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Coach Crowe's Training Advice Posted on May 19, 2014

Before I write another workout post I wanted to discuss training theory in general, this is going to require some science and physiology, but bear with me I will keep it simple.   So we need to look at the energy requirements of the various events here is the latest findings courtesy of Coach Scott Christensen:

The basic energetics of a race will follow this line; the anaerobic system starts first carrying the athlete until the aerobic system becomes functional.  The aerobic system provides the energy throughout the race until it becomes time to kick, and the athlete uses whatever anaerobic reserve is left.  It is important to know what the limiting factors are for each event we are training for.

 In the 800 the anaerobic energy demands are higher; more is needed to cover the gap until the aerobic system can take over.  The anaerobic system is used earlier in the race, and then again at the end to maintain pace and to kick. The winner of this event is the athlete who slows down the least.  The limiting factors in this race are a rapid buildup of muscle acidity and waste material, causing fatigue and pain, signaling the brain to begin shutting the athlete down.  Muscle fiber recruitment will be a steady mix of slow and fast twitch, glycogen depletion is minimal, and there is little mechanical damage to muscles from the race.

 The 1500 has similarities to the 800 but as we can see from the chart the aerobic energy system plays a greater role, and consequently we will see more even pacing.  The limiting factors in this race are once again a buildup of acidity and waste material.  There is less anaerobic energy used at the beginning with more in reserve for the final kick.

 The 5K and 10K energy demands are met aerobically, with the anaerobic system activated at the start, and again when fatigue sets in or at the time to kick.  The limiting factors are a gradual rise of acidity and waste products, peaking at the end of the race when the athlete dips into their anaerobic reserve.  Temperature and glycogen depletion become factors especially in the 10K, loss of focus and concentration can add to the feelings of fatigue.  Muscle recruitment is still a mix, but mainly moving from slow twitch into fast twitch towards the end of the race. 

Although not listed on the chart you can guess the ½ marathon and marathon are aerobically run.  Because the anaerobic system only comes into play at the beginning of the race, buildup of acidity and waste products are not a factor in these races.  Limiting factors for these races are, rise in temperature, glycogen depletion, and mechanical damage.  The length of the races causes micro tears in the muscles leading to the mechanical damage.

Before devising a training plan it is important to understand the demands of your event, and areas you as the athlete are deficient in (aerobic or anaerobic).  This can be achieved by running time trials or a race. Each individual is unique, a different mix of chemicals and muscle fibers.  One of my early coaches liked to say we are all a laboratory of one.  Without understanding individual needs for the event the athlete is competing in, we miss out on stimuli and adaptations needed for improvement.

I hope that you take the workouts I post, experiment with them, then utilize the ones that work in your training program.  I promise to give a workout in my next post.



Scott Christensen, http://completetrackandfield.com/scott-christensen

Steve Magness, http://www.ScienceofRunning.com

Tom Schwartz, http://www.therunzone.com


*Coach Crowe is a freelance blogger for the More Miles More Smiles Team!*

by Mark Spewak


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