted just long enough to let heart rates drop to 100 to 110 beats per minute, and an 800-meter easy jog was performed both as a pre-workout warm-up and post-training-session cool-down (this accounted for the seven miles of jogging for the week). A control group of eight runners maintained their usual training volume of 43 miles per week.
When a 5-K race was held on the eighth day of the study (the day immediately following the one-week taper), the exponentially-advantage runners trimmed average 5-K times by statistically significant 29 seconds, from 17:16 to 16:47 (all eight of the runners were able to improve their clockings). The exponentially- tapered folks also improved running economy by a rather dramatic 6 percent, while the control group improved neither economy nor 5-K performance.
To learn more about how PLANNING THE RIGHT TAPER (the full article can be read by purchasing Vol. 17-5 of Running Research News) and many more running related topics, simply click-on the Back Issues link, and select the volume and issues number, from the drop-down menu. A subscription to Running Research News is another way to receive valuable information about running.
March 05, 2010
BEST TRAINING FOR MAXIMIZING AEROBIC CAPACITY
An odd thing about running is that many runners believe that the best way to optimize aerobic capacity (VO2max) is to run lots of miles. However, the scientific study which detected the greatest improvement ever recorded in VO2max in well trained runners actually linked an upswing in intense training and a decrease in mileage with the big jump in VO2max. BEST TRAINING FOR MAXIMIZING AEROBIC CAPACITY
The study of interest, completed by Timothy Smith, Lars McNaughton, and Kylie Marshall of the University of Tasmania in Australia and Kingston University in the United Kingdom, shook up the training of five experienced runners (1). These harriers were fit (average VO2max was 61.5 ml O2 kg-1min-1), and they were utilizing a variety of different training techniques prior to the onset of research, including long-slow distance work, speed work, tempo training, over speed efforts, and weight training. All five were primarily middle distance runners, and their average age was 23.
Before the investigation began, each runner completed three VO2max tests, which also were used to determine V max (the minimal running velocity which caused a runner to hit maximal aerobic capacity, or VO2max). These exams were completed on a Quinton treadmill. The initial treadmill speed was set at 10 kilometers per hour for two minutes, jumped to 12 kilometers per hour for one minute, and moved up to 14 kilometers for an additional minute. After that, the velocity increased by one kilometer per hour each minute until exhaustion was reached. Oxygen consumption was carefully measured during this incremental test, and VO2max was assumed to have been reached when a runner met at least two of the following three criterias: volitional exhaustion, a heart rate within five beats per minute of predicted max heart rate (using the familiar formulas of 220 - age), and an increase in running speed with no further increase in oxygen consumption. Vmax was defined as the slowest running speed (from the tests) which produced an oxygen-consumption rate equal to V)2max.
To make things interesting, each runner also completed a 3-K time trial and three Tmax tests. Tmax is simply the length of time a runner can keep going at Vmax, and each Tmax test was preceded by a 15-minute warm-up consisting of five minutes of running at 60 percent of Vmax. The treadmill velocity was then set at 18 kilometers per hour (lower than Vmax for each runner), the runner mounted the treadmill quickly, and the treadmill was up-regulated to Vmax within 10 seconds. Each runner then tried to hang on as long as possible, with verbal encouragement provided by the investigators. BEST TRAINING FOR MAXIMIZING AEROBIC CAPACITY
After all this testing, the runners were probably happy to embark on the four-week training program developed by Smith, McNaughton, and Marshall. This 28-day plan focused on two very intense sessions each week; within each workout, all six intervals were completed right at Vmax, a fairly scalding interval intensity. A notable aspect of this training was that the durations of the work intervals were set at anywhere from 60 percent of Tmax to 75 percent of Tmax! That's unusual: Traditionally, with Vmax training (also known as vVo2max training), runners set their work interval lengths at about 20 to 50 percent of Tmax and do not move above 15 minutes of total running at Vmax per workout.
Let's say, for example, that a runner's Vmax corresponds with a pace of 90 seconds per 400 meters (4.44 meters per seconds) and that his/her T max is six minutes. Obviously, 50 percent of six minutes is three minutes. Ordinarily, a "stringent" Vmax session for this runner would then be 5 work intervals with a duration of 50 percent of Tmax, i.e., X 800 in three minutes each, for a total dose of 15 minutes of Vmax running.
If we put this same runner on Smith-McNaughton-Marshall plan, however, things would get much rougher. In the fourth week of S-M2 plan, for example, one workout involved 6 work intervals at Vmax with durations of 75 percent of Tmax. For our hypothetical runner from the last paragraph, this would mean stepping up from 5 X 800 in three minutes each to 6 X 1200 in 4:30 each, with all 1200s completed right at Vmax. That would entail 27 minutes total of Vmax running Red-hot!!
Basically, the runners completed two similar sessions each week, with the rest of their work consisting of "recovery runs". This simple - but very challenging - approach to training produced major gains in performance and fitness. For example, at the end of the four-week period average 3-K time improved from 616.6 to 599.6 seconds. Mean speed in the 3K ascended from 4.9 meters per second to 5.1 meters per second, about a 4-percent upgrade.
To learn more about how BEST TRAINING FOR MAXIMIZING AEROBIC CAPACITY (the full article can be read by purchasing VOL. 23-2 of Running Research News) and many more running related topics, simply click-on the Back Issues link, and select the volume and issues number, from the drop-down menu. A subscription to RUNNING RESEARCH NEWS is another way to receive valuable information about running.
March 05, 2010
AN OVERALL VIEW OF TRAINING
In preparing for events ranging in length from 800 to 100,000 meters, you should always emphasize the quality of your training over mere volume. That is, you should stress speed (and the development of a higher maximal running speed), instead of placing your primary
Why is this so? If you had 100 runners standing before you and you wanted to figure out which ones would finish near the front in a race (regardless of whether that race covered 800 meters, 10K, a marathon, or 100K), one of the simplest and most effective forecasting techniques would be to time each runner in a 20-meter dash!
The runners with the fastest 20-meter times would also be the individuals with the quickest clockings for 5K and for the marathon! On the other hand, if you ranked the runners according to weekly average mileage, you would no relationship at all between training distance per week and performance time!
While this linkage is surprising to runners and coaches, the majority of whom think that the 20-meter sprint is an “anaerobic” event and that running events like the 10K and marathon are purely “aerobic” endeavors, the simple 20-meter test is very accurate.
It has been verified in research carried out by Heikki Rusko, Leena Paavolainen, and Ari Nummela of the KIHU Research Institute for Olympic Sports in Jyvaskyla, Finland with 17 male endurance runners (1). In this Finnish research, the connection between 20-meter and 5000-meter race velocities was extremely strong, even though the average 20-meter speed of 8.15 meters per second was roughly 76-percent faster than 5-K alacrity.
As it turned out, 20-meter time was a better predictor of 5-K speed than that vaunted “aerobic” variable, VO2max, and 20-meter burning was almost as good as another big-name physiological characteristic running economy. Great Workouts
Could the 20-meter, 5-K connection detected by the Finns be purely a fluke? If you think so, consider the research carried out at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in which Aaron Sinnett, Kris Berg, and their colleagues determined that performance times for 10,000 meters can be predicted with a high degree of accuracy using two other attributes of speed and power 300 meter sprint time and plyometric leaping distance (2). Sinnett, Berg, and co-workers also found significant correlations between 10-K performance and 50-meter sprint time, as well as vertical jumping ability.
Why are researchers finding that “anaerobic” physiological attributes are so important for success in almost purely “aerobic” events? To put it another way, why are exercise scientists discovering that measures of speed and explosiveness are great predictors of performance in races which seem to rely more on endurance than
To understand this completely, let’s take a close look at the Nebraska-Omaha study carried out by Sinnett, Berg, et al. In this fascinating work, the researchers examined 36 e experienced runners (20 men and 16 women) whose 10-K times varied from 32:36 to 56:24.
The age of these runners ranged from 19 to 35 years, and 27 of the athletes were preparing for a marathon as the research was conducted. The 36 subjects were running about 30 miles per week and had trained five times weekly for at least six months before the study started. Nineteen of the 36 subjects engaged in some form of strength training, and 27 had completed a marathon at some point in their running careers. They were not beginners! Great Workouts
Sinnett and Berg were smart to put all of the runners through a 50-meter sprint test. For one thing, Rusko and the Finns had found predictive success for the 5K with the even-more abbreviated 20-meter sprint.
In addition, essentially none of the power created for 50-meter sprinting from a standing start is derived aerobically; the energy for 50-meter blast-offs comes from the “phosphagen system” within muscle cells, i. e., from existing ATP within muscle cells and from the high-energy phosphates which are donated by creatine phosphate to ADP inside muscles to make ATP (ATP is the energy currency for muscle fibers; its energy is used directly to produce muscle contractions; all other “fuels” for muscle contraction, including carbohydrate, fat, protein, and creatine phosphate, must first be converted to ATP before any muscular action can take place).
Not even a single molecule of oxygen is required for the phosphagen system to work, and thus the 50-meter sprint is a true “anaerobic” test.
The 300-meter test was another good choice for the Nebraska researchers. Running all-out for 300 meters from a standing start puts little energetic demand on the aerobic system; it instead depletes the phosphagen system in about 10 seconds or so and then relies almost exclusively on the “glycolytic energy system,” an oxygenindependent, intracellular, energy-producing mechanism which relies on the breakdown of glucose to pyruvate and
The 36 athletes also performed two vertical-jump tests, one with a dynamic counter-movement involved and the other from a static, flexed-knee beginning position.
For these tests, each athlete’s vertical reach was first assessed as he/she stood motionless next to a Vertec instrument. Every runner simply reached as high as possible
For the jump with counter-movement, the athletes started in a standing position next to the Vertec device, quickly descended into a semi-crouched, flexed-knee position, and then without the slightest hesitation jumped straight up with maximum power and attempted to touch the highest-possible point on the Vertec instrument.
For the no-counter-movement vertical jump, the runners started from a static take-off position, with the knees locked at 90 degrees of flexion. Each athlete held this position for three seconds and then jumped as high as possible straight up.
In the counter-movement jumps, the “snap-back” of muscles which have been quickly stretched provides a significant amount of the force required for vertical leaping without incurring the penalty of direct energetic cost. For the no-counter-movement jumps, the force is provided primarily by energy-costly, active contractions of propulsive muscles which are forced to work “from a standing start.”
As you might guess, athletes whose muscles can generate much work by means of energetically cheap, elastic reactions tend to be able to run quite efficiently, i. e., at relatively low percentages of their maximal rates of energy usage. Such athletes tend to find specific speeds of movement to be easier to sustain, compared with those athletes whose muscles have less-enhanced elastic properties.
These athletes would also be capable of generating greater power (attaining higher maximal speeds), compared with elastically deficient runners, since the enhanced
Note that muscle elasticity has nothing to do with a runner’s aerobic prowess. A runner with great elasticity might have a high VO2max or a low VO2max; there is simply no direct connection.
The final test of “anaerobic” prowess the plyometric leap test was initiated from a standing position, from which the athletes performed three consecutive forward leaps by springing from one foot to the other; for the third and last leap, the athletes landed on both feet. In effect, the plyometric leap test was just like the triple jump performed in track and field, except that the leap exam was carried out from a standing rather than a running start.
Actual plyometric-leap length was measured from the heel which was closer to the starting line after the third leap back to the starting line itself. Sinnett, Berg, and their fellow researchers found that there were significant correlations between 10-K time and (1) 50-meter sprint time, (2) counter-movement jump height, (3) non-counter-movement jump height, and (4) percent body fat.
The two best predictors of 10-K success were plyometric leap distance and 300-meter sprint performance. Great Workouts
Just by itself, plyometric leap distance explained a whopping 74 percent of the variation in 10-K race times for the entire group of 36 runners. Together with 300-meter sprint performance, plyometric leap distance accounted for an incredible 78 percent of the variance!
To summarize, one “anaerobic” attribute plyometric leap distance was able to account for nearly three-fourths of the variation in performance times for this relatively large group of distance runners. “Aerobic” variables such as VO2max, lactate threshold, and running
Should you begin carrying out daily three-jump plyometric training in order to improve your racing performances? No, not at all (although such effort can be profitably included in your overall program): What this Nebraska study simply means is that the power and elastic
Thus, you need to carry out the kind of training which will optimize such characteristics the kind of effort described in detail in this book. Great Workouts
If you are somewhat shocked about the ability of “anaerobic” factors such as plyometric leaping distance, counter-movement jump height, 300-meter sprint time, 50-meter sprint performance, and 20-meter clocking to predict distance running performances, you shouldn’t be.
For one thing, it is readily apparent that the fundamental attributes which promote better sprint times, notably the ability to apply more force to the ground during foot strike and the ability to apply that greater force more quickly, can also be great for middle- and long-distance running, provided a runner can develop the ability to sustain such enhanced power outputs for the necessary amount of time.
Greater force will translate to longer strides, and quicker force production will mean faster strides; the combination taken together can lead to major improvements in running velocity and the ability to run faster in your chosen competitive distance. There are other fundamental reasons for this linkage between “anaerobic” and “aerobic” factors, which I will explain in a moment, and several other research studies also connect such apparent “opposites.” Great Workouts
For example, in Heikki Rusko’s 5,000-meter research, 5-K fortune was well predicted by 20-meter time, but it was also forecast by another high-speed attribute which Rusko called VMART the maximal speed a runner could attain during a series of progressively more difficult, increasingly anaerobic, short-duration sprints.
During Rusko’s strenuous VMART tests, his runners initially jumped on a treadmill and cruised along for 20 seconds at a pace of 3.71 meters per second (7:14 per mile) with a treadmill grade of four degrees. 100 seconds of recovery followed, and then the runners burst along for 20 seconds at 4.06 meters per second (6:36 per mile).
This pattern (20 seconds of fast running alternating with 100 seconds of recovering) continued for as long as possible, with each successive 20-second jaunt taking place at a speed which was .35 meters per second faster than the previous work interval.
The runners kept going until they collapsed or began to fall off the treadmill during one of the 20-second explosions (fortunately, all of the Finns were “in harness,” with their special, light-weight, leather “straightjackets” connected to both an automatic treadmill brake and an overhead support arm which held them Tinkerbelle-style whenever their leg muscles ceased producing adequate power).
The average speed at the collapse point was 6.57 meters per second (4:05 per mile), so you can see that the Finnish harriers did quite well on the four-degree treadmill grade. Naturally, the speed attained wasn’t as great as during the 20-meter races (wherein 8.15 meters per second turned out to be the average velocity), since the 20-meter pacing occurred on flat ground with “fresh legs” and the VMART test took place in the face of considerable built-up fatigue (the 20-meter sprints were helped along, too, by their short duration of approximately 2.5 seconds, while VMART had to be sustained for 20 seconds).
As we have indicated, VMART was a terrific predictor of 5-K prowess. In fact, just like 20-meter sprint time, VMART was better than the venerable VO2max in predicting 5-K race time. In fact, VMART was even superior to running economy at foretelling what would happen in a 5-K race!
The question you have to be asking right now (especially if you are a 5-K runner) is: How can I optimize my VMART? That is the right question to ask, especially since it is certain that the optimization of VMART will improve your performances significantly, even if you are an
Rusko’s outstanding body of research reveals that hikes in mileage do not maximize VMART, nor should they be expected to do so. To have a great VMART and to reach
Running tons of miles at moderate paces will not get this done; in fact, there is a good chance it will reduce the power and explosiveness of your leg muscles (not to mention the spiked risk of injury which goes hand in hand with high-mileage training).
The route to an optimal VMART travels through regions of highintensity, high-quality, explosive training, not through phases of vast volumes of moderate-speed miles. Despite what any coach may tell you, you do not get faster by focusing on running lots of miles at slow and moderate velocities and then hoping for the best. VMART moves upward optimally in response to high-quality, not highvolume, running.
The findings of Rusko and Berg are supported by those of the great South-African researcher Tim Noakes, who may have gotten this whole “paradigm shift” rolling with an elegant study published in 1988 (3). In Noakes’ investigation, endurance performance was well predicted by the top speeds which athletes could attain on a treadmill; those runners with the highest peak running speeds also had the best endurance race times in their portfolios.
As was the case with Rusko’s research, peak running velocity was a better predictor of performance than VO2max; it was also far superior to running economy.
In yet another study, famed exercise physiologist Dave Costill and his associate Joe Houmard took a close look at the physiological qualifications of 10 runners who trained about 50 miles per week and averaged a not-tooshabby 16:43 for the 5K (6).
Although oxygen-dependent chemical reactions provide about 93 percent of the energy needed to run a 5K, maximal aerobic capacity VO2max was again a poor predictor of performance. The two best prognosticators of 5-K finishing time were anaerobic power (the ability to sprint at high speed) and a variable called time to exhaustion (TTE).
You heard it right: Even though anaerobic energy creation accounts for only 7 percent of the energy required for a feverish 5-K race, raw anaerobic power is a superior predictor of 5-K success, compared with aerobic capacity (VO2max).
In Costill’s 5-K runners, anaerobic power was measured during short sprints and vertical jumps. TTE was calculated in this way: A stopwatch started as an athlete began running on a flat treadmill at an intensity of 85 percent of VO2max (which normally translates into around 90-92 percent of max heart rate). The treadmill grade was then increased by 3 percent every two minutes, and the clock stopped when the runner could no longer continue at the appropriate pace. Great Workouts
TTE was simply the total time an athlete could hold out on the treadmill and represented a runner’s ability to sustain very high-intensity, significantly anaerobic running. Thus, the Costill-Houmard study parallels the other investigations we have described: Attributes of power, often called anaerobic factors, outweigh aerobic factors such as VO2max and economy in determining overall race performance.
The fundamental mechanisms underlying the connection between outstanding anaerobic capacities and exceptional endurance performances are not really difficult to grasp. As we have already mentioned, the factors which promote very high sprint speeds (more force applied to the ground, force applied more quickly) will also foster considerably faster distance running.
In addition, middle- and long-distance runners with very high maximal running speeds will always tend to out-compete harriers with more-modest maximal velocities, since any specific race pace will represent a higher percentage of maximal
To put it another way, if endurance-runner A has a peak running velocity of 8 meters per second, and endurance-runner B has a max of just 6.8 meters per second, runner A has a much better chance of running a 5K in 15 minutes flat (i. e., at 5.56 meters per second). For runner A, 15-flat pace would be just 70 percent of maximal speed; for B, it would be way up there at 82 percent ofmax.
There is one simple fact about competitive running which you can definitely “put in the bank:” The closer you are to your maximum running speed, the shorter will be the time during which you can sustain your effort.
To put some more numbers on this kind of thinking, if you have a max speed of 8.15 meters per second, a 5-K alacrity of 4.63 meters per second (for an 18-minute 5-K finishing time) would be only 57 percent of your running-speed max, whereas if you’re a poor soul with a
Having a high max velocity makes it more likely that you will be able to handle the higher end of possible race speeds in all of your races. If you have a high max speed, you already have the ability to run fast, and your key additional task is to train in a manner which optimally extends the time over which you can run at your sizzling paces. Running long and slow does not help in this regard, because it simply does not prepare your body for high-velocity effort. Great Workouts