I met Dale this morning for a good workout at Joe Walker. I suggested a mixed systems workout. I had read about these type of workouts in Running Times but couldn't find the article (I think it was a McMillan article). Then I found another source when I got to work in the morning. You have probably heard of an interval workout or a threshold workout. Usually they are done separately. In a mixed workout you do a little of both. Exercise Physiologist, Jason Karp discusses them in his book: 101 Developmental Concepts & Workouts for Cross Country Runners. It is a great book because he gives examples of some great workouts and the objectives and coaching advice for each one. He calls this workout AT (acidosis threshold or lactate threshold) run/VO2max intervals mix. He suggests 2 to 3 miles at AT pace followed by 3 to 4 x 800m to 1000m at VO2max pace with a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio. For Dale this would mean 3 miles at 7:00-7:10 pace followed by 4x800m at 3:10 to 3:20. I decided I would run with Dale to pull him along for the AT portion and then run all 4 miles at 6:20 pace for my own AT workout as my AT pace is Dale's VO2max pace. Jason Karp's description of the workout objective is "To increase acidosis threshold and VO2max by combining AT-paced running with VO2max-paced running and to practice running harder off a comfortably hard pace." The part I like the best is "to practice running harder off a comfortably hard pace." What is this? It is race simulation, running hard when you are tired, pushing in the last few miles of a half marathon. Run at your threshold pace for 10-11 miles and then push it in with whatever you have left. Of course this workout is a much shorter version of the real thing, but that is what training is all about. Give yourself a little taste of what it feels like to run hard when you are tired and let your body adapt and remember that feeling.
Dale was a little slow on the AT portion of the run but came back hard on the track and ran each 800m under 3:20 and his last one in 3:10! Jason Karp's coaching point is to "make sure athletes don't run the AT-pace segment too fast." Better to run a few seconds slower than a few seconds too fast any way. I asked Dale if it was any harder to run those 800s after the AT portion. He said, "not really." That guy is in good shape.
My training paces for that workout would be 3 miles at 6:15 to 6:20 pace and then 4x800m at 2:45-2:50. That sounds tough. I will have to try it some day.
My mile splits on the track were 6:11, 6:15, 6:10, and 5:56. The Joe Walker track still measures long. My garmin beeps almost 50m before I hit the 4 lap mark on the track. My total mileage for today was 10.5!
There are some great workouts in Jason Karp's book. I will continue to try some and share them with you in the coming year!