Got a running PB that you’re trying to beat? The secret is surprisingly simple: look at your training like a recipe. Sure, you may have all the right ingredients, but you need to use the right amounts of each one to unlock the magic.
Here’s a simple list of ingredients and how to use them from Nike’s LA-based run guru, Coach Blue Benadum. And there’s no doubt this guy is legit. In addition to being the Head Coach for Nike Running in the US, he’s tackled 60 marathons (with a personal record of 2:23). Founded Run With The Lab. And co-founded one of the US’s toughest ultra events, The Speed Project, a crazy, 550km team relay from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. So, he’ll get you across the line feeling strong. Here’s how, direct from the man himself.
1. Aerobic Runs (Easy-to-moderate effort)
"In the first couple of months of a training plan, these runs should make up 80 per cent of your total weekly training. These runs develop your aerobic capacity, which allows you to utilise your body’s fat stores for fuel while improving running economy. In the last six weeks before a goal race, the percentage drops to 60 per cent of total training volume.
2. Speed Runs (High-intensity or hard effort)
These runs make up the remaining 20 per cent of your weekly training in the first couple of months and build up to 40 per cent of your total volume in the final six weeks. This shift is responsible for 'peaking' your fitness so you’re at your finest on race day. These runs are any sort of fast interval or increased pace tempo runs. They strengthen the cardiovascular system, which has a whole list of benefits besides making you a better, all around athlete.
3. Strength Training
A strong body can simply do more without getting injured. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma around strength training that it will make runners too big. The reality is that building lean muscle mass is actually very difficult to do, especially in runners. Because of the repetitive nature of running, overuse injuries can be common. Luckily, we can offset many of these potential injuries with strengthening, especially by doing exercises with varying ranges of motion. Try 3-4 days per week of 30-60 minutes of strength training. And yes, pilates and yoga count!
4. Recovery and Rest
A lack of proper rest and recovery keeps more people from a PB than probably anything else. If you aren’t recovering from a workout, you aren’t getting stronger or faster! The best way to ensure you’re planning recovery effectively is to designate days of the week as 'hard' days or 'easy' days. You should never have more than 2-3 days of 'hard' training in the same week. Which leaves 4-5 days for recovery and total rest. Think of your aerobic runs as recovery 'easy' days and your speed runs + strength workouts as 'hard' days. 1 day each week of total rest is always a good idea to replenish physically and mentally.
Mix ingredients, bake with 100 per cent passion and serve at your next race! It really is that simple."