Run Faster Than You Thought Possible
(Without Increasing Your Risk of Burnout & Injury)
Why? Because you tried to run more miles or to run those miles more intensely, but you lost the battle with injury and burnout - or perhaps you just didn't have the time. You felt uninspired. Disillusioned. I myself have been there.
But the truth is, it doesn't have to be that way. All you need is a proven, reliable, powerful training structure. The exact same structure used by elite athletes and recommended by the world's top exercise scientists.
Did you know elite athletes have the ability to run 10K inside 32min on 30miles/week (50km) and a marathon inside 2:30h on 40miles/week (64km)?
Although elite athletes commonly run 120 - 150miles/week (190 - 240km) to achieve world-class level, the bulk of improvements are gained on relatively low mileage.
You, too, can achieve amazing performance feats with the structure of the elites.
THE NON-LINEAR PERIODIZATION METHOD
Performance enhancement doesn’t happen with unstructured training. Your body is an incredibly complex biological machine that responds best to cyclic, systematic, progressive, and logically sequenced training with a balanced interplay of well-timed training stress and recovery.
There are basically two schools of thought when it comes to performance training: linear periodization and non-linear periodization.
Lydiard style linear periodization starts with a base phase of high-mileage easy running, followed by a strength phase (hill-running), a speed phase, and finally race-specific training.
Non-linear periodization, by contrast, uses a combination of various intensities throughout the training cycle. Early stages are highly polarized with general endurance and maximal speed training, which then transitions to VO2max, threshold, and ultimately race-specific intensities.
While both methods are valid, there are some good arguments in favor of the non-linear periodization method. Since all training stimuli are present at all times, your fitness won’t fluctuate as much throughout your running season. It also reduces your risk of injury as your training is less one-sided. Finally, the presence of anaerobic training (or HIIT as fitness enthusiasts like to call it) has shown to improve your body composition and even leads to considerable anti-aging benefits.
In order to fully comprehend periodization, it is advantageous to familiarize yourself with the terms macrocycles, mesocycles, microcycles, and purposeful workouts.
The macrocycle is typically the duration of a training plan roughly ranging from 8 – 16 weeks, depending on your event and current training level. It culminates in a temporary peak performance for your chosen distance. Experience has shown that it is difficult to improve beyond this time frame without strategic downtime from race-specific training.
The mesocycle is typically a focus block of 3 – 6 weeks that emphasizes no more than 2 variables of your running. In my training plans, I distinguish between Twin Base, Conditioning, and Race-Specific. With non-linear periodization, the training progresses from general (top-end speed and general endurance) to race-specific paces.
The microcycle is typically your training week. There are two things to consider. The overall intensity of your training week should feature at least 70% easy mileage at all times. And secondly, never schedule two hard back-to-back sessions. For instance, it would not be wise to schedule a VO2max session the day after a long run.
The workout is the smallest unit in the entire training process. The 5+ basic zones of workouts are recovery, general endurance, high-end aerobic, threshold, VO2max, anaerobic power, and neuromuscular power. Each workout typically targets one zone and serves the clear purpose of enhancing a subset of physiological variables that lead to more speed, endurance, and/or specific-endurance.