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Event-specific Training for Running PBs.

One of the biggest mistakes I see runners make is ignoring specificity in their training.

If you want to run a PB at your next event, you need to be ticking off event-specific workouts from two months out.

What most people do is a random mix of volume, ambiguous intensity often referred to as “speed”, some group runs (typically grey zone), and then a couple of workouts they found online from Strava, social media or a free plan… that they never followed.

The truth is…. You don’t need to work on your speed …

…because marathons aren’t fast.

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Running a marathon requires the ability to maximally utilise fats, spare carbohydrates, buffer the acidity of lactate production and maintain maximal running economy for the duration of the event. At no point are you required to run ‘fast’.

Tempo running should be a ‘key’ marathon training focus.

The faster you can run without burning your limited carbohydrate stores and generating lactate, the better your marathon performance. Research has shown that the speed you run your tempo runs is the best predictor of marathon performance. Better than VO2max or lactate threshold.

Trying to increase your anaerobic tolerance by smashing 400m intervals won’t be helping your marathon performance as much as long slow miles and some hefty zone 3-4 tempo/threshold workouts. You know, the ones that last over 2hrs and typically have you feeling like you’re super unfit and “could never hold that pace for a whole marathon”.

Here’s what you NEED to do to run your next PB.

  1. Analyse your event. Marathons aren’t all created equally, so your marathon workouts must match your event’s demands. The same goes for 5km – ultra.
  2. Write out your skeleton plan from now until the race. No specifics, just “Workout”, “Easy”, “Rest”, etc..
  3. Find some event-specific workouts add them to your plan, and note how you’ll make them fit your event. I.e. flat first half, hilly second half.
  4. Add a weekly high-intensity interval workout that targets a known weakness of yours. I.e. Leg speed, hill strength, etc..
  5. Fill the remaining days with easy zone 1 – zone 2 runs
  6. Stick to the plan.

Once you’ve executed your plan, you can begin to analyse your training and implement change.

Happy Running!
Dr Will

 
 

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