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COMPLETE TRACK AND FIELD CONDITIONING

FOR THE ENDURANCE EVENTS


IN TRACK AND FIELD

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COMPLETE TRACK AND FIELD CONDITIONING


The Complete Guide to Track & Field Conditioning
By Scott Christensen

PUBLISHER
Complete Track and Field, LLC
All Rights Reserved
All rights reserved. Except for use in review, the reproduction or utilization
of this work in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means,
now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and
recording, and in any information storage and retrieval system, is
forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

DISCLAIMER
The material contained within this book is intended to provide athletes
and coaches with basic information regarding strength and conditioning
and program design as it applies to the sport of Track and Field. The
author, publisher and editor(s) are not responsible for any injury
resulting from any material contained herein, including but not limited
to death. Before beginning any exercise program or suggesting any
exercise program to others, it is recommended that readers consult
and obtain clearance from a licensed physician.

CONTACTING US:
Contact Person: Latif Thomas
Website: CompleteTrackandField.com
Email: contact@completetrackandfield.com

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COMPLETE TRACK AND FIELD CONDITIONING

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

AN INTRODUCTION TO CONDITIONING FOR THE


ENDURANCE EVENTS IN TRACK AND FIELD
Developing and implementing an effective conditioning program for the
endurance events involves a large measure of scientific knowledge
dispensed with a masterful art of psychological delivery.
Successful athletic achievement has an important place in our society.
The conditioning and training needed to be successful in something as
athletically specific as an endurance event in track and field is not a
simple process. Some experts do claim it is simple, but taking a close
look at the human body will reveal otherwise. The anatomy and
physiology of the human body is surely more complicated than any
machine, thus the knowledge needed for conditioning an athlete to
success in the endurance events is certainly more paramount to any
rocket science.
This text will give the readers a basic scientific understanding of why
we condition endurance athletes as well as the necessary components
as to how to do this conditioning.
If compared to the rest of the animal kingdom in the biological world,
humans are not really skillful at any locomotive activity. We cannot
climb very well, sprint very fast, lift very much, run very far, or take
flight at all. But, we are systematically adaptable and psychologically
motivated creatures, thus we are quite trainable. Of all of our bodys
physiological systems the most adaptable and changeable may be our
cardiovascular system which will be the engine that allows us to run
farther and at a faster pace.
This will be the major focus of any sensible endurance training plan:
Presenting a proper and well-timed stimulus load in order to cause
summary adaptations of the cardiovascular system. By changing this
system we will also elicit changes in the neuro-muscular and pulmonary
systems which will provide further enhancement to an evolving
physiological and anatomical framework in the body.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

At the intersection of the specifics of a sport, and the drive of the


athlete, is a central point known as the coach. The coach draws upon
many resources, personal experiences and original ideas in planning,
presenting, and implementing a sensible and systematic plan of
improvement for the athlete.
There is no single plan that works for every athlete, nor does the same
plan work over and over for the same athlete. The training plan itself
must be as unique as the athlete is at that moment in time. The
endurance athlete training plan cannot be a static set of ideas, for it
must be dynamic in its ability to be constantly evolving and developing.
Nothing is definite, nor to be believed, until it has been proved with
data. Each practice day and competition provides additional evidence
for the coach to make ones decisions upon in progressively
conditioning the athlete.
Interpreting visual and statistical evidence from practice and meets,
and then planning specific conditioning and training for the
improvement of performance is the limited scope of this text. As in all
science you cannot pick and choose which parts of the evidence you
care to believe.
The coach must critically analyze exactly what happened and then
make the feedback necessary to the athlete. Ultimately, goals may
need to be adjusted either way by both the athlete and coach.
This text should provide a body of knowledge for the coach in order to
properly interpret this accumulating evidence in the quest for the top
performances possible by their endurance athletes in track and field.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

DESIGNING A CONDITIONING PROGRAM


Studies done by some of the finest sport psychologists in the world
indicate that an overwhelming number of athletes benefit from having
a coach. Track and field studies indicate that not only is the coach the
most influential, non-family member in an athletes life, but
improvement of performances is much greater by those athletes with
an on-site coach. The coach serves two purposes: mastermind and
cheerleader. The former is the person that develops a solid
conditioning program for the endurance athlete. The latter is the
person that progresses the athlete through each day of following the
prescribed conditioning program. Both are necessary and important to
the athlete.
It is crucial that the total program have a systematic approach. This
means the program is built with a set of lists that need to be followed
for each element of integrated organization. Many of these elements
will be considered here as part of the conditioning of the endurance
athlete, others like psychology and specific racing tactics will not be.
Because it is systematic, no single element is more important than the
other, and these elements are not built as steps, which would indicate
you must climb up on one and complete it, before you move on.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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The elements and lists are as follows:

A comparative list showing the physiological demands for each of


the endurance events.

A defining list of qualities and abilities that the athlete should


posses for each of the endurance events.

A descriptive set of lists for activities to be done during the general


preparation and specific preparation phases of each of
endurance events.

the

A descriptive set of lists for activities to be done during the precompetitive and competitive phases of each of the endurance
events.

A goal list indicating how each of the 5 biomotor skills will be


developed for each of the endurance events.

The entire set of lists must be organized in a manner reflective of


the scientific method so that the package is an administrable
training program that is supportive of the logic: if this is done, than
this will result.

The training package itself should be open to ongoing refinement


and evaluation as more statistical evidence is recorded.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

COMMONALITIES AND DIFFERENCES


IN THE ENDURANCE EVENTS
An endurance event in track and field is defined as any of the events in
which the contribution of the bodys aerobic system in metabolic energy
conversion becomes vital to the success of that event. This is not to say
that the other two metabolic energy conversion systems, the glycolytic
anaerobic and alactic anaerobic, do not continue to make contributions
to the entire energy demands of the event, but the aerobic system does
become decidedly significant. Generally, physiologists and coaches have
agreed that the 800 meter races, and distances greater than this, are the
endurance events. In the endurance track and field events at the
Olympic and World Championship level this designation moves all the
way up to the marathon.
The aerobic system uses the atmospheric oxygen molecule to convert
the nutrients, carbohydrates and fats, to the in-body energy particle
ATP, which is then used to facilitate a muscle contraction. While this is
an efficient metabolic function of the body in respect to the waste
products produced, it does not serve high demand activities very well.
The speed that the aerobic enzymes work at is comparatively slow in
difference to the faster enzyme speed of the two anaerobic systems.
Sprinting, jumping and throwing are generally regarded as mostly
anaerobic activities and distance running is mostly an aerobic activity as
the body tries to match the physiological system to the work demand.
The energy conversion contribution of the aerobic system to the work
demand increases as the length of the race increases. While the
duration of the race certainly adds to the work demand, it is the intensity
of the work that actually balances the contributions of the three energy
conversion systems. Longer races are run at a slower pace. Within the
endurance events there is quite a range of competition distance. The
800 meter race is certainly more intense than the 10,000 meter race.
Because of this range, training regimes must also mirror the energy
demand of the race by the athlete. It is up to the coach to decide the
amount of training work that needs to be done to stress each of the
three metabolic energy systems in a manner that is reflective of the race
and the athlete.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Physiologists began seriously studying the energy contributions by the


three energy systems in the late 1950s and 1960s, first using animals
and than moving on to humans. The following table of human
percentage values was accepted during this period, and while it has
been open to much scientific discussion, it is still generally regarded as
acceptable data. Even if further study changes these contributions
slightly, the relationship of the events to one another should never
change.
AEROBIC %

ANAEROBIC
GLYCOLYTIC %

ANAEROBIC
ALACTIC %

800 meters

40%

53%

7%

1500 meters

50%

47%

3%

3000 meters

70%

30%

<1%

5000 meters

80%

20%

<1%

10,000 meters

90%

10%

<1%

Marathon

98%

2%

<1%

EVENT

The percentage of contribution data table from each of the three


energy delivery systems gives the coach an excellent inauguration into
understanding the physiological demands of the different endurance
events. This information, however, are just numbers organized into
sets of comparative data. The real benefit of this knowledge will be in
translating scientific data sets into the practical application of a
conditioning plain. Basically, designing work stimulus that can be
applied to elicit biological changes in the body to reach these
percentage values for each athlete. Any of these endurance events
could be completed as a full aerobic activity, that is, by walking or easy
jogging the distance. However, there is no race success that way. In
reality what happens is a combined zone of training must occur linking
all three systems into the proper levels of integrated energy delivery in
order to match the race pace. This is called conditioning the combined
zone system. It will be done with a progressive set of workouts that
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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will couple the stimulus load with the demand of the particular race
resulting in adaptations to the body which will be physiologically
positive for success in that particular endurance event..
The table below compares the different endurance events with the
general categories of work that will be done to elicit the biological
changes of the body in order to effectively reach these energy delivery
percentages. In the chart: V is vital and needs to be highly stressed,
I is important and needs to be moderately stressed, and C is a
concern that needs to be occasionally stressed.
CONDITIONING
WORK

800
Meters

1500

3000

5000

Meters

Meters

Meters

Aerobic efficiency

Aerobic power

Lactate tolerance

Lactate threshold

Anaerobic power

In later chapters of this text, the conditioning work shown above will
be fully explained and specific workouts will be described to meet this
type of work. For now, it is enough to know that all of the endurance
events are disparate; both in their demand on energy delivery by the
bodies systems and the conditioning work needed to facilitate these
demands. This is the starting point the coach needs to understand in
making the first steps of assigning athletes into training groups and
how often different training aspects need to be addressed for each
group.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

NEURO-MUSCULAR INVENTORIES
AND APPLICATION
The term biomotor is not a scientific word; in fact, it is officially not a
real word at all, it is a jargon term that coaches use to try to describe
what physiologists refer to when talking about the neuro-muscular
skills that an individual may posses. Used along with biomotor is the
term biomechanics. Unlike biomotor, this term is now an accepted
scientific and somewhat common word, used to describe the
application of the neuro-muscular skills of a living organism against the
natural forces of the universe. Both of these terms are important in
describing the cause and effect aspects of conditioning track and field
athletes in a clear and concise manner.
There are five general biomotor skills that all humans possess. These
skills are: strength, speed, flexibility, coordination and endurance. All
of these skills are performed by the muscular system with information
received by the nervous system, thus they are known as neuromuscular actions. In the endurance events it is impossible to say
which one of the five is the most important, for a case can be made for
the importance of each. Just accept the fact that they are all important
and each skill will need to be addressed in the conditioning program.
Strength is defined as the ability to exert force against all manner of
resistance. In training and conditioning, strength is looked as the
ability of the neuro-muscular system to produce forces to overcome
this resistance. Endurance events in track and field have the slowest
cumulative horizontal velocity of all of the events. Comparatively, the
speeds of the individual limbs are slower as well. Since strength is
used to overcome resistance, something that is slower, needs less
overall strength. Endurance athletes need specific areas of strength,
coupled with good general strength. General strength will involve
exercises that require little if any external forces working with the
body. The body weight of the athlete serves as the loading agent, for
that is the specificity of distance running: moving the body mass from
the starting line to the finish line. Exercises and conditioning of the
strength biomotor skill need never fall far from that idea.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Speed is a very misunderstood word in the endurance conditioning


program. Speed is a general term and should never be confused with
the physiological term of maximum speed, but it usually is. Speed is
simply the rate of motion. Maximum speed is the rate of motion for up
to 60 meters of distance at 100% effort. As an endurance coach, just
about every workout that you will apply has an improvement in general
speed as the overall goal, yet very few workloads produce an
improvement in maximum speed.
The miscommunication usually occurs when an endurance coach and a
sprint coach try to describe the same workout that an athlete did
during a session at faster than race pace. To an endurance coach it is
all speed work, because it is indeed faster than race pace. To a sprint
coach it is about the duration and intensity of the session with very
strict parameters that describe these sorts of sessions. Sprinters use
the term speed to indicate a 100% effort up to 60 meters, and then
speed endurance is 95% effort from 60 meters to 150 meters, and
then special endurance 1 at 90% effort from 150-300 meters and so
on. On the days the endurance athlete does faster than race pace
work the coach must think, plan, and communicate like a sprint coach
to get the proper message across as to what the projected outcome
may be.
Flexibility is an important biomotor skill because it puts the kinetic chain
of motion structurally into place. The position of the joints of the bones
dictates which muscles are recruited to facilitate movement. The bones
themselves are inflexible, and the connective tissue is somewhat
inflexible, so real gains in flexibility are made in the positioning and
strength of the muscles at the joint. Flexibility is a term that includes
ballistic, static and passive positions that when combined assist in muscle
recruitment and postures of the body. The ballistic capacity describes
the ability to move the joints of the body where little resistance is found.
Static flexibility is the framework for the bodys range of motion and
balance. As a distance runner completes one stride cycle, there will be a
brief moment when the only point of contact that person has with the
earth will be a small balance point between the foot and the ground. If
the performance of that athlete is to improve, the shortest amount of
time to stabilize that balance point must be achieved. The passive
position is one that is required to respond to elongation of the muscle

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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caused by the athletes body weight, or when working with partner


assisted stretching routines.
Coordination is the general ability to sequence the contraction of various
muscles into an organized chain of movement. Like all of the biomotor
skills, the depth of this skill is dictated by genetic predisposition.
However, improvements can be made both will skill acquisition and
through the maturing of the body. For the endurance runner,
coordination coupled with flexibility means stabilization. The body is in
position to begin another stride cycle as it completes the previous one,
thus there is no time for recovery or re-stabilization of the ideal body
position. Granted there is a little more time than what a sprinters has,
but not much more. Coupled with rapid speed gains due to energy
system improvements, coordinative skill acquisition is the main reason
endurance runners train at speeds much faster than race pace.

Endurance is the final major group of biomotor skills that humans


possess. For the endurance coach it will be an obvious major point of
emphasis. Examining the athlete starting a race, once inertia has been
overcome by the generation of bodily forces acting against the natural
forces, endurance is the skill that maintains momentum over a given
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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distance. Every race distance from the 60 meters on up has a degree


of endurance that the body must condition itself for. For races like the
100 meter dash, the endurance factor is only over the last 40 meters.
For the true endurance events, it can be thought of as the vast
majority of the race distance. Endurance is a skill that can be nurtured
with specific kinds of stimulus that will be characteristic of that athletes
preferred race distance. For the 800 meter runner it is about
maintaining a high level of velocity, but over a shorter distance than
the miler who will maintain a slower, even pace, but over a greater
distance. Like all the biomotor skills, the endurance factor is genetic in
origin, but it also has a higher degree of trainability than the other
biomotor skills. A major result of overload to this element will be a
dramatic increase in endurance enzymes which will increase the time
that this skill can work under. These enzymes not only make slower
twitch, more endurance based muscle fibers larger, they also switch
some of the marginal fast twitch fibers, which have limited endurance
capacity, to a type of fiber that can be more endurance characteristic.
The specific degree of this switch will be dictated by the training
tempo, and number of sessions at that tempo, that the athlete does.
While biomotor skills are the actual neuro-muscular inventories of the
body, the application of these skills to generate locomotion is called
biomechanics. Humans are unique in the animal kingdom in that all of
our locomotion is upright on two legs; that is bipedal motion. In the
endurance events of track and field it is about developing the skills
necessary to have the most efficient biomechanics of locomotion that is
possible. That development is more efficient for the energy systems,
for the muscular enzymes, and the delivery and extraction of oxygen to
the working muscles. Good stride mechanics become very important to
this efficiency of the system, and stride mechanics improve with the
development of biomotor skills.
The biomechanics of human upright running are so drastically different
from quadrapedal movement that bones from the neck down had to
change over time. The skull and spine were realigned, bringing the
head and torso into a vertical line over the hips and feet to stabilize a
new center of mass. To support the bodys weight and absorb the
forces of upright locomotion, joints in the limbs and spine enlarged and
the foot evolved an arch. This summation of changes allowed humans
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to enlarge the skull, which led to a bigger, heavier brain, with lots of
folds in the cortex. It made humans smarter. It also allowed the
organism to be more nimble and agile, but it created a host of
biomechanical problems in accepting this added weight.
The human skull and brain weigh about the same as a nice grocery store
cantaloupe. To balance this much mass, the head needs to be either
directly over the center of mass, supported by the skeleton, or it needs
to be strongly supported by the muscular system in the upper torso and
neck. As humans run faster in a positive direction, the head will naturally
be in front of the center of mass of the body and without something to
help counterbalance this change; rear stride length will effectively
increase. Too far forward, and the long levers of the leg will create the
counteractive forces, thus causing an overstride. Essentially, too much
time spent in the air, as the body will try to recover its proper center of
mass on each stride. Because of the breadth of the human pelvis, the
thighbone is angled toward the knee, rather than straight up and down,
as it is in the other primates. This carrying angle ensures that the knee
is brought up well under the body to make humans more stable. This
peculiar angle means that there are forces on the knee threatening to
destabilize it. In women, the angle is greater because of an even wider
pelvis, which explains why they are slower than male runners. The
increased angle means women are wasting much more energy on each
stride.
While walking has been characterized as 2 inverted pendulums, running
is more like a bouncy pogo-stick mode, thus using the tendons in our
legs as elastic springs. Running in humans has also been described as
controlled falling. It is accomplished with a coordinated combination of
stride length and stride frequency in the lower limbs, with balance and
stabilization help from the upper limbs. Over the past half-century, there
has been considerable scientific effort put toward understanding the
nervous systems control of stride frequency and stride length in
achieving the individuals optimum balance in achieving greater velocity
in running. From this effort, science has gained substantial
understanding of the mechanisms involved in generating and regulation
of the rhythmic alternating pattern of flexion and extension that is
required to propel the body forward, swing the legs to the next foot
location, and regulate the transitions between these states. An inability
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by the neural system to maintain balance limits the capacity for optimum
stride length for forward progression in the distance events. Stability
and balance during running at race pace is achieved through reactive
and proactive strategies to control the motion of the center of mass and
formulation of the next base of support. Sensory input will in effect,
regulate stride length as the body continues to struggle for balance and
stability as the center of mass passes over the supporting limb.
Being bipedal has freed the hands and arms at the expense of the feet
and legs. The upper limbs are now free to do many things, but a major
function is to help the lower limbs in locomotion. Mechanical analyses
indicate that arm swing during human locomotion helps stabilize
rotational body motion. The primary mechanical effect of arm swing
during running is that it reduces twisting body torque along the vertical
axis. This happens because the upper limb moves forward as the contralateral lower limb moves forward. The angular momentum of contralateral upper and lower limbs partially balances each other, reducing the
rotational movement between the foot and leg. The stride length will then
be a result of these opposing forces. Constriction of movement, such as
hip inflexibility, will lead to a lower than expected summation of angular
momentum, creating an over-stride at velocities greater than walking.
During running, humans recruit upper limb muscles to swing their arms
at a much faster rate than the arms natural frequency. During slow
walking, humans control arm swing motion via low-level phasic muscle
activity. As humans change to a running gait, their nervous systems
adapt muscle activation patterns to modify arm frequency for the
appropriate stride length and rate. Humans have neural connections
between their upper limbs and lower limbs that coordinate muscle
activation patterns in achieving the optimum stride length.
Bipedalism is anything but free. In developing this design for
movement, humans have gained spongy bones and fragile joints and
vulnerable spines. There are many, many bones in the foot to
accomplish the tasks people need it to do. The foot as a support
structure in the strike phase is wrought with problems. The arched
design has led to a strong push-off that has much to do with stride
length. But, it has a very narrow window for working correctly. If it is a
bit too flat or too arched, or if it turns in or out too much, one gets a
host of complications. In people with a reduced arch, fatigue fractures
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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often develop. In those with a pronounced arch, the ligaments that


support the arch sometimes become inflamed, causing plantar fasciitis
and heel spurs.
The human foot is designed to only do two things while running, propel
the body forward and absorb the shock of doing so. The center of
mass of the body must balance itself on a broad, saddle-shaped pelvis
that distributes the weight of the organism equally on either side of the
sagittal plane straight down to the foot. The arms are used to balance
the mass of the body during the three phases of the bipedal stride:
support, flight, and strike. Balance, which is a neurological activity, is
achieved at various movement speeds by correlating an individuals
stride length with their stride frequency. There is a natural harmony of
these two characteristics in everyone, and marked improvement can
occur in both during training. In regard to biomechanical skill
development, training is achieved through conditioning the body, which
physiologists define as a voluntary change in body homeostasis.
The human body creates its own combination of stride length and
stride frequency to achieve its desired velocity. It has been shown in
high-speed motion analysis studies that too much time in the air, as
well as too much time on the ground hinder velocity at all speeds.
Time on the ground is regulated by stride rate. Time in the air is
regulated by stride length.
Studies have show that for both sprinters and distance runners,
reducing contact time, thus improving stride rate, is the key to
improving performance. For a distance runner to reduce contact time
by .02 seconds per stride would lead to marked improvement in all
distances. It has been shown that .02 seconds is about what can be
seen by the naked eye without any visual aid like a camera. An elite
distance runner takes about 500 strides per kilometer at race speed.
Doing a little mathematics shows that if indeed ground contact time
could be reduced by .02 seconds/stride, this would improve
performance by about 10 seconds per kilometer, or better yet, how
about 50 seconds over a 5 kilometer race!
To keep things in perspective, it has been shown that ground contact
time for an elite 100 meter runner is about .087 seconds and a 10
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kilometer runner about .153 seconds, which corresponds to the known


elite 100 meter velocity of 12 meters/second as compared to elite 10
kilometer speed of 6 meters/second. It would be much easier to
improve by .02 seconds over .153 seconds than it would be over .087
seconds. It is painstakingly difficult to cut much time in the 100 meter
race by an athlete of any ability. The major means of biomechanically
achieving this reduction is to shorten the stride, thus reducing the
braking forces inherent to the body. For example, stride length in the
100 meter race is shorter then the 400 meter race. The faster rate, not
a longer length is what achieves maximum velocity.
Studies have also shown that as the runner shifts from sprinting to
distance racing, there is a shift from power to economy, and the stride
will open up to achieve this change. This inevitably leads to some
braking forces in distance running that are not present in the 100
meters, because of the angle of the foot at impact. Plantar-flexion of
the foot in distance runners is much more common than in sprinters;
but through drills like straight-leg bounding some improvement in dorsaflexion can be achieved.
Identification of proper stride length to minimize these braking forces is
a coaching demand. Front-side mechanical improvement is essential.
This can be achieved through core strength improvement, joint mobility
increases, and drills designed to improve balance and stability such as
lunges, craning, and limited bounding. Distance runners need to learn
active recovery after foot take-off or the backside extends too far
which leads to the plantar-flexion problem. If this happens, the trunk
will lean too far forward and the arms will extend in order to achieve
balance. This will create too much time in the air. Distance runners
can help correct this by doing maximum velocity work, like flying 30
meter repeats. The athlete will learn to move their weight further up
the foot, thus helping to reduce ground contact time, breaking forces
and over-striding. Positioning of the trunk to achieve balance is also a
biomotor skill. Leaning back too far does not allow for extension of the
lead foot and will create under-striding. Again, max velocity work, will
forcefully improve this posture as the sensory input tries to balance the
organism at higher velocities. The real coaching key may be the use of
extensive bare-foot running on grass surface. This type of physical
demand will promote hypertrophy in the many foot muscles, as well as

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greater dexterity in the Achilles tendon, and create a stronger push-off


leaving the ground. It will create a quick, efficient stride pattern that if
developed will not tire as quickly.
The action of the arms to help regulate distance running speed and
economy cannot be understated. The arms do not remain at the same
angle throughout the stride-cycle; the angle opens and closes above
and below 90 degrees. Because plantar-flexion in distance runners is
common, so is overstriding, thus the arms
are carried too high to
compensate. This can
easily be detected by
observing the arms
crossing high over the
front-side sagittal plane.
This indicates too much
rotation of the big
saddle shaped human
pelvis. Getting
the
arms to remain in the
proper position may be
as easy as telling the
athlete to rotate their
wrists 90 degrees so the
thumb is pointed up, or
as difficult as building
much
more
core
strength to straighten
the posture. Merely
telling runners to drop
their arms usually will
not be the key to the
riddle.
In essence, the application of the five biomotor skills is the deciding
factor in races of any length. The posture of the desired body position
during endurance running is similar to the desired position in sprinting.
The athlete should want to stabilize the pelvis in an optimum position
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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that allows: 1) an efficient application of force to the ground by the


hamstrings and gluteus maximus; and 2) an efficient leg recovery by
the hip flexors. Forward trunk lean, pelvic stabilization and hip
flexibility are all interrelated and have the biggest influence on stride
length. Hip rotation is required to maximize stride length, but if
excessive, then poor technique will result. If these are combined with
poor pelvic tilt, then major inefficiencies will result, leading to either
poor performances, injuries, or both. Forward trunk lean often occurs
as compensation for a lack of hip mobility. Thus, an increase in hip
flexibility through dynamic drill work can often lead to a more vertical,
energy efficient and quicker running style.
A progressive and ambitious training plan for improving a distance
runners stride length and stride rate should include the following
components:

Improve the strength, elasticity, and range of motion of the hip


extensors to enhance the downward acceleration of the legs.

Improve the strength of the hamstrings and gluteus maximus to


enhance the downward acceleration of the legs.

Improve quadriceps strength to stabilize the knees prior to ground


contact.

Improve the strength of the plantar and dorsa flexors of the ankles
to follow the ankle joints to be rigidly set prior to contact with the
ground.
The means for achieving these goals would be sessions of maximum
speed work of 50 meters or less, sessions of barefoot running at 60 to
150 meters, walking lunges of 30 meters, bounding of 40 meters, using
both straight-leg and bent-leg techniques, and extensive core
strengthening static exercises. These should be designed around ones
available facilities, time, and motivational desire of the athlete and
coach.
The following (over page) is a sample list of the tasks needed to
improve the biomechanics of an endurance athlete.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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PRACTICES AND DRILLS TO REDUCE GROUND CONTACT TIME


Daily
The objective is to improve abdominal core strength. (15 minutes
at end of session). The components are:
30 bent-knee sit-ups.
30 abdominal crunches.
30 cross-legged crunches.
40 push-ups.
1 minute horizontal plank (holding a push-up on your
elbows),
1 minute Superman. On abdomen, arch your back as if in
soaring in air
2 minutes horizontal leg raise, holding it.
3 min horizontal bicycle.
3 min holding a sit-up halfway up, with legs off the ground.
Twice per week
The objective is to improve neuro-muscular sequencing (15 minutes
at start of session). The components are:
3 X 30 meters of walking lunges.
2 X 40 meters of straight-leg bounding.
2 X 40 meters of bent-leg (regular) bounding.
2 X 40 meters of power skipping.
Once per week
The objective is to improve foot strength. The components are:

8 X 60 second barefoot running on grass, 3 min rest between


repetitions, done at about 500 meter track pace.
Every 10 days
The objectives are to improve whole body strength and improve
maximum speed. The components are:

10 X 30 meters at 100% velocity. Done on the track, with


spikes, athletes must accelerate or fly through the 30 meter
max velocity zone. A strict 3 min rest between each repetition.
This is the entire practice with a slow warm-up and cool-down.
Do not couple with anything else.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

TRAINING CONCEPTS AND


ENDURANCE APPLICATION
The bodys move to an improved level of homeostasis is the goal of
any training and conditioning program. When the human body is
subjected to a work load that is greater than what was previously
presented, fatigue occurs, and after a period of recovery, adaptation to
this new stimulus results. The essentials of a training program are
based on applications that elicit a series of specific adaptations in the
body that result in better athletic and well timed performances.
Developing a seasonal, yearly, or career plan for an endurance athlete
is not a simple process. Sequencing work units and sessions, applying
proper loads, scheduling races, and fitting in rest and recovery periods
of time can be overwhelming. Endurance training is a progressive
endeavor. One type of workload will lead to one type of adaptation.
Training is specific with exacting results due to the type and strength
of the stimulus presented. The first chore of the coach is to determine
exactly how much time will be necessary to prepare the body for the
difficulty of competition, and determining from the administrative rules
of the sport, just how much actual time you will have to implement the
scientific principles of training.
There are ten major scientific principles to follow in training endurance
athletes. They are:

Adaptation: The anatomy and physiology of a human body


changes in response to a workload, thus creating an improved level
of fitness. A hard workout early in the season becomes an easier
workout later in the season.

Individual response: Every athlete is a unique individual. A


slightly different training effect is to be expected with each athlete
from the same stimulus.

Longevity: Endurance athletes develop to their capacity over a


career. That is why training age is just
consideration as chronological age.

Overload: The work stimulus must

as

important

be more difficult
previously done. Following rest, this will increase fitness.

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than

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Progression: The proper sequencing of workouts is the key to


success. To cause adaptation, these work loads must be tougher
from beginning to end.

Readiness: Athletes must be physically and mentally ready to


apply some level of work stimulus every day.

Restoration: In order to allow


workloads are easier
compensation to occur.

than

adaptation to occur, some


others. This ultimately causes

Reversibility: The improving progression of fitness can reverse it


itself relatively quickly. Ceasing hard work will cause adaptation to
stop.

Specificity: The work loads must be specific to needs within the


endurance domain.

Variation: There are many different workouts that produce the


same training effect. Everything must be kept interesting for the
athlete.
Once the general principles have been considered, it is time to combine
and apply them to the physiological laws of training. The process of
training can be planned because training follows certain scientific laws.
These laws of training need to be fully understood before the coach
can produce effective long-term programs.
The three most important physiological laws are:

Law of Overload
Law of Reversibility
Law of Specificity

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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LAW OF OVERLOAD
The human body is made up of 80 trillion living cells. Specific types of
cells are separated into tissues and these become the working units of
the body. Each tissue carries out a different job. All tissues have the
ability to adapt to what is happening to the body. This general
adaptation takes place inside the body and defines what being alive
actually means. Fortunately, there is also tissue adaptation to the
specialized training in the endurance events in track & field.
A training load is the work or exercise that an athlete performs in a
training session. Loading is the process of applying training loads. When
a new training load challenges an athletes fitness there is a response
from the body. This response by the body is an adaptation to the
stimulus of the training load. The initial response is called fatigue.
When the loading ceases there is a process of recovery or regeneration
from fatigue and will eventually lead to adaptation to the training load.
This regeneration and adaptation returns the athlete not just to their
original fitness level, but to an improved level. This higher level of
fitness is achieved through the bodys overcompensation to the initial
training load. So, overload causes fatigue, and recovery and adaptation
allow the body to overcompensate and reach higher levels of fitness.
The diagram below is called Matveyevs Model and is named after the
European scientist who first determined that indeed overcompensation is
the human adaptation to a physical stimulus that stresses the
physiological processes of the organism.
STIMULUS

FATIGUE

OVERCOMPENSATION

COMPENSATION

------------ Training too easy


Training adequate
Training too hard
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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The bodys ability to adapt to training loads and to overcompensate in


recovery explains how training actually works. If the training load is
not sufficient enough, there is little or no overcompensation. A loading
that is too great will cause the athlete to have problems with recovery
and they may not return to original levels of fitness. The result of this
is called overtraining.
LAW OF REVERSIBILITY
The loss of adaptation due to the lack of, or an inadequate stimulus, is
known as reversibility or detraining. This can be seen on the Matveyev
Model of overload, where the fitness level of the individual returns
slowly to the original level. The length of time needed varies with the
adaptation before reduced function is seen. For training to be effective
the coach must understand the relationship between adaptation, and
the Law of Overload and the Law of Reversibility. Fitness improves as
a direct result of the correct relationship between loading and recovery.
The term progressive overload is used to explain why increasing the
levels of loading will lead to progressive adaptation and overcompensation to higher levels of fitness. These increasing levels of
loading and exercise stress would include such things as a higher
number of repetitions, faster repetitions, shorter recovery times and
heavier weights. The speed that an activity is done is called the
intensity, while the duration of parts, or all of the activity, is called the
volume. Both are training considerations.
When a specific load is applied there is an initial increase in fitness, if the
same load is continually applied there will be leveling of work capacity.
Once the body has adapted to a specific training load, further adaptation
ceases. Similarly if loads are too far apart the athletes fitness level will
keep returning to original levels. Widely spaced loading will produce
little or no fitness improvement.
It has been shown that different training loads have different effects on
an athletes recovery period. An excessive training load causes
incomplete adaptation and the athlete will have problems with recovery
from training stimulus. Problems with recovery can also be cumulative.
This can occur when loading is repeatedly too great or too closely
spaced. The decline in performance caused by incomplete adaptation
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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is one of the obvious symptoms of overtraining. In this situation the


coach must allow time for proper recovery and should evaluate and
reduce the applied training loads.
The Training Ratio is the ratio of load to recovery. Determining the
correct training ratio for an individual athlete is one of the ways in
which the coach produces optimal levels of improvement in both fitness
and performance.
One ratio worth mentioning is the inverse relationship of volume to
intensity. When the volume is high the intensity is low and the inverse
should be true as well. The definition of peaking in an endurance
conditioning plan is when the decreasing volume training curve of the
athletes plan crosses and drops below the increasing intensity training
curve. Endurance coaches can choose between volume and intensity
for their overload tool. This is in contrast to the jump coach who will
always use intensity as their overload tool and would never consider
applying volume in that way. This emphasizes that success in the
jumps is chiefly a neuro-muscular function while endurance success is
based around cardio-vascular function which needs stress by both
volume and intensity stimuli.
LAW OF SPECIFICITY
General training must always come before specific training in the
conditioning plan. This applies to both the seasonal plan as well as the
long-term plan for the athlete The general training prepares the
athlete to tolerate the higher intensity of specific training. The volume
of general training determines how much specific training the athlete is
able to complete. The greater the initial volume of general training
there is, than the greater the capacity for specific training at the end.
Imagine a book that was not arranged by chapters, themes,
paragraphs, or even sentences. Our written word becomes
understandable, comparable, and historical because it is highly
organized and standardized. A training plan must be written in the
same organized way. A modular design is used in developing a
periodized training structure that can be broken down through various
levels into a series of organized parts.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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The training model originates with the annual plan which is the basic
calendar year, and is then broken down into macrocycles which are
seasons within the year. The macrocycle is broken down into 2 smaller
blocks of time called periods. This is a very broad category that
indicates that the athlete is in either a preparation or competitive
training mode. There are usually 2 phases within each period and they
will each distinguish between the general or specific phase of each
period.
Phases are broken up into mesocycles which vary from 3 to 4
microcycles. Each mesocycle is associated with some particular theme
or set of goals. Microcycles are 7-10 consecutive days blocks of
training. Each microcycle is then broken into days which are called
sessions and then training units within each session.
The overall goal of each of the macrocycles is to produce the best
performances near the macrocycles end, a time corresponding to the
most important competitions. Applying the ten general principles of
training and the three scientific laws of training during and between
each macrocycle will hopefully deliver the most well timed and
outstanding performances for
each individual athlete. Most
macrocycles use single or double periodizational models. Single
models feature one macrocycle per year, while double models feature
two macrocycles per year, e.g. cross-country and track. To
accommodate two peaking periods in double periodization models,
normally the second macrocycle involves a return to activities done
earlier in the training year. Double periodization models usually
sacrifice the quality of the peaks to some extent. Track can be broken
down into indoor and outdoor track as well. For the distance runner
that may mean an annual plan with three peaks, or tricycle model.
Hopefully, this model is only administered by the most advanced of the
endurance coaches.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

DESIGNING THE ENDURANCE TRAINING PLAN


The foundation of all endurance event development is the adaptations
that occur to the infra-structure of the body. Unlike other areas of
track and field, the endurance events developments occurs over a
much longer period of time. Sprinting, throwing and jumping all must
develop the neuro-muscular system, as well as institute changes in
blood chemistry within the body. Endurance must do this as well, and
in addition, radical changes in the delivery system of the blood must
also be developed.
Energy system development is essential in endurance performance
improvement. The advanced development of the energy systems is in
an area called the combined zone. That is defined as the athletes
physiological ability to delay performance fatigue, so that when the
deciding moment occurs (critical moment), the athlete will have the
resources to remain competitive in the race. Development of the
energy systems are both long and short term. Combined zone
application has a combination of both.
Training and racing in the aerobic energy zone and instituting aerobic
training modalities will follow very specific guidelines. This aerobic
development hinges upon training with little effect of acidosis during
the session. Lactic acid is not a problem to the cell, for the small
amount that is produced is easily buffered by the tissue. The fuel is
completely oxydized as it produces ATP energy to run at a submaximal
velocity. There are some very specific parameters to follow in training
in this system, with the most effective modality being that of the
aerobic threshold.
In aerobic training, the runner will use either glycogen/glucose or fatty
acids as metabolic fuel. Which one of these two to be used as the
primary fuel is determined by the intensity of the run.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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The coach can judge the effort and primary energy source by using the
runners heart rate as the monitor:
ENERGY SUBSTRATE

Fatty acids
Fatty acids

Glycogen/Glucose

HEART RATE ZONE

Up to 130-150 beats/ min


Up to 130-150 beats/ min

150-170 beats/min

STORAGE SITES IN BODY

Inter-cellular
Inter-cellular

Inter-cellular and in liver

The two physiological values that define the aerobic training regimes
used to develop the endurance base of the runnerss training program
are the aerobic and anaerobic thresholds.
The aerobic threshold is the break point (130-150 beats/min) or shift
from fatty acids to glycogen/glucose as the primary fuel needed to
produce ATP energy to run. Running at this velocity will adapt the
runners aerobic system to use fatty acids as the primary energy
source, thus sparing glycogen for faster paces. Physiologists have also
determined this value to be about 65% of present day VO2 max pace.
The anaerobic threshold is the break point (170 beats/min) at which
the aerobic system can no longer supply the energy needed to run at a
given effort. The endurance runner must rely on the anaerobic system
to aid the aerobic system in supplying energy to run at intensities
requiring a heart rate over 170 beats/min. At this point, the runner
begins to accumulate excessive lactic acid. Training just below this
threshold will enhance an efficient use of glycogen as the energy
source. This will also spare glycogen and push the anaerobic system
further away. Physiologists have determined that value to be 85-90%
of VO2 max pace.
Training and racing anaerobically requires two systems for the breaking
down of substrate into energy. These energy systems are used at near
max or maximal velocity. These two systems both produce energy
without the presence of cellular oxygen. These two energy pathways
are called the anaerobic alactic and anaerobic glycolytic systems. The
difference in the two is the fuel substrate used to create ATP energy
for cellular use. The alactic system uses creatine phosphate and the
glycolytic system uses the slower process of breaking down
carbohydrates such as glucose.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

ANAEROBIC
SYSTEM

FUEL SUBSTRATE

DURATION

BYPRODUCTS

Alactic

Creatine Phosphate

6-7 seconds

none

Glycolytic

Glycogen/Glucose

7-90 seconds

Lactic acid/H+ ion

The human muscle cell contains about 6-7 seconds of available creatine
phosphate, and while it is very efficient, it is short lived. The athlete will
improve their ability to maintain a higher velocity for 6-7 seconds as an
adaptation to alactic training, but cannot extend the time frame beyond
these few seconds. This system begins with the first movement and will
be used for the initial start and for pace surges, but does not have that
significant an impact in the endurance events.
The glycolytic anaerobic energy system is responsible for producing
energy to run at very high intensities without cellular oxygen. This
system is the primary source of energy to run at max or near max
velocities from 7-90 seconds. This system, for example, is the primary
eneregy system for races such as the 400 meters. The limiting factor
and sustation point for this system will be severe acidosis. Training in
this zone will improve the overall velocity an endurance runner will
attain, and the runners ability to effectively cope with the buildup of
lactic acid. This coping ability is what physiologists call lactate tolerance.
The combined zone, drawing energy from both aerobically and
anaerobically produced energy sources to run, is of primary concern
following the aerobic base development of the athlete. After the
endurance runner has developed a sufficient aerobic base, the primary
concern begins to turn toward race energies and the use of both energy
systems to run effectively with the effects of acidosis. This concept
begins to shape the athletes aerobic power, or what physiologists refer
to as VO2 max. This physiological concept is concerned with the heart
as a living pump and its ability to transport as much blood and oxygen to
the working muscle tissue as possible The heart is a muscle and can be
enlarged and strengthened as an adaptation to training. The stronger
and bigger the heart is, the more blood and oxygen that can be pumped
to the working muscles, thus the better the performance in the
endurance running events should be.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Running at VO2 max velocity is working at a heart rate of


approximately 180-186 beats/min. The heart rate will vary from one
individual to another, but it is within this range that we can generalize
for the purposes of training. This speed is usually associated with 10
minutes of all out running. In the case of women and young male
runners it correlates to their performance at 3000 or 3200 meters. For
older, more experienced, male runners and some elite women it is
associated with their best performance at 5000 meters.
The relationship of VO2 max to specific endurance running events is as
follows:
EVENT

% OF VO2 MAX

800 meters

120%

1500-1600 meters

110%

3000-3200 meters

102-100%

5000 meters

97%

10,000 meters

92%

The best measure of aerobic power is VO2 max. It is strongly


connected with combined zone racing success because it is a mix of
both aerobic and anaerobic factors. Because it is about 3200 meters of
running, we know it to be about 70% aerobic and 30% anaerobic in its
energy requirement. For this reason, the lowering of blood pH caused
by the the buildup of excessive H+ ions from the disassociated lactic
acid molecules throughout the race will be THE limiting factor in the
ability to achieve and maintain race pace beyond about 3200 meters..
As with training the two thresholds, VO2 max is best stressed at
training right at the 100% value, or a relaxed range of velocities
between 97-102% of present day VO2 max pace to be sure.
Planning the daily endurance practice sessions will include one, or a
combination of the following, three training components: Continuous
running, interval running, or repetition running.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Continuous running is defined as running, without break, at a given


intensity for a prescribed amount of time and volume. Different
intensities and volumes are used to bring about specific adaptations
designed to enhance performance. These adaptations occur by the use
of a 20 minute to several hour run in order to develop general to specfic
aerobic capacities for endurance running events. There are many ways
to implement continuous runs, but they should be based on the athletes
chronological age, training age, state of fitness, and ability level. Once
some advanced level of fitness is achieved, this type of run must have a
duration of at least 20 minutes to have a positive training effect.
Some continuous running examples:
DURATION

PACE

HEART RATE TARGET

% OF VO2 MAX

8 miles

6:30/mile

160 bpm

75%

12 miles

EASY

<150 bpm

65%

5 miles

5:45/mile

165 bpm

85%

7 miles

7:20/mile

150 bpm

70%

Interval running is defined as varying numbers of repetitions or bouts


of running, usually short in duration in a set or in multiple sets, with
the volume of repetitions high and the intensity low enough to just
successfully complete the volume of the workout. The rest between
repetition or set is incomplete in nature, but designed to be able to aid
in the completion of the given volume and intensity of the workout.
Each interval running session will be designed to bring about a specific
adaptation. Rest and recovery between running sessions in this
workout is incomplete and is best described as: a little break. In
contrast, complete or near complete recovery, can be described as
allowing enough rest to completely restore the athletes homeostasis.
Incomplete recovery is the foundation of interval running training.
Physiologists have defined this as 1/3 of the time it takes to fully
recover. Within 1/3 of the time it takes to completely recover, 2/3 of
the athletes recovery has taken place. If it takes 9 minutes to
completely recover from a specific effort, then the athlete is 2/3s of
the way toward complete recovery within the first 3 minutes.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Some interval running examples:


DURATION

RUNNING EXTENT

REST INTERVAL

6 X 400 meters

65-67 seconds

90 seconds

8 X 200 meters

25-27 seconds

180 seconds

6 X 800 meters

3 min

3 min

22 X (4 X 400 meters)

68 seconds

90 secs/reps, 3 min/sets

Normally, the volume of the session will will be equal to or not to


exceed, two times the race distance. This will depend on the duration,
intensity, volume, and density of the session. Interval training should
not be used much in the competitive phase.
Repetition running is defined as varying numbers of repetitions or bouts
of running, these are usually long in duration, intensity, and volume, and
will need complete recovery or near complete recovery to successfully
complete the workout. The individual repetitions are up to 2/3 race
distance at race tempo or very near it. The foundation behind repetition
running is complete or near complete recovery before the next bout or
repetition. The total volume of the session should not exceed 2/3 to 2
times the race distance depending on the duration, intensity, volume,
and density of the session. Repetition running should be used as a
training method in the mid to late competitive phase with experienced
rather than young endurance athletes. Repetition running is an effective
method for developing athletes in the combined zone. This combined
with interval sessions and continuous runs at the aerobic and anaerobic
thresholds, and VO2 max work, is the sequencing foundation for
preparation to race effectively in the combined zone.
Some repetition running examples:
DURATION

RUNNING EXTENT OR PACE

REST PERIOD

2 by 1200 meters

1500 meter race pace

20 miutes

3 by 400 meters

800 meter race pace

15 minutes

3 by 1 mile

3200 meter race pace

10 minutes

1200/1000/800 meter ladder

3200 meter race pace

12 minutes

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

CONDITIONING IN THE AEROBIC ZONE


The foundation points of any endurance running training plan are the
adaptations that occur to the aerobic energy system. The development
to this system will represent a major influence on the success of an
endurance athletes competitive season and long-term career. The
aerobic adaptations occur in two distinct physiological areas: the
cardio-respiratory system and the muscular system. Development in
these two areas will be exact and will ultimately benefit from a
sequential and a progressive loading and unloading plan.
Adaptations occur in the aerobic system because of changes in the:
Cardiovascular System
Muscular System
Aerobic Metabolism
Adaptations occur as follows:
Cardiovascular System
An increase in heart size.
A decrease in resting heart rate
An increase in the ventricular stroke volume.
An increase in cardiac output.
An increase in blood flow and blood volume.
A change in the composition of the blood.
Muscular System
A size increase in slow-twitch muscle fibers.
A conversion of oxidative fast-twitch muscle fibers to slow-twitch
fibers.
An increase in the rate of angiogenesis.
An increase in the type, size, and number of cellular mitochondria.
An increase in total cellular oxygen extraction (aVO2 difference)
Metabolic System
An increase in the levels of cellular myoglobin.
An increase in fatty acids storage volume and use.
An increase in glycogen storage volume and use.
An increase in the volume of aerobic enzymes.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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As can be seen, the adaptations that occur in the body during aerobic
zone training are mainly structural changes, and because of that are
considered chronic. It takes years of training to finally achieve the
aerobic adaptations that are necessary for high level success. Work
loads that are applied to achieve the above changes and development
in the organism must stimulate this zone, but not compromise the
development of the anaerobic energy systems.
The large systems of the body need three things to be useful to the
organism. First, there must be an on/off switch and regulator of the
speed that biochemical reactions occur in that system. That is the role
of enzymes. Second, there must be structures in place where these
biochemical reactions take place, nutrients and oxygen delivered, and
waste taken care of. That is the role of tissue and organs. Third,
there must be a means to interact with other systems of the body such
as the nervous system in order to facilitate the action. That is the role
of the periphery and central nervous systems. If the goal is to improve
an entire system, such as the aerobic energy system, then there must
be structural and performance development in all three categories.
Training with loads that specifically target this system should elicit a
number of foundational changes.
In response to aerobic zone running, the hearts weight and volume, as
well as the left ventricles chamber size increases. Because of an
increased volume of blood in the heart, specifically the left ventricle,
both the size of the chamber and the thickness of the wall increases in
order to compensate and respond to this greater demand.
Increases in left ventricular chamber size result in increased venous
return, thus increasing the end-diastolic volume.
Studies
have
concluded that this increase in chamber size does occur and is caused
by the volume of aerobic running, rather than the intensity, which is
more associated with the thickness increase of the hearts wall.
The stroke volume (SV) of the left ventricle increases, as a result of
aerobic conditioning. Stroke volume at rest is significantly higher after
endurance running training and increased ventricular muscle mass can
cause a more forceful contraction. After periods of endurance training,
the left ventricle fills more completely during diastole (period of dilation
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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of the heart), coupled with additional blood plasma volume present in


the body. There is an increased elasticity of the muscle wall as the
ventricle enlarges, creating a stronger more forceful contraction. This
more forceful contraction will leave less blood in the left ventricle at the
end of systole (end systolic volume) following aerobic training.
The adaptations from endurance running that occur to the heart as a
working muscle affect the heart rate at rest, during sub-maximal
steady state aerobic running, and during maximal running. There are
two major autonomic nerves of the heart; the sympathetic nerves,
which increases heart rate and the parasympathetic nerves, which
decreases the rate when stimulated. A decreased sympathetic
influence decreases heart rate independently through the influences of
the autonomic nervous system.
The resting heart rate for
untrained
subjects
is
normally between 60 to 80
beats per minute. In highly
trained endurance runners
resting heart rates may
range from 28-48 beats
per minute. It appears that
aerobic training volume
increases parasympathetic
activity in the heart while
decreasing
sympathetic
activity. This response to
training can be easily
measured by taking heart rates at rest at the carotid or radial site. Since
heart rate reflects the amount of work performed, the heart must meet
the increased demands of the body when engaged in activity. Resting
heart rate is a great indication of training state or a state of fatigue.
A steady state heart rate is achieved when a rate of work is held
constant at sub-maximal aerobic rates of exercise. Upon exercising,
heart rate will increase fairly rapidly until it plateaus at the specific work
level needed to meet the circulatory demands at the steady work rate.
This plateau is the steady state heart rate, and will change with

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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subsequent increases in intensity. For each increase in intensity, the


heart rate will reach a new steady state value after 1 to 2 minutes. The
improvement in the state of fitness, due to cardio-respiratory
development of the aerobic system, will lower steady state heart rates at
given work rates with aerobic running. Following a 6-month endurance
running training program in a, moderate aerobic zone intensity, steady
state heart rate decreases of 20-40 beats per minute are common.
An athletes heart rate recovery period is the time it takes for the heart
to return to its resting rate after a bout of exercise. Following a period
of aerobic running, heart rate returns to a resting level quicker after
exercise, than prior to training. Heart rate recovery period is shortened
indicating enhanced cardio-respiratory fitness.
Cardiac output is defined as the product of heart rate and stroke volume.
By definition, cardiac output will change with either a change in heart
rate or stroke volume in order to meet the demand for oxygen supply for
the working muscles. During the early stages of exercise, cardiac output
increases due to an increase in both heart rate and stroke volume. Once
exercise reaches approximately 60-65% of maximum capacity, stroke
volume plateaus or increases at a much slower rate. Further increases in
cardiac output are then due to increased heart rate to meet the demand.
Improvement in heart rate, stroke volume, or both due to endurance
running, brings about an improvement in cardiac output. Maximal cardiac
output can increase as much as 2.5 times per minute in aerobically
trained endurance runners.
Changes in the cardiovascular system occur to meet the demands of
the working skeletal muscles. As muscles become better trained, the
cardiovascular system adapts to increase blood flow through increased
muscle capillarization. The building of more capillaries is the process of
angiogenesis, and is an important adaptation to aerobic zone training
that is not found in anaerobic training. The vascular system can
redistribute blood to areas with the greatest needs receiving greater
volumes of blood. Blood is redirected, by the sympathetic nervous
system, to those areas that are active during exercise. For example,
only 15-20 % of cardiac output is directed towards working muscles at
rest but this distribution changes to 60-65% during aerobic running
exercise. This increase occurs due to the reduction of blood flow to the
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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kidneys, liver, stomach, and intestines. During exercise, the vessels


supplying the digestive organs constrict and the vessels to working
muscle expand, sometimes seen in the urge to regurgitate during a run
if there is food in the gut.
The blood volume itself is made up of normally 55-60% blood plasma
and 40-45% of red blood cells, which is the oxygen carrying element
present. Aerobic endurance running has been shown to increase blood
volume following intense levels of training. This increased volume
occurs with an increase in plasma volume of at least 10% accompanying
endurance running training. Blood plasma is 90% water and the other
10% made of plasma proteins and nutrients. An increase in plasma
volume will increase the speed of blood flow while increasing the rate of
oxygen delivery. Conversely, a decrease in blood plasma volume will
result in the raising of blood viscosity or the slowing down of blood flow.
Raising red blood cell levels will increase oxygen carrying capacity and
increase endurance running performance. Conversely, a decrease in red
blood cells will mean a decrease in endurance running performance with
reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
Once an abundance of oxygen rich blood reaches the muscles, some of
the gas is removed for use in the working muscle. There are several
major types of muscles. Aerobically, the slow-twitch will be the most
affected by training in that zone. Slow-twitch muscle fibers are
fatigue-resistant and have a very high aerobic capacity. This great
oxidative capacity is due to an ability to completely metabolize fuel by
using oxygen. Slow-twitch fibers have been shown to increase 7-22%
larger in response to aerobic running training but fiber size does not
seem to have a relationship to the aerobic capacity of the muscle. Slowtwitch muscle fibers respond to endurance training with adaptations
occurring up to intensities of 95% of VO2 max.
Fast-twitch fibers fit two categories, one being the oxidative (oxygen
dependent) fast twitch fibers and the other being non-oxidative. The
oxidative fast twitch fiber type (F.O.G.) has high oxidative as well as
glycolytic enzyme activity. Aerobic zone running training levels will
increase the oxidative capacity of fast twitch fibers. Thus, training at
speeds up to 80% of VO2 max will bring about significant training
adaptations.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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As stated earlier, angiogenesis is a principle effect of aerobic zone


training. This is the increase in the number of capillaries surrounding
and feeding each muscle fiber. Typically, there are 2 to 4 capillaries
feeding untrained S.T. and F.O.G. fibers. With endurance running, it
has been noted that this number can increase as high as 9 capillaries
per trained S.T. and F.O.G. muscle fibers. Substantial increases in
capillary numbers occur with the first few weeks or months of aerobic
zone training. Studies have shown there are 50% more capillaries
found after two months of aerobic running training. This increase in
capillarization will decrease diffusion distance for O2 molecules as they
move from capillary blood into the working skeletal muscles. This
process increases the amount of O2 that can be taken up by the
working muscle, enhancing the aerobic efficiency of the trained
endurance runner. Also, the existing capillaries in trained muscles can
dilate more and increase blood flow into the muscle.
The mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell.
Aerobic metabolism occurs in the mitochondria to replenish ATP cell
energy molecules used for muscle contractions. The greater demand
for aerobic metabolism of fuel substrates, the more the body will
respond by increasing the number and size of the mitochondria in both
the S.T. & F.O.G. muscle fibers, thus improving aerobic capacity. In
one study, the number of mitochondria increased approximately 15%
following 27 weeks of aerobic based training. The size of the
mitochondria increased 35%, over this same period of training. The
number of mitochondria per muscle fiber has been shown to be less in
women than in men. It would appear to represent a definite
biochemical limitation with respect to the overall maximal aerobic
power between males and females.
Arterial venous oxygen difference (avO2 difference) is defined as the
difference between arterial blood oxygen content versus the venous
blood oxygen content. Increased avO2 difference levels indicate a
greater volume of oxygen consumption by the exercising skeletal
muscles. An enhanced level of avO2 is related to the enzymatic and
other biochemical changes that occur within the muscles and that are
also a result of aerobic zone training.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Aerobic zone training increases cellular myoglobin volumes by 80% in


some studies. As oxygen enters the muscle fiber from arterial blood, it
binds to myoglobin, a compound similar to hemoglobin. This ironcontaining compound shuttles oxygen to the mitochondria. This
increase in myoglobin volume occurs in both ST and FOG muscle fiber
types, thus increasing their aerobic capacity resulting in a larger
amount of intracellular oxygen used to rebuild ATP molecules.

Human skeletal muscle normally contains between 13 and 15 grams of


glycogen per kilogram. Muscle glycogen to blood glucose is used
extensively as the primary substrate, during each training bout above
the aerobic threshold. The mechanism responsible for glycogen
synthesis is stimulated after each session, while depleted stores are
replenished. Endurance trained runners can store 2 to 2.5 times more
volume of glucose to glycogen as untrained individuals with the same
diet can. This increase in stores allows endurance trained runners to
tolerate subsequent training demands. It has long been accepted that
the maximum amount of carbohydrate that could be used by an elite
distance runner is about 60 grams per hour. Studies now show that an
ingestion of glucose and fructose will increase the rate to 105 grams
per hour. Most sport drinks are just glucose polymers.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Conditioning in the aerobic zone uses glycogen/glucose as well as fatty


acids as fuel to rebuild ATP molecules, depending on the aerobic intensity.
Glycogen storage sites become more accessible, due to their closer
proximity to the mitochondria as a result of endurance training. Along
with increased glycogen stores, training increases the capacity of skeletal
muscle to break down glycogen into glucose in the presence of oxygen.
Endurance trained muscles, contain substantially more fat, stored as
intracellular triglycerides, than untrained skeletal muscles. Oxidation of fat
to CO2 and H2O with ATP production in the presence of oxygen is
increased following aerobic training. Fat serves as a major source of fuel
for skeletal muscle during endurance exercises. It has been documented
that two times the amount of triglyceride muscle storage has been found
after only 8 weeks of endurance running training.
These adaptations will occur at steady state tempo runs of 60-65%
VO2 max and below. This, along with increased oxidative enzyme
volume and activity, will bring about an increase in the aerobic
threshold. Increased fat utilization is due to the enhanced ability to
mobilize free fatty acids, and the improved capacity to oxidize fat.
Improved aerobic threshold will result in a sparing of glycogen.
Aerobic enzymes increase the mitochondrial efficiency. This coupled
with an increase in the size of the mitochondria increases a skeletal
muscles aerobic capacity. Aerobic enzymes are dramatically influenced
by aerobic zone training. For example, one study showed that training
60 to 90 minutes per day produces 2.6-fold increase in the activity of
these enzymes. The training induced activities of the aerobic enzymes
reflect both the increases in the number and the size
of
the
mitochondria and an improved ATP production.
Now that the coach has the scientific evidence to support the use of
extensive aerobic training regimes in the endurance events, a means for
the implementation of workloads must be established. The best means for
doing this is by setting up work based on physiological thresholds that
scientists have identified in the human body. The two most well known
are the aerobic threshold and the anaerobic threshold (also known as the
lactate threshold). Both thresholds indicate crucial moments in aerobic
running where a line is crossed by the physiological processes of the body,
thus causing a modified effect to the changing workload.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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The aerobic threshold is defined as the breakpoint or shift in the


primary energy source in the aerobic system. The shift from fatty
acids as the primary energy substrate to glycogen as the primary
energy substrate occurs at an intensity approximately 65% of VO2
max, and at a heart rate of approximately 130-140 beats per minute.
In the physiology laboratory, human blood would test at approximately
1.8-2.0 mmol of lactate.
The lactate threshold is defined as the breakpoint during exercise at
which blood lactate production exceeds removal. This signifies a shift
from the complete oxidation of substrate in producing ATP energy, to a
significant contribution anaerobically in producing ATP energy. The
anaerobic system breaks down glucose, with an accumulation of the
by-product lactic acid. Below this threshold, energy is supplied by the
aerobic system with no accumulation of lactic acid.
Improvement in both thresholds, and the shifting of both thresholds,
will occur with aerobic zone training. Improvement in the aerobic
threshold marks an increase in the use of fatty acids at increased
running speeds, thus sparing glycogen/glucose. Improvement in the
lactate threshold marks an increase in fuel sparing through an efficient
breakdown of glycogen/glucose as a substrate. The running speed at
the lactate threshold will increase with this sparing and more efficient
use of glycogen/glucose.
The work done at the threshold intensities of each will markedly
improve the stamina of the athlete. Because each of the thresholds is
at different ends of the aerobic zone intensity continuum they must be
addressed with workouts that are distinctively different in both volume
and intensity from one another. Too many times coaches want to do a
long run, but the runners themselves turn it into a tempo run workout
with practice day racing that is much too fast for that type of
workout. At other times runners cut the long run short before it gets its
full training effect on the athlete. While the pace may be less intense
training in the aerobic zone, there are still traps and pitfalls for the
coach to watch for.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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The long run is designed to work along the aerobic threshold and
accomplish the following:
The Long Run
TOTAL
VOLUME

20% of weekly mileage for events from the 800 meters


to 5000 meters. 25 % for 10,000 meters and beyond.

PACE

Should be done as closely as possible to 65% of VO2


max pace as possible or slightly slower. Date pace
workout.

HEART
RATE

Because of human variation it is in a range between 130150 bpm. Gossip pace as it is called.

FREQUENCY

Done once per week all season long. Always base it off
of the 20% or 25% of that weeks mileage. 24 hour
recovery.

TRAINING

Fat is the main fuel.


Cardiac benefits gained from
increasing heart size, greater blood flow and volume, etc.

INTENSITY

EFFECT

The tempo run is designed to work along the anaerobic threshold and
below to accomplish the following:
The Tempo Run
TOTAL VOLUME

The total for the run should be between 3-9 miles. The most
common applications are from 4-7 miles.

INTENSITY
PACE

Should be done at a varying VO2 max pace based on the extent


of the run. 75% VO2 max pace for 8 miles, 80% VO2 Max pace
for 6 miles or 90% of VO2 Max pace for 5 miles as examples.

HEART RATE

Because of variations in the extent of the run and human


variations, the heart rate should vary between 150-180 bpm.

FREQUENCY

In the 800 meters and 1500 meters training regimes, no more


then once per week. For the 3200 meters and greater, up to two
times per week. 24-48 hour recovery depending on volume and
intensity.

TRAINING
EFFECT

Carbohydrate is the main fuel. Fuel storage and usage issues are
important. Cardiac benefits gained from increasing heart size,
etc. Muscle enzyme development. Converting muscle fiber type.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Long runs and tempo runs are the most effective stimulus for eliciting
the long term changes that must occur in the bodys infra-structure in
the quest to develop as an endurance runner. It takes many weeks
and months to see the evidence of performance that these changes will
promise. A sensible training plan of stressing the long run intermixed
with tempo running sessions is the surest way to develop fitness in the
aerobic zone. It is important to instigate variety in both of these
workouts so that not only is the scenery different, but the training
effect, especially from the varieties of date paced tempo runs is
different as well. Remember, date pace means fitness capacity for that
day. Date pace will change continually due to a progression in fitness.
All work done in the aerobic zone is based on date pace, in contrast to
anaerobic work, which is based around goal pace.
There will be other aerobic mileage sessions in your training plan which
are not structured as well as tempo runs and the long run. General
mileage runs done during any training phase, but especially during
general preparation work come to mind. There are a base number of
miles that endurance athletes need to complete during each microcycle
to provide enough stimuli to the aerobic structures and enzymes to be
effective. These are referred to as base miles. Remember, these
events derive most of their energy for muscular contraction from the
aerobic system, so an appropriate aerobic workload must be done
corresponding to the training age, chronological age
and event
selection of the athlete. A rough guideline for these variables is shown
below, using both the mid-season and peaking periods as reference. A
description of the athletes is as follows; novice: junior high age or
younger, not much experience; emerging: senior high age, a year or
two of experience; elite: senior high age or older, years of experience,
possibly exceptional talent.
Weekly training mileage guidelines (mid-season microcycle):
ATHLETE /

NOVICE

EMERGING

ELITE

EVENT

ATHLETE

ATHLETE

ATHLETE

800 meters

20 miles

30 miles

40 miles

1500/1600 meters

30 miles

40 miles

50 miles

3200/5000 meters

35 miles

50 miles

65 miles

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ATHLETE / EVENT

NOVICE ATHLETE

EMERGING ATHLETE

ELITE ATHLETE

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

Weekly training mileage guidelines (peaking/tapering microcycle):


ATHLETE
/EVENT
EVENT

NOVICE
ATHLETE

EMERGING
ATHLETE

ELITE
ATHLET

800 meters

12 miles

18 miles

1500/1600 meters

18 miles

24 miles

38 miles

3200/5000 meters

20 miles

35 miles

50 miles

30 miles

There is frequently debate amongst coaches concerning the


appropriate number of training miles to be run for these events. That
sort of debate is good because mileage is an important training factor,
and the discussion of it leads to an introspective look at ones training
plan. Do not get too excited about total mileage however, as it still
always gets back to the aerobic and anaerobic energy contributions,
and how to maximize these percentages for the individual athlete. An
important step in the development of the athlete occurs when the
stimulus moves from lots of easy, general mileage in the novice stage,
to many more miles just outside of the comfort zone of the athlete in
the emerging stage. Many athletes are incapable of this transition and
will stay as joggers, rather than move into the training necessary to be
successful racers. That is probably fine on a high school team as long
as the coach takes notice of it, and then hopes not too many athletes
choose that same route.
As an athlete moves into late emerging or elite status, the coach may
wonder about the appropriateness of splitting workouts into two
distinct sessions per day. This would usually be early in the morning
and then later in the afternoon. The break-point for splitting workouts
is about the 65 mile mark. It is difficult to run 70 miles or more per
week in just one session per day as the training model. In chapter 8
we will look at rest and recovery between all types of workloads which
will help in deciding if two sessions per day is appropriate.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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CONDITIONING IN THE ANAEROBIC ZONE


Even though you probably coach endurance athletes, it is time to think
like a sprint coach. In earlier chapters, evidence was shown that at race
pace a significant amount of ATP conversion must occur anaerobically in
order to be successful in the endurance events. That is energy
production occurring within the boundaries of the cell membrane, but
outside of the mitochondria. The adaptations to the tissue that result
from aerobic training are different than those that occur from anaerobic
training. The workout sessions themselves are structured differently,
with far different adaptation goals. While all work that is done strictly in
the aerobic system is based on a continuous run of a prescribed submaximal intensity, strict anaerobic work is broken into runs of various
distances, with a worthwhile break between these runs in order for the
athlete to achieve some level of recovery before the next one begins.
It is important to understand that the anaerobic energy system is
actually two systems. The alactic anaerobic system has vast power,
but has a life of just a few seconds once an activity starts. The second
anaerobic system has a capacity of a couple of minutes of sub-maximal
power once an activity starts. This energy production occurs without
oxygen and is termed the glycolytic process because the cycle by which
it occurs is called glycolysis. Both provide many times the power of the
aerobic system, but lack for the most part, the endurance component
the aerobic system provides. These two systems will add to the energy
supplied by the aerobic system, but in order to train them effectively,
the stimuli will be exclusive to each system.
Anaerobic alactic energy system adaptations in anaerobic training are
important to the activities that emphasize maximal muscle force
production, e.g.; sprinting, and weight lifting. These rely heavily on
the anaerobic alactic energy systems ability to replenish ATP
molecules. Maximal sprint efforts lasting up to 6-7 seconds place
demands on available stored ATP and the breakdown and re-synthesis
of PCr and ATP. This capacity to perform at a maximal level for 67seconds is often referred to as anaerobic power. Available ATP stores
are used in the first 2-3 seconds and then additional ATP are rebuilt
with energy supplied from another cellular molecule known as
phospho-creatine (PCr).
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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The replenishment of ATP lies solely with the PCr system in the first 67 seconds of maximal sprinting effort. Some studies have shown this
to be at 2-4 times the muscular contractile force, or power output, than
is necessary for effort at VO2 max. At these force levels the supply of
available ATP and creatine phosphate will be able to meet the demands
for ATP production for the first 6-7 seconds. Several studies have
determined that the PCr and ATP stores increase their volume up to
levels of 30 seconds of energy conversion through bouts of alactic
training.
Along with the metabolic increases in the supply of stored ATP and
PCr, and the increased volume and the activity of anaerobic enzymes,
there is another series of adaptations to consider. Those adaptations
to maximal sprint training are not metabolic, but in the area of strength
gain, recruitment process, synchronization, coordination, and the
efficiency of movement of the FT muscle fibers. These adaptations
occur because of the greater loads being placed on the muscle fibers to
generate maximal force.
With sprint training the neuromuscular system adapts to produce more
force and maintain this force for a longer period of time, in this case 6-7
seconds. So training at maximal speeds will improve the skill and
coordination for performing at higher intensities through the full
spectrum of events. Anaerobic alactic, along with the anaerobic
glycolytic training will optimize neuromuscular fiber recruitment, allowing
more efficient movement. Training at both maximal and fast velocities,
and training with heavy loads (strength training) improves the efficiency,
thus economizing the use of the muscles supply of energy.
The limiting factor in the performance of the alactic system is the
depletion of the ATP, PCr and enzyme stores. Without ATP, the
substrate P + Cr, and the necessary enzymes, the system will no
longer supply the needed ATP for maximal contractile force and must
rely then on anaerobic glycolysis to maintain the replenishment of ATP.
The glycolytic system will not produce ATP energy as quickly as the
alactic system, but much more quickly than the aerobic system. The
limiting factor in this system will be the effects of acidosis, or the
lowering of blood pH, due to the production of and disassociation of
the lactic acid molecule.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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The major source of fatigue in the anaerobic glycolytic energy system


is the accumulation of hydrogen ions, which create an acidic
environment within the blood and muscle cell. This is due to the
disassociation of the hydrogen ion (H+) from the carbohydrate nutrient
as lactic acid forms. This accumulation of H+ ions raises the acidity of
the muscle and interferes with both metabolism and the contractile
process.

Right: THE LACTIC ACID


MOLECULE (basically a
glucose molecule, a simple
carbohydrate, cleaved in
half. The problem particles
are the H+ ions that get
free).

The body has buffers; sodium bicarbonate, muscle phosphates, and


hemoglobin which combine with these H+ ions to reduce the muscle
fibers acidity, thus delaying the onset of fatigue. Sodium bicarbonate
for instance, will release earlier in the process and in greater volume
due to anaerobic training. Eight weeks of anaerobic glycolytic training
has been shown to increase the muscle buffering capacity by 12% 50%. Interestingly, aerobic training has no effect on buffering
potential. Changes in muscle buffering capacity are specific to the
intensity of the exercise performed.
With increased buffering capacity, sprint trained athletes can
accumulate more lactate in their blood and muscles and continue to
perform anaerobically at high levels of intensity. The disassociated H+
ions from carbohydrate cleavage, and not lactate, causes fatigue by
interfering with the contractile elements in the anaerobic system. With
enhanced buffering capacity, muscles can generate energy for longer
periods before a large accumulation of H+ inhibits performance.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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As with anaerobic alactic training, adaptation of muscle fibers occurs in the


recruitment process as glycolytic work intensifies. More muscle fibers are
recruited to perform at higher and higher levels of intensities. With this
improvement in the neuromuscular recruitment process, the economy and
efficiency of the sprint-trained individual increases significantly, improving
performance at all levels. These strength gains, by way of the recruitment
process, allow the muscle to generate more force and to maintain this
force for a longer period of time. This strength gain and increased
neuromuscular recruitment process will also economize the sprint-trained
athletes use of the muscles supply of energy.
In the middle of the last century, two physiologists, Woldemar Gerschler
and Dr. Herbert Reindel, both from Germany began the pioneering
scientific work behind using interval sessions and repetition running to
condition the anaerobic system. Their research work and training
application was based around rest intervals needed by the athlete to
continue deep into work sessions of short duration, running at maximum
or near maximum intensity. It was shown that during repeated bouts of
intense work the bodys internal chemistry changed, mainly due to the
continuing onset of acidosis. Gerschler and Reindel began examining
what rest interval would be adequate to allow the athlete just enough
recovery to be able to keep repeating the prescribed work intensity. This
was the birth of doing fast sessions by separating the work into
repetitions and sets. It was determined that in recovery, the body
recovers two-thirds of the way back to baseline homeostasis in the first
one-third of the time need for complete recovery. The rest interval was
then set at that amount of time, hence the origination of the word
interval in training. Coaches can then use that time, or shorten or
lengthen it, depending on the training effect that is desired. This is the
mainstay of sprint training, but with the anaerobic energy contributions
that must be met in endurance races, it is vital there as well.
Anaerobic alactic training will generally be done in the form of flying
efforts of 30-60 meters in sets of 2-4 repetitions with 90 seconds to 3
minutes in between repetitions. These repetitions are done in 2-4 sets
with 8-10 minutes between sets. The total volume ranges between 360
to 600 meters for an entire session. For an endurance athlete, these
sessions are crucial to assist with pace variation found in racesthe
start, finish and surges, for example. The shorter the race distance, like
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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the 800 meters, the more training sessions that will be needed, with
perhaps once per week with some athletes. The 5K athlete will find
benefit with a session of once every two weeks. Since this workout
emphasizes maximum speed, the correct surface would be the track with
spikes on.
The principle adaptation to anaerobic glycolytic training is to increase
the buffering capacity of the neuromuscular system. In other words,
the ability to continue to perform with increased levels of lactic acid,
more specifically hydrogen ions (H+). This type of training is designed
to pinpoint specifically the anaerobic glycolytic system, energy
production without oxygen, as the sole source of fuel or substrate
breakdown.
The training parameters of the glycolytic system are confined to efforts
that are completely anaerobic in fuel breakdown. This can be
accomplished with training regimes of repetitions at 90-98% of
maximum effort. These repetitions are usually between 80 and 300
meters, and are done in sets with a total volume of 600 to 1300 meters
per session. The sets are designed to increase anaerobic capacity and
the ability to perform with a higher tolerance to acidity. The sessions
sets are usually designed with 2-4 repetitions, depending on the extent
of the effort, and no more than 2-4 sets. Incomplete recovery in
between repetitions of a set will increase the ability to perform with a
higher tolerance of acidity. The set must be designed so that the
athlete may be able to maintain the intensity throughout the entire set
and session. Working in sets increases the amount of volume of the
entire session while the intensity is maintained. Recovery from
anaerobic bouts of exercise thoroughly stresses the aerobic system,
reducing the period of time between subsequent exercise sets, will
further stress the aerobic system.
Recovery between repetitions of a set is generally between 3-6 minutes.
The incomplete recovery must be matched with both the intensity of the
set and the entire session, and also with the volume of the set and the
entire session. Recovery between sets must be complete. Recoveries
between 8 to 20 minutes are needed between sets. Recovery
techniques, such as, jogging between repetitions and sets, helps
eliminate by-products of the anaerobic system.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Anaerobic Glycolytic Training Sessions:


SPEED
ENDURANCE

SPECIAL
ENDURANCE I

SPECIAL
ENDURANCE II

95-100%

92-98%

90-95%

60-150 meters

150-300 meters

300-600 meters

REPS PER SET

2-5

1-5

1-4

SETS

2-3

1-2

1-2

300-1200 meters

300-1200 meters

300-1600 meters

INTENSITY
EXTENT

VOLUME

Endurance coaches often wait too long into the season before they
start fast sessions with their athletes. Studies have shown that it takes
between 8-12 weeks to build the bicarbonate stores necessary for
optimum lactate tolerance. Most high school seasons are between 1315 weeks long, and that includes the peaking period. It is never too
early to start these fast sessions, but always maintain the integrity of
the rest interval differences, and the training effect they will produce.
The athlete will have a longer period to complete recovery early in the
season, so the rule of two thirds will also create a longer rest interval
early.
Efficiency work and capacity work are the two parameters used to
apply interval runs and repetition running concepts respectively.
Efficiency implies doing something over and over repeatedly, while
capacity denotes doing something once; or maybe twice, in a very
precise manner. As you do interval work early in the season you are
nurturing the athletes ability to be efficient in their running. Basically,
this is the ability to hold a stronger race pace lap after lap. Capacity
work is the ability to increase the pace as you push toward the finish of
the race. This is achieved through repetition runs later in the season
and is a necessary technique in holding sharpness in the peaking
period. A training progression may look something like the table
shown below.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

Speed Training Progression:


Training
Stimulus

Intervals:
Efficiency
Work

Repetition:

General
Preparation
Phase

Specific
Preparation
Phase

Begin with a
close watch
of the rest
interval. A
variety of
different
distances

Heavy
emphasis,
with a
variety of
session types
in regard to
extent and
intensity

Done
infrequently.
Completed
as one
intense set
when they
are done

Not done

Only found
in races

Only found
in races

Races plus
workouts
that are near
race pace
but slightly
shorter

Racing less.
Workouts
simulate
races in
duration and
intensity

Capacity
Work

General
Competition
Phase

Specific
Competition
Phase

Now that the scientific foundation is in place for doing anaerobic


glycolytic work, and the training progression fits with the physiological
changes that will occur in the body, it is time to examine several
different kinds of training units that will go into the training plan.
It is important to recall the following key points:

Speed endurance is the last of the four components in a


macrocycle to work on.

Maximum speed sessions can be done very early in the season if


the rest between reps is robust.

Do the fast work in the early units of a session.


Adjust the rest intervals on the fly if performance is suffering, do
not be stubborn.

Make the workout fit the projected outcome.


Use heart rate as a means to measure partial recovery. Try using
heart rate beat checks in the carotid artery and aim for 110 bpm
before starting the next rep.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Several different types of interval style workouts are presented in the


following charts. Note that they are based on the phase of the
macrocycle, the preferred event for the athlete, and the skill level.
Interval Style Sessions (example is a 4:20 miler)
PHASE

WORKLOAD

EXTENT

DURATION

REST

General
Preparation

2 sets of 3
repetitions

400 meters
each and 2400
meters total

60
seconds

4 minutes
between reps
and 10
minutes
between sets

Specific
Preparation

1 set of 8
repetitions

400 meters
each and 3200
meters total

59
seconds

3 minutes rest
between
repetitions

General
Competition

1 set of 5
repetitions

500 meters
each and 2500
meters total

73
seconds

3 minutes rest
between
repetitions

Interval Style Sessions: (Example is a 16:00, 5K runner)


PHASE

WORKLOAD

EXTENT

General
Preparation

2 sets of 3
repetitions

300 meters
each and 1800
meters total

46
seconds

2 minutes
between reps
and 4 minutes
between sets

Specific
Preparation

1 set of 3
repetitions

600 meters
each and 1800
meters total

98
seconds

6 minutes rest
between
repetitions

General
Competition

2 sets of 4
repetitions

200 meters
each and 1600
meters total

28
seconds

3 minutes
between reps
and 5 minutes
between sets

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DURATION

REST

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Interval Style Sessions: (Example is a 2:17, 800 meter runner)


PHASE

WORKLOAD

EXTENT

DURATION

REST

General
Preparation

2 sets of 2
repetitions

400 meters
each and 1600
meters total

70
seconds

2 minutes
between reps
and 4 minutes
between sets

Specific
Preparation

2 sets of 2
repetitions

500 meters
each and 2000
meters total

88
seconds

3 minutes
between reps
and 5 minutes
between sets

General
Competition

2 sets of 3
repetitions

100 meters
each and 600
meters total

16
seconds

4 minutes
between reps
and 6 minutes
between sets

Repetition running is only done during the preparation period in the


form of races and is seldom used in workouts. Later in the macrocycle
it is an excellent technique in keeping the athlete at their best during
the competition period. In other words: intervals get you there and
repetitions keep you there! While intervals are based on a model of
incomplete rest, repetition running has a near to complete rest
component between bouts of work. Repetition running style workouts
are shown in the following charts based on the phase of the
macrocycle, the preferred event of the athlete, and the skill level.
Repetition Running Sessions: (Example is a 5:00 miler)
PHASE

WORKLOAD

EXTENT

General
Competition

1 set of 3
repetitions

300 meters
each and 900
meters total

43
seconds

14 minutes
between each
repetition

Specific
Competition

1 set of 2
repetitions

600 meters
each and 1200
meters total

109
seconds

12 minutes
between each
repetition

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DURATION

REST

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Repetition Running Sessions: (Example is a 9:30, 3200 runner)


PHASE

WORKLOAD

EXTENT

DURATION

REST

General
Competition

1 set of 4
repetitions

200 meters
each and 800
meters total

26
seconds

10 minutes
between each
repetition

Specific
Competition

1 set of 2
repetitions

500 meters
each and 1000
meters total

68
seconds

15 minutes
between each
repetition

Repetition Running Sessions: (Example is a 18:30, 5K runner)


PHASE

WORKLOAD

EXTENT

DURATION

REST

General
Competition

1 set of 2
repetitions

600 meters
each and 1200
meters total

115
seconds

12 minutes
between each
repetition

Specific
Competition

1 set of 3
repetitions

400 meters
each and 1200
meters total

58
seconds

10 minutes
between each
repetition

Repetition running stresses the most efficient sprint mechanics


possible, coupled with the fastest velocity that can be run for that
distance. This will supply the proper stimulus to hold and maintain the
anaerobic enzyme supplies, muscle fiber recruitment, and the ability to
tolerate increasing acidosis. Coaches may want to use endurance
athletes on the mile relay at each meet, or maybe even a distance
runner mile relay, to stress the type of work needed to maintain
anaerobic fitness.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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COMBINED ZONE TRAINING


All races in the endurance events include both an aerobic and anaerobic
energy contribution to be successful. At racing speed, the aerobic
system just cannot supply ATP energy quickly enough and must rely on
the quicker, but much more inefficient, anaerobic glycolytic system. The
coach determines the proper event focus for each endurance athlete,
and then determines the workload commitment that must be met in
order to achieve the energy level demand percentages that will be
reached in both systems for that event.
As stated in previous chapters, there are workloads that are all aerobic
and workloads that are all anaerobic, but there are also plenty of
workloads that strike a balance between the two systems. Doing only all
aerobic work sessions or all anaerobic work sessions will not condition
the athlete properly, and will ultimately lead to negative physiological
issues. Combined zone training emphasizes a mix of both the aerobic
and anaerobic systems into each microcycle of training. This mixed style
of work, emphasizing sessions of only anaerobic work or aerobic work, is
the best model for endurance event development. The key to training is
incorporating these different types of work into one training schedule
that has the work sequenced into sessions that allow one energy system
to recover while taxing the other, or even using a combined zone session
that will partially stimulate both systems.
The endurance events are usually split into two groups: the middle
distance and distance events. It is important for the coach to examine
different characteristics of these two groups while beginning to
sequence workouts for each into one plan. An examination of the
cumulative demands, not just on the energy systems is worth a look.
The Middle Distance Events:
The 800 meter run is a classic middle distance event. It is the most
unforgiving of all endurance events, if a mistake is made, there is little
time to correct it. The 800 meters is metabolically defined as 40%
aerobic and 60% anaerobic. A strong endurance base must be set and
VO2 max must be developed over an 8-12 week training period. The
anaerobic component is vital because of the acidosis effect that
accompanies the effort. To counteract this, lactate tolerance must also
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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be established over an 8-12 week training period. Intervals early and


repetition late will establish the needed buffering components in the
blood to tolerate the effects of a lowering pH. In setting a race
distribution model, the objective for the athlete should be to run the first
400 meters as close to 93% of maximum 400 meter velocity as possible
and the second 400 meters as close to 89% of maximum effort as
possible. Each race may not be run this way because of the competition
factor, but the athlete should be capable of that distribution.
The 1500/1600 meter run may be the toughest event to train for
because of its equal 50%-50% energy distribution, aerobically to
anaerobically. Aerobic power becomes a more important factor than in
the 800 meters, so development of the VO2 max system is essential.
Working at the anaerobic threshold is also important as establishing
glycogen storage sites become a factor in the 1500/1600. Lactate
tolerance is again vital and like the 800 is established early with
intervals, and late with repetition runs. Mileage must be about 25%
higher then in the 800, and is accomplished with longer aerobic
threshold runs. The racing model in the 1500/1600 is more forgiving
then the 800 run. The 800 is a power race with the 1500 being more
of a rhythm race. Physiologically, a good steady pace is the most
economical, but the fact remains that success will always go to those
athletes who can manage great pace variations.
The Distance Events:
The 5000 meter run is a classic VO2 max race. Because it is run at
about 95-97% of VO2 max pace, it is the key element to most fully
develop. The 5K energy contribution is 80% aerobic and 20%
anaerobic. Racing at this distance requires long runs in practice, with
the longest being about 20% of the total mileage for that 7 day
microcycle. Of great importance is the psychological benefit derived
when the athlete realizes that they can overcome long, slow distances,
continuously. Athletes also develop self-confidence in their ability to
sustain activity over an extended period of time. Tempo runs are also
a big part of the 5000 meters training model. Much care should be
taken to shape the parameters of tempo runs off of the anaerobic
threshold pace in both volume and intensity. Because the 20%
anaerobic contribution creates a race in the critical zone, repetitions
and intervals should be set up similar to the 1500 meter plan, just not
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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done as often. The racing model for the 5000 meters becomes a two
part story. First, the race strategy of being competitive early, but not
to run too fast in the early stages of the race. The agony of
acidosis promotes the inhibition of muscle tension and leads to rapid
discomfort. Whatever your goal, the last 4 laps of the race must be a
relentless sustained drive. These laps must be faster then the race
pace established early on to expect success.

The 10,000 meter race is in the outer extremes of the endurance events.
It has such a small anaerobic contribution that unfortunately, at times, it
is overlooked. Successful athletes in this event have a predominance of
slow twitch muscle fibers, and have a fantastic blood delivery to these
fibers. Total mileage in the microcycle is greater, and the long runs may
approach 20 miles. The VO2 max system must be developed over an 812 week period with at least one specific workout per microcycle.
Tempo runs at the anaerobic threshold, and faster, are a must and are
done over all the microcycles. Because many times the last 400 meters
of a 10,000 are run faster then that of the 5,000 meter race, repetitions
and intervals are also a part. Repetition running sessions especially will
be longer. The racing model expands upon that of the 5K. Because the
10,000 is run at about 92% of VO2 max, the early laps will seem easy.
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Again, care must be taken to be paitient. The climate becomes a big


factor in this race, and that needs to be addressed from the outset.
When preparing for the final 4 laps, concentration and arousal must be
at its highest. This is why mental and physical rest before competition
must be at its greatest for the 10,000 meters.
VO2 max is an important component to every distance and middle
distance training model. The training pace for each day is established
off of this valuable marker. The concept of VO2 max is familiar to both
the laboratory physiologist and the educated endurance coach alike.
You cannot be a runner or distance running coach without completely
understanding and applying the concept of VO2 max. The bodys
ability to utilize atmospheric oxygen is essential to distance racing
success. Basically, VO2 max is the maximum volume of oxygen that
muscles can consume per minute. It is therefore referred to as aerobic
power since it is a measure of the rate at which oxygen is consumed.
Runners with a high VO2 max are able to transport and then extract
tremendous amounts of oxygen into the working muscles. Maximizing
the amount of oxygen that can be processed by the body must be the
goal of any endurance coach. VO2 max is considered to be the best
indicator of a persons aerobic fitness and many physiologists view the
5k as the classic VO2 max racing distance.
Physiologists have defined VO2 max to be: The maximal amount of
oxygen that the heart can pump to skeletal working muscles through
the blood, and that the muscles can then extract to produce energy.
Its the multiplication of the heart rate, times the amount of blood
pumped per beat [cardiac output], times the proportion of oxygen
extracted from the blood and used by working muscles. Thus, VO2
max determines the capacity for aerobic exercise. Everything else
being equal, the more energy that can be produced aerobically, the
faster a pace that can be maintained. Although VO2 max is considered
an aerobic variable, the velocity at which VO2 max occurs involves a
considerable contribution from anaerobic metabolism, as it occurs at a
speed faster than lactate threshold. This is a very important point to
consider and tells us something about the relationship between aerobic
and anaerobic metabolism.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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It may seem illogical, but the fastest rate of oxygen use occurs when
there is also a lot of energy being produced without oxygen. The
aerobic processes are working at their fastest rates only when
anaerobic glycolysis is also contributing. In other words, the fastest
aerobic motor occurs when an aerobic motor is also running.
Ultimately, training and genetics determine what a persons VO2 max will
eventually be. Males genetically reach their VO2 max at about age 20,
with females somewhat sooner. Inactive people, or young runners just
getting started, can expect to increase their VO2 max values by 20%30% with six to eight months of consistent distance training. Beyond
that, it is very difficult to increase the VO2 max value by something as
simple as increasing weekly training mileage. Beyond 75 miles per
week, mileage will not be the stimulus. Small, increased percentages
that elite, experienced runners hope to make come from direct hits of
VO2 max training stimulus, and even then as they move closer to the
genetic ceiling, increases are hard to come by. The most effective way
of determining present day VO2 max is to be tested at an exercise
physiology lab. Most major universities have access to information as to
how to go about the process. If this is done, the subject will be given a
number of scientific laboratory values that are interesting, but do not
translate into the next workout. The numbers to be gained are these: it
is the speed at which the athlete can run 3200 meters under race
conditions. This is a modification of the Cooper Test and will work
effectively on high school aged athletes. With this value one can
determine percentages of load stimulus and establish target times for
VO2 max workouts.
Lets look at a specific example: Billy is 17 years old, and has a lab
tested VO2 max of 72 ml/kg/min, which is very high. There is a lot of
genetic capacity in this runner. The coach establishes a workout plan
that each week contains a primary and sometimes a secondary
workload that provides a specific stimulus to the VO2 max of each
individual athlete, including Billy. Each runner has a different predetermined workout load on days this is stressed. Looking at Billy
specifically; he has recently run 9:15 for the 3200 meters, thus that is
his VO2 max in practical training terms. A primary workout would be
repetitions of 4 x 1600 meters. Billys goal time for each repetition of
work would be 102% of his VO2 max pace, or about 94% of his 1600

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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race pace. Again, since Billy just ran 9:15 for 3200 meters, his pace
would be 4:37 per mile for his VO2 max pace. Thus, his goal time for
each of the repetitions would be 4:34. His rest interval approximately
his work, so the total rest is 4:40 between each repeated run. Exercise
physiologists have shown that the most effective way of loading the
VO2 max system is by running one high-volume workout at 97% 102% of VO2 max per week. It is also beneficial to complete a second,
lower volume VO2 max workout during certain microcycles in the
specific preparation and general competitive phases of the training
model. Plus, a 5k or 3200 meter race once per week provides additional
minutes of stimulus in the VO2 max velocity zone.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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The greatest gains in VO2 max development can be made by running


repetitions of 2 to 6 minutes duration at 97% -102% of VO2 max pace.
The most effective workouts are repetitions of 800 meters to 2000
meters. These are done on the track or very accurately measured road
courses, because goal times are so important. Repetitions shorter than
800 meters arent nearly as effective in providing this stimulus,
because the athlete does not accumulate enough time in the optimal
intensity range. For example, if Billy runs 500 meter repeats, it will be
easy to hold VO2 max pace. Billy would have to do many of these to
stimulate the system. He would be better off running the 500 meters
much faster and thus working the anaerobic lactate system for a
different training effect that day.
It is important that strict percentage goal times are followed for each
workout. If Billy, who is a 4:15 miler, would have run his first 1600
repeat in 4:25, a time he certainly is capable of, it would be very
difficult for him to run a 4:34 average without much fluctuation. If
Billys coach had set up this workout based on his 15:20 5k pace, his
1600 goal for repeats would have been about 4:50, much too slow to
stimulate his VO2 max system.
A good secondary workout to accompany the mile repeats during a
microcycle would be 8 x 800 meters in 2:17 (for Billy) with a 2:20 active
interval recovery period. Most coaches have a 12-15 week cross-country
season. Try to schedule 24 VO2 max workouts, with one per week
throughout the season, and two per week for the first eight weeks.
Sequencing proper workouts is the cornerstone of great distance
training programs. Knowing the training pace to boost the lactate
threshold, aerobic threshold, and VO2 max is vital. The coach and
athlete may be tempted to train harder on the days one does VO2 max
work, or maybe shorten the recovery. Proceed with caution. Moving
out of the 97% -102% window will leave the athlete too exhausted for
the next race or workout.
When athletes run races of any length, they do not run at some
arbitrary intensity. The percentage of VO2 max that can be sustained
for a specific amount of time is predictable. 100% of VO2 max can be
sustained for only about 10 minutes in trained runners. The longer the
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race, the lower the percent VO2 max at which the athletes will run it.
VO2 max is a date pace workout and the velocity of the work will get
faster during the season as the overall VO2 max fitness shows
improvement.
VO2 max Training Examples---Date pace=10:30 for 3200
Meters as a Starting Point
PHASE

WORKLOAD

General
Preparation

4 times
1600 meters

DURATION

REST

Each
repetition
done in
5:15

6400 meters
of total
work

Rest
between
each
repetition is
5:15

7 times 800
meters

Each
repetition
done in
2:35

5600 meters
of total
work

Rest
between
each
repetition is
2:35

12 times
400 meters

Each
repetition
done in 74

4800 meters
of total
work

Rest
between
each
repletion is
75 seconds

3 times
1600 meters

Each
repetition
done in
4:50

4800 meters
of total
work

Rest
between
each
repetition is
4:50

[DP=10:30]

Specific
Preparation
[DP improves
to 10:10]
General
Competition
[DP improves
to 9:55]
Specific
Competition
[DP improves
to 9:40]

EXTENT

While VO2 max is defined as the distance that can be run in 10


minutes, or conveniently the time for 3200 meters, more volume can
be done by breaking the load into segments with an interval of rest.
The famous Swedish physiologist Per-Olaf Astrand established in the
1960s that by breaking VO2 max work into segments, a greater
volume of work can be done at that velocity. The intervals with work
just slower (<3%-8%) than VO2 max pace are termed extensive
intervals, and just faster (>3%-8%) are termed intensive intervals.

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The extensive intervals uses rest time that is less then the time of work
being done, and the intensive intervals rest time is greater then the
standard 1:1 VO2 max work/ rest ratio.
Hill training constitutes another component of combined zone training.
The extent of the work will be based around event selection with crosscountry constituting the greatest emphasis since the nature of the
terrain requires considerable specificity of training.
When
the
microcycle mileage assumed by the athlete reaches its maximum for
the season, the introduction of hill work will enhance the quality and
variety of their training. Because it slows the pace of the work, but
maintains its intensity, it also helps delay the peaking process until the
aerobic and anaerobic processes become absolutely fit. An important
physiological element develops when athletes train near their anaerobic
threshold, while simultaneously
applying
muscular strength
to
overcome added resistance. All other things being constant, athletes
who have developed greater aerobic features and strength by
incorporating hills in their training program will show less blood lactate
accumulation given a sub-maximum work load.
Perhaps the greatest early proponent of hill running was the New
Zealander, Arthur Lydiard. He advocated 5 weeks of hill training
spread over the specific preparation and general competition phases of
the training plan. Lydiard felt that the physical effects of hill training
were a longer and more powerful stride pattern. In particular, the kneelift, ankle flexion, and hip extension shown by athletes will improve.
Athletic speed is dependent on strength, and one of the goals of the
hill period is to enhance muscular strength in preparation for the
specific competition phase to follow. As athletes get stronger they also
obtain the durability required to avoid injury.
Further examination of Lydiards pioneering work in hill training
suggests breaking the 5 week block of time into 3 microcycles followed
by a long microcycle away from them, and then 2 microcycles to finish
the block just before the specific competition phase begins.
Hill training can incorporate two different strategies for the athlete.
The hill work could be done as the major unit of the training session or
it could be done simply as a continuous run over a hilly course. Hills
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come in various lengths and degrees of steepness. A popular workout


is to treat the hill repetitions as if they were 300 meter repeats on the
track. The hill session can be set up with a duration goal of ~2000
meters total or 7 repeats of a 300 meter hill. Depending on the
steepness, the rest may be set for about 3 minutes which is about the
time it takes to lightly jog back down a 300 meter hill. Add in a 2 mile
active warm-up beforehand and a 3 mile continuous cool-down
afterward and the athlete would have about a 6-7 mile work session in
the combined zone. Coaching cues for such a session would include
promotion of an aggressive knee lift, a tall but in posture, a quick takeoff of the foot, and a set of eyes looking up the hill. Athletes can
acquire some important mental and physical skills by running hills of
this length. These skills relate to the manner in which they impact
muscular force, and endure physical and mental fatigue. A workout
like this would be done once each microcycle that hills are being
stressed. The grade should be 2%-3% in steepness.
A hill workout session done as part of a continuous run would mimic
the skills needed to be successful in a cross-country race. The course
could be of any distance between 5-8 miles and should provide enough
hills for the athlete to stay alert as to how to properly attack and crest
the hills. This workout should be timed and done at a pace near the
anaerobic threshold. Basically, set up like a hilly tempo run. This type
of workout should also be done once per microcycle during the period
of hill running development.
The pieces are now almost in place to able to construct the final fullscale workout plan for the endurance macrocycle. All that remains is a
brief look at rest and recovery issues, within and between, these
various combined zone work sessions that will be incorporated into the
plan.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Rest is recovery from metabolic fatigue caused by the effects of


training. Fatigue can show up as many forms in the body. Fatigue
may be the result of the following:

The accumulation of by-products such as lactate salt and hydrogen


ions in muscle cells and blood.

Essential nutrient depletion like muscle glycogen and blood glucose


in the working areas of the body.

Changes in metabolic functions caused from increases in acidity or


changes in body core temperatures.

A limitation in nerve cell function caused by an abundance of extra


molecules.

Disturbed body equilibrium caused by severe demands on the


hormonal system.

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
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Fatigue may be something that is short term such as what occurs


between work sessions in an interval style workout, or it may be
chronic such as what occurs with structural losses from extreme
loading of training stimuli. If it is long term, then rest must be long
term as well. High lactate concentrations on tendon and ligament
surfaces, micro-traumas in cell structures, mitochondria swelling, and
damage to cell structures and the outer membranes are all
characteristic of chronic fatigue. The recovery from these problems
usually is dependent on proper amounts of sleep, an emphasis on
proper nutrition, replenishment hydration, massage, and other forms of
simple sports medicine. Many of these problems clear up with a few
days off of running and straightening out personal habits.
Short term fatigue, followed by partial or full recovery, is the goal of
interval and repetition style running. The coach dictates through rest
between bouts of work the level of the recovery. During the rest
period the athlete may be actively recovering or passively recovering.
In other words, walking/jogging or standing/sitting. Which recovery
technique is the most effective? The graph below illustrates that
recovery, as measured by lactate in the blood, is quicker through active
recovery than it is through passive recovery during an interval session.
There may be sessions that the coach wants to slow recovery to
callous the runner. Other workouts will benefit from a more complete
recovery. That will all be dictated by the length of the rest period and
the recovery technique.
Day to day recovery is the other vital component in sequencing work in
the combined zone. The recovery period will be dictated by the
volume, extent, and duration of the stimulus. It is also contingent
upon whether the work is aerobic or anaerobic, the training and
chronological age of the athlete, and where the work is placed in the
phases of the macrocycle. Hard day/easy day is a very simplistic way
of looking at training theory, but it does have some advanced
application if applied to the energy system recovery instead the whole
body. The basics behind training theory are to apply the proper
training stimulus on a daily basis, not just reduce it to an all
encompassing hard day followed by an easy day. On the chart below
are many of the workouts detailed in this book. Following each
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

workout is the physiologically based recovery period and the reason for
it. This chart will be valuable in the development of the final step in
training design, sequencing the combined zone workouts.
Rest and Recovery Parameters in Endurance Training:
STIMULUS

RECOVERY
PERIOD

REGENERATION

Normal long run

24 hours

Muscle and liver glycogen and


muscle tissue damage

Hill runs

24 hours

Neuro-muscular

Recovery runs

24 hours

Glycogen and neuro-muscular

Moderate tempo runs

24 hours

Glycogen, and neuro-muscular

Alactic intervals

24 hours

Neuro-muscular

Endurance event
races

48 hours

Muscle glycogen, muscle tissue


damage, neural

Long runs >20% of


microcycle total

48 hours

Muscle and liver glycogen, cell


repair, neuro-muscular, central
nervous fatigue

Long tempo runs

48 hours

Muscle and liver glycogen

Glycolytic intervals

48 hours

Muscle tissue damage and neuromuscular

Glycolytic repetition
runs

48 hours

Muscle tissue damage and neuromuscular

VO2 max work

48 hours

Muscle glycogen, cell repair, neuromuscular, tissue damage

Strong glycolytic
intervals

72 hours

Muscle tissue damage,


muscular, cell repair

Fast tempo runs>6


miles

72 hours

Muscle and liver glycogen, muscle


tissue damage, cell repair, neuromuscular

Long tempo runs>8


miles

72 hours

Muscle and liver glycogen, muscle


tissue damage, cell repair, neuromuscular, central nervous fatigue

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neuro-

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

The next sets of charts put the combined zone training plan together
phase by phase and event by event. There will be four sets of charts
that cover the shorter endurance events: the 800 meters, the 1500
meters, the 3200 meters and the 5000 meter events. Each event is
broken down into the four phases of training contained in each
macrocyle and within each phase will be a mesocycle consisting of two
microcycles that would be representative of that event and time. Only
the major unit of the training session is shown in the charts. The
entire workout would further consist of a general and specific warm-up,
specific strength work, additional base mileage at the aerobic
threshold, and a cool-down, besides all of the other psychological
elements that go into a training day.
The 800 Meters General Preparation Phase:
MONDAY

Long run of 7 miles

Long run of 7 miles

TUESDAY

VO2 max of 3 by 1 mile


repeats

Barefoot grass runs of 8 by


60 seconds

WEDNESDAY

Continuous run of 5 miles

Continuous run of 6 miles

THURSDAY

Alactic intervals of 8 by 40
meters

VO2 max of 6 by 800 meter


repeats

FRIDAY

5K tempo run on the grass

Continuous run of 4 miles

SATURDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
intervals of 4 by 400
meters

Anaerobic glycolytic intervals


of 4 by 200 meters

SUNDAY

3 miles easy to reach 35


miles

3 miles easy to reach 35


miles

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

The 800 Meters Specific Preparation Phase:


MONDAY

Long run of 7 miles

Long run of 7 miles

TUESDAY

Alactic intervals of 8 by 50
meters

Barefoot grass runs of 8 by


45 seconds

WEDNESDAY

5K tempo run

Continuous run of 4 miles

THURSDAY

Continuous run of 5 miles

3 miles easy

FRIDAY

Hill session of 8 by 300


meters

Track meet

SATURDAY

Track Meet

Hill session of 8 by 300


meters

SUNDAY

3 miles easy to reach 32


miles

VO2 max run of 1 by 2 mile


to reach 30 miles

The 800 Meters General Competition Phase:


MONDAY

Long run of 6 miles

Long run of 6 miles

TUESDAY

Hill session of 8 by 300


meters

Alactic intervals of 8 by 40
meters

WEDNESDAY

Continuous run of 4 miles

Barefoot grass runs of 6 by


45 seconds

THURSDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
intervals of 5 by 500
meters

Hill session of 9 by 300


meters

FRIDAY

5K tempo run

Continuous run of 4 miles

SATURDAY

VO2 max of 8 by 800


meters

Track Meet

SUNDAY

Rest day to reach 30 miles

Rest day to reach 30 miles

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Page 79

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

The 800 Meters Specific Competition Phase:


MONDAY

Continuous run of 5 miles

Continuous run of 5 miles

TUESDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
repetition running of 2 by
600 meters

Alactic intervals of 6 by 40
meters

WEDNESDAY

Barefoot grass runs of 6 by


30 seconds

Anaerobic glycolytic intervals


of 3 by 500 meters

THURSDAY

Continuous run of 3 miles

Contiuous run of 4 miles

FRIDAY

Track Meet

Continuous run of 3 miles

SATURDAY

VO2 max of 5 by 800


meters

Track meet

SUNDAY

Rest day to reach 24 miles

Rest day to reach 22 miles

The 1500 meters General Prepartion Phase:


MONDAY

Barefoot grass runs of 8 by


80 seconds

Anaerobic glycolytic intervals


of 5 by 500 meters

TUESDAY

Long run of 10 miles

Long run of 10 miles

WEDNESDAY

Alactic intervals of 8 by 40
meters

VO2 max of 6 by 800 meters

THURSDAY

Continuous run of 7 miles

Continuous run of 6 miles

FRIDAY

VO2 max of 4 by 1 mile

Track Meet

SATURDAY

Continuous run of 8 miles

5 mile tempo run

SUNDAY

Easy run of 5 miles to


reach 50 miles

Continuous run of 8 miles to


reach 48 miles

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Page 80

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

The 1500 Meters Specific Preparation Phase:


MONDAY

Barefoot grass runs of 8 by


60 seconds

Anaerobic glycolytic intervals


of 6 by 400 meters

TUESDAY

Long run of 9 miles

Long run of 9 miles

WEDNESDAY

Alactitic intervals of 6 by 50
meters

5 mile tempo run

THURSDAY

Continuous run of 7 miles

VO2 max of 4 times 1 mile

FRIDAY

Hill session of 8 by 300


meters

Continuous run of 7 miles

SATURDAY

Track Meet

Hill session of 8 by 300


meters

SUNDAY

Easy 6 miles to reach 45


miles

Easy 5 miles to reach 45


miles

The 1500 Meters General Competition Phase:


MONDAY

Long run of 8 miles

Barefoot grass runs of 10 by


40 seconds

TUESDAY

VO2 max of 7 by 800


meters

5K tempo run

WEDNESDAY

Continuous run of 7 miles

VO2 max of 12 by 400 meters

THURSDAY

Hill session of 6 by 300


meters

Long run of 7 miles

FRIDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
repetition runs of 2 by 600
meters

Alactic intervals of 12 by 30
meters

SATURDAY

Track Meet

Track Meet

SUNDAY

Easy 6 miles to reach 40


miles

Easy 3 miles to reach 35


miles

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Page 81

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

The 1500 Meters Specific Competition Phase:


MONDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
intervals of 5 by 500
meters

Anaerobic glycolytic repetition


runs of 2 by 800 meters

TUESDAY

Long run of 6 miles

Continuous run of 5 miles

WEDNESDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
repetition runs of 2 by 600
meters

Continuous run of 3 miles

THURSDAY

Continuous run of 4 miles

Anaerobic glycolytic repetition


run of 1 by 600 meters

FRIDAY

Track Meet

Easy run of 2 miles

SATURDAY

VO2 max run of 1 by 2


miles

Track Meet

SUNDAY

Rest to reach 30 miles

Easy run of 3 miles to reach


28 miles

The 3200 Meters General Preparation Phase:


MONDAY

Continuous run of 8 miles

VO2 max of 5 by 1 mile

TUESDAY

VO2 max marker run of 1


by 3200 meters

Continuous run of 8 miles

WEDNESDAY

Tempo run of 5 miles

Barefoot grass runs of 8 by


80 seconds

THURSDAY

Anaerobic
intervals of 5
meters

Long run of 10 miles

FRIDAY

Continuous run of 6 miles

Track Meet

SATURDAY

Long run of 10 miles

VO2 max of 5 by 800 meters

SUNDAY

Continuous run of 8 miles


to reach 50 miles

Continuous run of 8 miles to


reach 50 miles

glycolytic
by
400

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Page 82

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

The 3200 Meters Specific Preparation Phase:


MONDAY

VO2 max of 5 by 1 mile

Hill session of 8 by 300


meters

TUESDAY

Continuous run of 8 miles

6 mile tempo run

WEDNESDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
intervals of 6 by 400
meters

VO2 max of 2 by 2 miles

THURSDAY

Long run of 10 miles

Long run of 9 miles

FRIDAY

Barefoot grass runs of 6 by


40 seconds

Track Meet

SATURDAY

Track Meet

Anaerobic glycolytic intervals


of 3 by 600 meters

SUNDAY

Continuous run of 7 miles


to reach 49 miles

Continuous run of 7 miles to


reach 47 miles

The 3200 Meters General Competition Phase:


MONDAY

Hill session of 6 by 300


meters

VO2 max of 12 by 400 meters

TUESDAY

Continuous run of 7 miles


on a hilly course

Long run of 8 miles

WEDNESDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
intervals of 6 by 200
meters

Barefoot grass runs of 8 by


50 seconds

THURSDAY

VO2 max of 4 by 1 mile

Hill session of 6 by 300


meters

FRIDAY

Long run of 8 miles

Continuous run of 6 miles

SATURDAY

Track Meet

Track Meet

SUNDAY

Continuous run of 7 miles


to reach 43 miles

Tempo run of 4 miles to


reach 41 miles

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Page 83

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

The 3200 Meters Specific Competition Phase:


MONDAY

VO2 max of 3 by 1 mile

VO2 max of 4 by 800 meters

TUESDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
intervals of 5 by 500
meters

Continuous run of 5 miles

WEDNESDAY

Alactic intervals of 6 by 30
meters

Tempo run of 4 miles

THURSDAY

Continuous run of 5 miles

Anaerobic glycolytic repetition


runs of 2 by 300 meters

FRIDAY

Track Meet

Continuous run of 3 miles

SATURDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
repetition runs of 2 by 600
meters

Track Meet

SUNDAY

Long run of 7 miles to


reach 35 miles

3 miles easy to reach 31


miles

The 5000 Meters Cross-Country General Preparation Phase:


MONDAY

VO2 max marker run of 1


by 3200 meters

Continuous run of 8 miles on


a hilly course

TUESDAY

Continuous run of 9 miles

Continuous run of 9 miles

WEDNESDAY

Tempo run of 6 miles

VO2 max of 5 by 1 mile

THURSDAY

Continuous run of 8 miles

Continuous run of 8 miles

FRIDAY

Barefoot grass runs of 6 by


80 seconds

Cross-Country Meet

SATURDAY

VO2 max of 5 by 1000


meters

Anaerobic glycolytic intervals


of 6 by 400 meters

SUNDAY

Long run of 11 miles to


reach 55 miles

Long run of 12 miles to reach


60 miles

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Page 84

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

The 5000 Meters Cross-Country Specific Preparation Phase:


MONDAY

VO2 max of 10 by 800


meters

Extensive interval runs of 5


by 1000 meters with 2
minutes rest between

TUESDAY

Long run of 12 miles

Long run of 12 miles

WEDNESDAY

Tempo run of 5 miles

Hill session of 8 by 300


meters

THURSDAY

Barefoot grass runs of 8 by


80 seconds

Continuous run of 9 miles on


a hilly course

FRIDAY

Continuous run of 9 miles

Cross-Country Meet

SATURDAY

Cross-Country Meet

VO2 max of 4 by 1 mile

SUNDAY

Continuous run of 10 miles


to reach 60 miles

Continuous run of 10 miles to


reach 58 miles

The 5000 Meters Cross-Country General Competition Phase:


MONDAY

Hill session of 8 by 300


meters

Tempo run of 4 miles

TUESDAY

Continuous run of 8 miles


on a hilly course

Continuous run of 9 miles on


a hilly course

WEDNESDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
intervals of 5 by 500
meters

VO2 max of 5 by 1000 meters

THURSDAY

VO2 max of 8 by 800


meters

Hill session of 6 by 300


meters

FRIDAY

Continuous run of 7 miles

Continuous run of 6 miles

SATURDAY

Cross-Country Meet

Cross-Country Meet

SUNDAY

Long run of 10 miles to


reach 51 miles

Long run of 9 miles to reach


47 miles

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Page 85

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

The 5000 Meters Cross-Country Specific Competition:


MONDAY

Barefoot grass runs of 6 by


50 seconds

Long run of 6 miles

TUESDAY

VO2 max of 2 by 1 mile

Anaerobic glycolytic repetition


runs of 2 by 800 meters

WEDNESDAY

Long run of 7 miles

Continuous run of 4 miles

THURSDAY

Anaerobic glycolytic
repetition runs of 1 by 600
meters

VO2 max of 6 by 400 meters

FRIDAY

Continuous run of 5 miles

Continuous run of 4 miles

SATURDAY

Cross-Country Meet

Cross-Country Meet

SUNDAY

Rest to reach 35 miles

Continuous run of 5 miles to


reach 32 miles

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Page 86

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Page 87

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

PERIODIZED STRENGTH TRAINING


FOR THE ENDURANCE ATHLETE
Endurance runners will become more complete athletes through an
intelligent implementation of various appropriate forms of strength
training. As they become better and stronger athletes, they will record
faster times through better performances. Historically, most distance
runners have resisted a structured strength training program for a
variety of reasons: they did not have the time to spend on it, they did
not have access to facilities, they were embarrassed by their lack of
strength compared to other athletes on the team, or they just lacked
the drive to do it. The assumption was running alone was enough to
reach full performance potential. With the contemporary research on
endurance training and the various performance elements that are
needed, coaches can now conclude that to achieve championship
success in the track and fields endurance events it will involve
resistance activities that are both embedded in other areas of the
training plan as well as activities that will be event specific.
Successful performance in endurance training and racing depends on
many physiological, psychological and nutritional factors. A critical
factor in the physiological domain is the force production of the
contracting musculature. While any form of running satisfies the
definition of force production, it has been proven that a greater force
production must be generated to achieve a more desirable training
effect for greater adaptation: The Principle of Overload. One
component of training performance that addresses this point is
specifically targeted and workout embedded resistance training.
Resistance training accurately describes all types of strength training.
It is commonly thought that moving weight plates in the weight room
are the only real type of strength training, but any work done against
any type of resistance builds strength. Simply running up a hill, or into
the wind, is resistance work and thus builds strength.
Scientific research shows that concurrent resistance
and aerobic
training does not inhibit eithers development in an endurance athlete.
Runners who avoid resistance training for fear it will compromise their
performances fail to realize that resistance training leads to

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Page 88

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

physiological adaptations, both acute and long-term, that will actually


improve race performance.
The physiological gains from progressive resistance through a
periodized training plan include: Increases in capillarization of the
muscle fiber, increased availability of fuel to the muscles, improved
muscular endurance through increases in cell mitochondria, increased
inter-cellular fiber density, stronger bones, and stronger connective
tissue. These are all goals of the running training program as well.
Both will benefit the distance runners development. Additionally, the
other biomotor benefits of resistance training include increases in
flexibility, speed, endurance and greater neuro-muscular coordination
of the organism.
When designing resistance training workloads, it is important to
account for the unique physiological demand of the sport through the
specificity of training principle. This refers to adaptations in the
metabolic and physiological systems, depending on the mode of
training imposed. For endurance runners, conclusions from the
research indicate that strength development may in fact enhance
running economy and protect against injury.
Contemporary scientific research indicates that low volume resistance
training of moderate to high intensity, when incorporated into an
endurance training program will significantly improve upper and lower
body strength as well as running economy. Running is considered a
whole body exercise, not just an action performed by the lower
extremities. The benefits from increased upper body strength help
delay fatigue in the arms and postural muscles during the race and
common sense says that when a miler complains about tightness and
weakness in the shoulders during a race that the shoulder area needs
some strength work. That is far from being the total answer. What
really happened was muscle fatigue in the farthest peripheral muscle
groups (hand and wrist area) occurred first. As the race continued, the
fatigue moved from the peripheral areas to the central area (shoulder),
fatiguing all of the muscle groups along the way. The athlete should
have strengthened the more peripheral groups, to delay the onset of
fatigue there, and thus spared the bigger muscle groups of fatigue
during the race. Once the big muscle groups in the shoulder fatigue,
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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

the diaphragm compresses, and the performance dramatically suffers


for the athlete. As the shoulder and diaphragm muscles become
fatigued, they may compromise the efficiency of expansionary
movement and increase the oxygen demand for running as additional
motor units are recruited. That demand will not be met with a
compressed diaphragm.
Greater leg strength also enhances mechanical efficiency and motor unit
recruitment patterns of the endurance runner. Oxygen cost at each
running speed may be reduced if a more efficient pattern is induced
through an increase in leg strength.
Simply
put,
improved
running
economy of the runner results, and
thus betters the performance level.
Another benefit from resistance
training is that it may protect the
athlete against injury.
Overuse
injuries are often associated with the
repetitive overload typical of running
activities. While running, the lower
extremity must absorb a force up to
five times body weight at heel strike.
For the endurance runner who logs
many miles each week, and therefore
has millions of heel strikes each year,
the cumulative effects of impact can
be traumatic.
Muscle weakness and imbalance are factors related to impact related
overuse injuries. It would seem that resistance training is imperative
for ensuring that there be little or no damage to the muscles, bones,
tendons, and ligaments from the high intensity loads placed on the
body during training or competition. Muscle imbalance implies a
negative strength ratio of the agonist and antagonist muscles in an
extremity, or asymmetry in agonists or antagonists muscles between
the extremities. A distance runner may be at a higher risk of
sustaining an injury for example, if their hamstring-to-quadriceps ratio
is 60% or less in one leg or the other.

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Page 90

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

A resistance training program targeted to developing balanced strength


between the extensors and flexors of the hips and legs will ensure safe
execution of the powerful strides so essential for end-of-the-race
sprints to the finish. Strengthening the muscles of the feet, legs, and
trunk in order to relieve strain on the spinal column is also a good
reason for the endurance runner to perform resistance training on a
regular basis. Strengthening the feet has become an acute problem.
Properly fit training shoes have become so sophisticated that the
muscles of the feet do not have to develop strength for support. As
mentioned in an earlier chapter, a certain amount of barefoot running
on the grass during each microcycle should give the strength training
necessary to develop this support.
Adaptations to the large muscle groups, both in the upper and lower
body, are of critical importance since running is primarily a large
muscle group activity. This is called the pillar strength of the athlete
and its development is vital to the recruitment of the proper muscle
groups used in movement at any speed. Postural muscle groups are of
particular importance because of the effects of gravity and its
contribution to fatigue in running.
Just as with aerobic, anaerobic, and combined zone training,
periodization of strength training for the endurance running events
must include an organized approach to whichever strength components
are critical to the specific event and to the individual athlete. Training
for strength must be sequential and progressive in its development
through the course of the macrocycle. Each endurance running event,
whether a middle distance or distance events will demand different
adaptations and strength capabilities. For example, the 800 meters
has a much greater explosive component then the 5K has.
The annual plan for strength training resembles that of the annual
running plan. The basic model is that of the well documented
Matveyev research, shown in an earlier chapter, and is based on
progressive loading, adaptation, and reversibility. Absolute strength
takes the longest to develop and may take several months to achieve
maximum training effect. Elastic strength takes the least amount of
time for adaptation at about 20 days. A large amount of the resistance
work is actually just body weight exercises; however absolute
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Page 91

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

strength and strength endurance can only be achieved by workloads in


excess of body weight.
Resistance work has five general categories:

(ND) Neuromuscular Development Drills;


(RF) Running Form Programming Drills;
(GS) General Strength Drills;
(P) Plyometrics; and
(W) Weights
These are divided into Absolute Strength (high tension - low velocity),
Power Strength (moderate tension - moderate velocity), Strength
Endurance (moderate tension - high velocity), and Speed Strength (low
tension - high velocity).
Only in the weights category do you need to spend necessary time in
the weight room. The remainder of the categories is done outside,
inside, wherever work can be done.
An example of a possible annual plan, based on championship
competitions around June 1, and November 1, is shown below. It is
matched with corresponding developmental work that is part of the
running plan. Phases and microcycles should be complimentary
between running and resistance workloads. When doing base work
running, absolute strength work should be done, and when
emphasizing anaerobic running, the same should be done with the
resistance work. The idea is to do a number of the five categories
each month, but not all five. The weights build from general to
specific.

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Page 92

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

A possible resistance training annual plan:


SEPTEMBER

ND Training, RF Programming, GS Drills, and W - Absolute


Strength (85-95% absolute max).

OCTOBER

ND, RF, GS, W - Power Strength (70-80% absolute max).

NOVEMBER

ND, RF, W - Power Strength.

DECEMBER

ND, RF, W - Strength Endurance ( 50-65% of absolute max).

JANUARY

ND, GS, W - Strength Endurance.

FEBRUARY

ND, GS, W - Absolute Strength.

MARCH

ND, RF, GS, W - Power Strength.

APRIL

ND, RF, P, W - Speed Strength (30-40% absolute max).

MAY

ND, RF, P, W - Speed Strength.

JUNE

ND, W - Absolute Strength.

JULY

ND, W - Absolute Strength.

AUGUST

ND, GS, W - Strength Endurance.

Once the annual plan has been developed, the five categories of work
must be defined and routines outlined. There are many different
exercises, drills, and rituals that can be established for each of the five. It
is important to have a large enough selection so that the athlete does not
get bored, yet not too many as to have the athlete feel overwhelmed.

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Page 93

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

Some well known conditioning suggestions:

ND TRAINING
(To be done 20 different days on designated months):
A Skip (3 * 50 meters)
B Skip (3 * 50 meters)
C Skip (3 * 50 meters)
Carioca (3* 50 meters)
Straight Leg Bounding (3 * 40 meters)
Skipping For Distance (3 * 60 meters)
Butt Kicks (3 * 50 meters)
Backward Thrusts (3 * 50 meters)

RF TRAINING
(To be done 8 different days in designated months):

Barefoot Running (1 * 10 - 15 minutes)


Running At Seasonal Goal Pace (3 * 90 seconds)
Running At Faster Then Seasonal Goal Pace (3 * 30 seconds)
End Of Practice Strides (8 * 80 meters)
Dorsal-flexion Drills (3 * 50 meters)
Arm-flexion Drills (3 * 50 meters)
Running With Batons (4 * 400 meters)

GS DRILLS
(To be done 8 different days in designated months):
Hill Repeats (6 * 300 meter hill, jog recovery)
Flexible Assistance Cords (3 * 50 meters)
Bungee Cords Resistance (5 * 30 meters)
Parachute Runs (3 * 400 meters)
Lunges (3 * 10 walking steps)
Headwind Running (Run into the wind on windy days)
Stadium Stairs (3 * 3 min on a stair - lateral running circuit)
Jump Roping (4 * 2 min)

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Page 94

Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

P DRILLS
(To be done once every 5 days in designated months):
Vertical Power Bounding (4 * 6 reps)
Horizontal Power Bounding (8 * 25 meters)
Depth Jumping (12 inch box -- 5 * 5 reps)
Vertical Double Leg Bounding (4 * 6 reps)
Horizontal Double Leg Bounding (8 * 25 meters)
Medicine Balls - one on one (4 * 3 minutes, 8 lb ball)

WEIGHT WORK
(To be done 3 times weekly in designated months):
Absolute Strength: Recovery time is 48 hours.
Power cleans, lats, bench press (4 reps, 3 sets @ 90% max
each)
Reverse curls (4 reps, 3 sets @ 90% max)
Preacher curls (4 reps, 3 sets @ 90% max)
Russian dead lift (3 reps, 3 sets @ 90% max)
Heel raises (50% of body weight on bar on shoulders, 6 reps, 3
sets)
Wrist curls (50% of body weight on bar, sitting, 6 reps, 3 sets)
Dips (max)
Pull ups (max)
Power Strength: Recovery time is 48 hours.

Power cleans, lats, bench press (10 reps, 3 sets @ 70 % max


each)
Front curls (10 reps, 3 sets @ 70% max)
Incline press (8 reps, 3 sets @ 70 % Max)
Dips (80% of max number)
Push ups (to exhaustion)
Pull ups (50% of max number)
Arm action running (15% of body weight [dumbbells] 50 reps)
Flys (15% of body weight [dumbbells] 50 reps)
Wrist curls (30% of body weight on bar, sitting, 6 reps, 3 sets)

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

Strength Endurance: Recovery time is 72 hours.

Power cleans, lats, bench press (40 reps, 2 sets, 50% max
each)

Russian dead lift (30 reps, 2 sets @ 50% max)


Incline press (20 reps, 2 sets @ 50% max)
Arm action running (10% of body weight [dumbbells] to
exhaustion)
Push ups (40 reps, 2 sets)
Power lunges (3 reps, 10 steps each, 45 lb bar on shoulder)
Heel raises (30% of body weight on bar, on shoulders, 10 reps,
3 sets)
Abdominal crunches (50 reps, 2 sets)

Speed Strength: Recovery time is 36 hours.

Power cleans, lats, bench press (FAST - 10 reps, 5 sets @ 30%


max)
Half squats (6 reps, 4 sets @ 40% max)
Arm action running (FAST - with lightest dumbbells to
exhaustion)
Abdominal crunches (FAST - 35)
Dips (FAST - to exhaustion)
Stationary circuit (FAST - with 40 lb bar, do not set it down
until completely
done, 10X overhead lift, 10X
reverse curls, 10X front curls, 10X pull up
hands together
on bar, 2 sets)

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

Shown below is a sample worksheet that every athlete could use for
each month to monitor their individual program. The goal is to make
record keeping simple. Just circle the tasks done for the day and add
any notations and notes in the blank.
Monthly Strength Report Endurance:
DAY 1

ND GS RF P W

DAY 16

ND GS RF P W

DAY 2

ND GS RF P W

DAY 17

ND GS RF P W

DAY 3

ND GS RF P W

DAY 18

ND GS RF P W

DAY 4

ND GS RF P W

DAY 19

ND GS RF P W

DAY 5

ND GS RF P W

DAY 20

ND GS RF P W

DAY 6

ND GS RF P W

DAY 21

ND GS RF P W

DAY 7

ND GS RF P W

DAY 22

ND GS RF P W

DAY 8

ND GS RF P W

DAY 23

ND GS RF P W

DAY 9

ND GS RF P W

DAY 24

ND GS RF P W

DAY 10

ND GS FR P W

DAY 25

ND GS RF P W

DAY 11

ND GS FR P W

DAY 26

ND GS RF P W

DAY 12

ND GS FR P W

DAY 27

ND GS RF P W

DAY 13

ND GS FR P W

DAY 28

ND GS RF P W

DAY 14

ND GS FR P W

DAY 29

ND GS RF P W

DAY 15

ND GS FR P W

DAY 30

ND GS RF P W

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Complete Track and Field Conditioning for the Endurance Events in Track and Field
By Scott Christensen

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS
FOR THE ENDURANCE EVENTS
The environment plays a large role in the conditioning and racing
performance of endurance athletes. Environmental conditions are
seldom perfect despite the attempts of coaches to creatively schedule
workouts and races. Heat, cold, wind, and altitude factors all play a
contributive role in the athletes everyday training and racing scheme.
The systems of the body react to a changing environment. This
physiological phenomenon is known as acclimation and it takes a
period of time for the body to adapt to these changes.
Because of the latitude of the United States the greatest environmental
concern for the athlete will be ambient heat and the
additive
contribution it makes with metabolic heat to cause collective heat
problems in the athlete.
Heat can be a major stressor to an endurance runner and can
compromise athletic performance. In addition to compromising
performance, heat stress can also cause adverse health effects such as
heat cramps, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Acclimatization to heat stress is possible through regular training as the
weather gradually warms or over a set length of time when traveling to
a warm environment from a cool one.
Questions for the coach concerning heat:

What is heat?
How does the body respond to heat stress?
How can an athlete acclimatize to heat stress?
What are the warning signs, treatment methods, and preventive
measures for heat illness?

How heat stress is measured and how can an athlete or coach use
the measurements?

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By definition, heat stress is a combination of metabolic and climatic


heat stress. The internally generated heat from the body during
energy metabolism creates metabolic heat stress. Climatic heat stress
is a combination of external environmental conditions that the stress
the bodys thermoregulatory system. These conditions include ambient
temperature; air humidity, air movement, and radiant heat (from the
sun and nearby warm surfaces).
As athletes experience heat stress, their body temperature rises.
Human body temperature is influenced by both metabolic and climatic
heat sources. There is continuous exchange of heat between the body
and the environment. This exchange of heat occurs via several
different routes: convection, conduction, radiation, and evaporation.
Human body temperature is a direct reflection of the net heat storage
in the body, or in other words, the difference between the increases
and decreases of thermal load on the body.
The bodys response to climatic heat stress is termed climatic heat
strain. Climatic heat strain, also known heat stress response, entails
the physiologic mechanisms used by the body to permit better
tolerance of climatic heat stress.
The bodys physiologic response to heat:

Body and skin temperature: body and skin temperatures increase


and, in turn, enhance the transfer of heat (via convection) from the
body to the external environment.

Sweat rate: sweat increases and, in turn, enhances the transfer of


heat (via evaporation) form the body to the external environment.

Cardiac Output: cardiac output increases and total blood flow to


the skin increases, and, in turn, enhance the transfer of heat (via
convection and evaporation) form the skin to the external
environment.

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Convection is responsible for transferring heat from both the working


muscles and the skin surface. More specifically, the following
convection-related heat transfer mechanisms occur during exercise:

Metabolic heat moves by convection from the working muscle to


the blood stream.

Heat is then transferred by the venous circulation to the body


core, increasing the overall body temperature.

The core temperature is monitored [and the change detected] by


the thermoregulatory center in the hypothalamus region of
lower brain.

the

Heat is transferred to the skin via convection. The rate of the heat
transfer is dependent upon the temperature differential between skin
and the environment [the greater the ratio the more heat transferred]
and the heat transfer coefficient, which varies with available body
surface area and wind velocity [the more exposed surface area and
wind the greater the heat transferred]. Minimal body fat and loosefitting clothing also enhance an athletes convection potential.

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Evaporation is the most important heat dissipation mechanism in warm


environments. More than 80% of the body heat loss is achieved by
evaporation when environmental temperature exceeds 68 degrees F
(20 degrees C). Fit athletes can produce up to 30 ml of sweat per
minute, but not all of this is available for heat elimination. Evaporative
rate is determined by the evaporative heat transfer coefficient, which is
related to air velocity and the water vapor pressure gradient between
the skin and environment. This latter is determined by the relative
humidity of the air.
In general, the body is able to enhance the dissipation of heat through a
variety of physiological mechanisms. Well-trained endurance runners
can sustain a core temperature of 102 -105 degrees F (39-40.5 degrees
C) for prolonged periods of time, approaching (with a limited safety
margin) but not exceeding the critical thermal maximum 108 degrees F
(42 degrees C). The well-trained endurance runners are capable of this
because they have already adapted to metabolic and climatic heat
stresses (in part or in full) from their rigorous training regimes.
Partial adaptation to metabolic and climatic heat stress occurs with
training at moderate temperatures, but full acclimatization can be
achieved only with repeated bouts of exercise in the heat.
Furthermore, training in hot, humid conditions has a greater influence
on the ability of an athlete to produce sweat compared to training hot,
dry conditions. Five to ten days of training in hot, humid weather, at a
reduced intensity (60-70% of the usual load to avoid heat injury), are
recommended for full acclimatization. A prolonged period of training in
such challenging conditions is not necessary. By the end of two weeks
of training at an intensity range of 40-95% of maximal aerobic power,
95% of adaptive changes already described will have occurred.
However, tapering for athletic competition must be incorporated
carefully into the acclimatization process, because loss of
heat
adaptation is rather rapid, that is within days following cessation of
adaptive training.
Heat illness occurs when the athlete has encountered heat stress that it
can no longer control. An athlete will experience levels of heat illness
when thermoregulatory mechanisms fail to compensate for elevations
in core temperature caused by climatic and the metabolic heat load.

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Heat illness may encompass a wide spectrum of symptoms of varying


severity, ranging from heat cramps and dehydration to heat exhaustion
and life-threatening heat stroke.
Prevention of advanced heat stress includes an intake of electrolyte
solutions, a high potassium diet, hydration during the workout, running
during a cool time of day, and clothes that do not trap sweat.
Cold Adaptations
Endurance event performance can be adversely affected by local
effects of cold on the skeletal muscles, slowing of reflexes, and
metabolic changes that alter the fuel supply to muscle tissue and the
brain. As a performance example: the maximal contractile force of
skeletal muscle is decreased by cooling. The body may compensate for
this by recruiting fast-twitch glycolytic muscle fibers, thereby using
stored glycogen at a faster rate and hastening fatigue.
The body responds to cold in unique, necessary ways. Retention of
metabolic heat is the primary goal. Two physiological responses seek to
restore thermal homeostasis: reduced heat loss via constriction of skin
blood vessels, and increased metabolic heat production via shivering and
even greater survival physiological responses if necessary. All of this
leads to greater and greater energy expenditures to the body.
In cold climate there are multiple environmental stressors that disturb
homeostasis in the bodys systems. Air temperature that is below skin
and core body temperature is the most obvious. In this condition the
balance of heat production versus heat loss is disrupted; heat loss
exceeds production and the central core temperature decreases. If left
unchecked, the resulting condition could result in injury from frostbite
or even hypothermia. Cold stress becomes a major factor in post-race
protocol following an endurance activity in which much heat was
generated, but no longer is, and the ambient temperature gradient is
severe. An accompanying factor is the dry air that is usually coupled
with cold temperatures. The affect of cold, dry air on the smooth
muscle that surrounds lung and bronchial airways can be severe.
Inhalation of cold, dry air stimulates exercise-induced bronchi spasm
whereas warm, moist air is tolerated more effectively by asthmatics
and other sensitive individuals.
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To offset and respond to the effects of the cold, the body responds in
several ways at the tissue level. Tissues involved would include nerve,
brain, skeletal muscle, smooth muscle, blood vessel, and endocrine.
Plus, at least 5 hormones respond to the condition. All of these will put
more unwanted stress on the bodys systems, thus increasing recovery
times while decreasing performance. The three direct results of cold
stress will be:

Increase heat production


Reduce heat loss
Mobilize metabolic fuels
Heat production increases when the rhythmic muscular contractions of
shivering begins. These contractions affect the elasticity of the
muscles and lower range of motion. These contractions do no work;
only produce heat, so they are a negative factor to performance. Heat
loss is reduced when the cutaneous blood vessels constrict, thereby
lowering the volume of warm blood flowing to the outer muscles and
skin. Blood moves to the core, again a negative factor to performance.
Metabolic fuels are released into the bloodstream when the hormones
epinephrine and norepinephrine are secreted and when cortisol is
released. These fuels are now not available for muscular work. At this
point the immune system is susceptible to a viral attack in the
bronchial region, especially if there are micro-tears due to dryness in
the mucous membranes.
Exposure to exercise in cold air will provide an obvious challenge to the
homeostatic balance of the body. Stepping outside
to
run
in
temperatures below 45 degrees will immediately decrease the skin
temperature and cutaneous vessels constrict strongly. Blood is
diverted away from the skin to the central veins, and stroke volume
increases due to increased venous return to the heart. Cardiac output
and heart rate are thus maintained at levels below what they would be
in a warmer environment. Vasoconstriction in skin and muscle, coupled
with a lower muscle temperature, may increase the rate of anaerobic
metabolism. This will reduce the clearance rate of metabolic byproducts, such as lactate from the muscles.

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Prevention of cold stress:

Dress in layers, not cotton


Use a wind-proof layer on the outside
Begin a run against the wind
Do not linger in the cold
Acclimate to the cold and dry air
Hydrate as if it was summer
Stretch indoors
Cool down indoors if possible
Cover head and hands, 75% of lost heat is here

Altitude Considerations
The hypobaric environment is low atmospheric pressure associated with
high terrestrial altitudes or artificial high altitude enclosures. Sea level
is where atmospheric pressure is the greatest. Above sea level, the
atmospheric pressure diminishes by 50% for an increase of about 5000
meters. Thus, air has a lower density at higher altitude because the gas
has expanded. Even though the percentage of oxygen and other gases
does not change as altitude increases, the thinner air presents less
oxygen to the lungs, alters physiologic responses, and produces unique
illnesses because of the decrease in gas density.
There has been much discussion since the1968 Mexico City Olympics,
but very few longitudinal scientific studies done that discuss the effects
of altitude training in endurance athletes. The research is clear on this
however, the fastest distance races are run at sea level (everything else
being equal), but are there advantages in training daily in a hypobaric
environment? How about actually living in a hypobaric environment?
The distinctive result of exposure to high altitude is hypoxia. In
metabolic terms, hypoxia is a state in which the rate of oxygen
utilization by cells is inadequate to supply all of the bodys energy
requirements. The body judiciously defends its oxygen supply to the
brain and other organs by initiating numerous responses to hypoxia,
some of these are immediate, but temporary responses, and some are
systematic chronic adaptations that need to be addressed.

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The bodys systems most affected would be: respiratory, cardiovascular


and central nervous.

Respiratory: Pulmonary ventilation increases immediately. Artery


chemoreceptor senses a lower oxygen level in the blood.

Cardiovascular:

Cardiac output increases


substantially,
immediately, due to an increase in heart rate. In response to
hypoxia, stroke volume decreases for a given work rate.
Polycythemia, which is the bodys ability to increase the rate of
blood cell production, is considered to be one of the classic, rapid
responses to hypoxia because it increases the oxygen carrying
capacity of the blood. But the increase in hemoglobin that occurs
during the first two days at altitude actually is due to a loss of
plasma volume. This will also raise the viscosity of the blood,
sludging up the capillaries. This natural polycythemic adaptation is
stimulated by the production of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO)
by the kidneys.

Central Nervous: Very sensitive to hypoxia. Fatigue in sensory


and motor neurons occurs quite rapidly. Most obvious in sensory,
but alteration of motor is just as evident. Coordination of muscle
groups is lost. Sleep is main regenerator of this system and is
affected. Sleep is more difficult to achieve at altitude because of
the build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood due to a higher
breathing rate.
Above 1500 meters, the decline in maximal aerobic power (VO2 max)
due to altitude exposure equals approximately 3% per 300 meters; this
effect is absent below 1500 meters. This does vary somewhat from
individual to individual because VO2 max is a summation of many
processes. Although anaerobic glycolysis compensates
for
the
reduction in aerobic capacity at altitude, this response does not occur
during maximal exercise because anaerobic metabolism is also greatly
restricted.
Studies suggest that anaerobic events are not affected by altitude
exposure. Sprinters may gain nothing, and may lose speed. Distance
runners usually improve their times after many weeks of training at

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altitude, but do not match high altitude natives. A well known


consequence of acute exposure is a reduction in maximal aerobic
power. Highly trained athletes appear to be even more susceptible to
a reduction in VO2 max, because of the large reduction secondary to
pulmonary gas-exchange limitations at high work rate. Therefore,
because of this reduction in oxygen transport, some elite athletes are
not able to maintain the high work rates or training velocities at
altitude necessary to maintain competitive fitness. Most endurance
runners today benefit from training at altitude. However, there are
some consequences that must be addressed in the athletes training
regime, two of which are a partial loss of VO2 max and another being
the inability to build chemical buffer stores to help in neutralizing the
effects of acidosis.
The environment plays a key role in the conditioning of endurance
athletes. Sometimes workouts are lessened or even eliminated due to
climatic concerns. Just one more consideration for the coach.

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CONCLUSION
Every day brings opportunity, challenge, heartache, ecstasy, and
gratification to the endurance coach. Coaching endurance athletes is
more about the process than it is about the conclusion. It is a world
full of independent, dependent, and controlled variables that very few
coaches ever feel like they have a complete grasp of. No two athletes
adapt identically to the very same training stimuli, as much as you
might want them to. Some days it is more about psychology than it is
physiology. The coach occupies a place in an athletes life that can be
filled by no other person. Coaching - it is not what you do, it is what
you are.
The information that is in this book is the application of accepted sport
science to the endurance coaching situation. I hope it gives you
answers on why you do certain things, when you do them, and how
you do them. I have tried to give you basic science concepts with their
application. Science is unique. You cannot pick and choose what
science you care to believe. Accept the scientific concepts and apply
them to the particular situation that you coach under. Modify your
application, but never discard the concepts.
There can never be just one manual on how to coach endurance
athletes. There may be one book that describes the physiology of the
human organism, but never one book on the application. Science is a
body of knowledge that builds upon itself, coaching is that way too.
Take great care in customizing your own endurance philosophy and
application of the concepts. Trust your own judgment once you have
built a knowledge base that can support your own scrutiny. Spend
more time with scientists than you do with coaches and you will build
such a base.
I would like to acknowledge the many scientists and coaches that I
have worked with in my career customizing my own endurance
program and who were also instrumental in all of the information in
this book. Scholarly thanks to my academic mentors in this sport:
Ralph Vernacchia Ph.D., Jack Ransone Ph. D., Robert Vaughan Ph. D.,
Joe Vigil Ph. D., David Martin Ph. D. and Larry Judge Ed. D. Thanks to
the great coaches that have worked with me over the past 25 years
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and answered all of my questions: Al Schmidt, Steve Dudley, Vin


Lananna, Tony Veney, Gary Winkler, Boo Schexnayder, Brooks
Johnson, Patrick Shane, Cliff Rovelto, Gary Winkler, Gary Wilson,
Gordon Thomson, and Loren Seagrave. A special thanks to my USATF
Level 2 teaching team: Al Schmidt, Troy Engle, Mike Smith and
Houston Franks. A big thank you to: Mike Corn at USATF and
USTFCCCA. And as always, to my junior high cross-country coach and
wife Shelly, thank you for your patience.

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GLOSSARY OF
ENDURANCE TRAINING TERMINOLOGY
Acidosis: High blood acidity caused by an excess of H+ ions from
glycolysis.
Alactic: A process in the cell that regenerates ATP without lactic acid
accumulation.
ATP: The energy particle used by the body for muscle contraction.
Acceleration: The rate of change of velocity.
Aerobic: With oxygen.
Angiogenesis: Building more capillaries along muscle fibers.
Anaerobic: Without oxygen.
Annual Plan:
mesocycles.

The length of a training period that embodies 1-3

Biological Age: The physical maturity of an athlete.


Cardiac Output: A measurement of blood flow by the heart, it is
stroke volume times heart rate
Center of Mass (COM):
applied.

The point on a body where forces are

Chronological Age: The athletes age.


Coordination: Refers to the timing and sequencing of movement.
Density: The number of training units per unit of time.
Duration: How long a workout will last.
Endurance: The limit of time over which work of a given intensity can
be performed.
Extensive Intervals (VO2 max): 91% to 97% of VO2 max pace,
less rest then standard VO2 max runs.
Fitness: The degree of adaptation to training.

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Flexibility: The capacity to perform movement through a range of


motion (ROM)
Force: Mass times acceleration.
General Training: General exercises that usually dont contain any
specific element of the technical or metabolic demands of the event.
General training helps improve non-specific work capacity of an
athlete; also referred to as foundation training.
Glycolysis (Glycolytic): A process in the cell that converts fats and
carbohydrates to ATP without O2.
Inertia: A bodys resistance to acceleration.
Intensity: The strength of the stimulus or concentration of work per
unit of time; the quality of effort.
Intensive intervals (VO2 max): 102% to 109% of VO2 max pace,
more rest then standard VO2 max runs.
Intervals: A set of runs (repetitions/sets) with partial recovery
between.
Law of Overload: The principle stating that the nature of loading
must challenge an athletes present fitness status.
Law of Reversibility: The principle that states that when there is no
training load, and consequently no need to adapt, the fitness level of
the athlete will return to a level consistent with the demands of the
training.
Law of Specificity: The principle that states that the training load
must be specific to the individual athlete and the specific metabolic and
technical demands of the event for which the athlete is training.
Macrocycle: The largest division of the training year or season
consisting of a preparation, competition and transition period.
Mesocycles: A training period that typically consists of
cycles

4-6

micro

Microcycle: A group of training sessions usually performed over a


seven-day period.

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Mitochondria: An animal cell structure that is the site of aerobic


respiration.
Modeling: A training unit in which the requirements of competition
are stimulated.
Motivation: The intensity and direction of achievement behavior.
Myoglobin: The protein in an animal cell that accepts O2 molecules
from the hemoglobin outside of the cell (blood).
Negative Acceleration: Means
velocity slower and slower.

deceleration,

or

decreasing

the

Overtraining: A physical and mental state caused by too much


exertion over a sustained period of time.
Peaking: Tapering training for a major or championship event.
Periodization: The continuous cyclical structure of training to achieve
optimal development of performance capacities.
Phase: A collection of mesocycles in pursuit of a specific objective.
Preparation Period: A period of
developmental competitions.

foundation

training

and

Progressive Overload: The methodical increase in the training load


above that which the athlete is accustomed.
Repetition: Number of intervals in a set.
Repetition Running: A set of runs with full recovery between.
Single Periodization: An annual plan with one macro cycle.
Specific Training: A type of training that is more specialized then
general training. The specialized blocks of time always follow general
blocks in training.
Speed: The capacity to move the body or a body segment rapidly.
Speed Endurance: Any interval or run where an athlete must
maintain near top speeds for a lengthened period of time.
Strength: The ability to apply force.

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Stroke Volume:
single beat.

The amount of blood pushed from the heart in a

Super Concentration: Returning to a level of fitness beyond that of


the original, following the fatigue resulting from training.
Tapering: Modifying the intensity, volume and density of training in
preparation for a peak performance.
Training: The process of acquiring fitness specific to an event.
Training Age: The number of years spent in training for an event.
Training Theory: The interpretation of relevant work, which provides
a systematic and scientific program to mesh with practical coaching
experience.
Training Session:
The combination of training units
complementary nature (typically referred to as a workout)

of

Training Unit: The segment of a session that meets the objective of


single training component/biomotor ability.
Transition
Period: The link between two macro cycles when the
primary objective is restoration.
VO2 Max: Aerobic capacity, the best measure of aerobic fitness.
Velocity: The rate of change of position in a given direction.
Volume: The extent of training; the quality of work performed.
Weight: The force of attraction between an object and the earth.
Work: Force times distance in the direction of the force.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Coach Scott Christensen is the mens
cross-country and track coach at
Stillwater Senior High School in
Stillwater,
Minnesota.
Coach
Christensen is also the Chair of
Endurance Coaching Education for USA
Track and Field and has lectured
throughout the United States at various
clinics, speaking on endurance training,
high performance psychology, and long
distance training issues.
Christensen spent 14 years lecturing at
USA Track & Field Level I, Level II,
and Level III Coaching
Education
Schools, and is the Lead Endurance
Instructor for the USTFCCCA Coaching
Academy.
Most recently, Christensen has instructed at the USA Track and Field
Elite Junior Coaches Camps at the Olympic Training Center in San
Diego and at the Disney Sports Complex in Orlando.
In 2003, Christensen was the Junior USA Team Leader at the IAAF
World Cross-Country Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. In
2008, he was the Senior Team Leader at the IAAF World Cross-Country
Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Christensen has coached for 30 seasons at Stillwater High School as
the endurance coach, besides being the head coach. The Minnesota
native arrived in Stillwater in 1980, after spending four seasons as a
member of the cross-country and track teams at Gustavus Adolphus
College. He was captain of both teams during his senior year.
Following graduation, he served one season as the assistant crosscountry coach at Gustavus.

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Christensen, who is in the Minnesota Coaches Hall of Fame, has been


the mastermind behind 9 state team titles in Minnesota and has
coached 21 individual state champions including 5 in the 1600 meter
run. He has coached 63 All-State endurance athletes in Minnesota
while at Stillwater.
In addition, Christensens athletes have gone beyond high school to 21
NCAA Division 1 All-American honors. Four of his alumni have broken
4:00 in the mile and 4 of his athletes have run under 13:45 for the
5000 meters. Luke Watson has earned a spot on 5 USA National
Teams in cross-country and competed in the World Cross-Country
Championships, one time as a Junior and 4 times as a Senior. Sean
Graham was the NCAA Division 1 Southeast Region cross-country
runner of the year and champion. Jake Watson and Andy Tate have
both run under 8:45 for the 3000 meter steeplechase. In 2007, Ben
Blankenship was fifth at the USA Junior Track and Field Championships
in the 1500 meters.
At Stillwater, Christensens high school cross-country teams have been
rated in the top 10 nationally during 5 different years. In 1997, The
Harrier magazine named Stillwater the National High School Champions
after an undefeated year in which their top runners all earned NCAA
Division 1 scholarships. In June of that year, 4 of those runners ran
7:41 for the 3200 meter relay, earning a 4th place finish at the National
Scholastic Meet in North Carolina (now the Nike Outdoor
Championships).
Minnesota has two divisions for their 405 cross-country teams. At the
Minnesota State Meet, competing in the big-school division, Stillwater
has finished in the top 5 teams, 11 of the past 15 years, with 8 top 3
team finishes during that time.
Christensen competed in 25 marathons following his college career,
including running the Boston Marathon 10 times. His best of 2:30.29
was run twice at Grandmass Marathon and he placed 6th there in 1979.
He still runs about 40 miles per week and races occasionally.

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At Gustavus Adolphus College, Christensen majored in biology and


chemistry and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. He is currently
finishing a Masters Degree in Biology from the University of Nebraska.
At Stillwater High School, he is Chair of the 9 member Life Science
Department and teaches the Anatomy and Physiology course.

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