Getting the right balance in your training schedule is often very tricky.
Do I run 3 times per week, 5 times, 8 times?
What day do I do hills if I do an interval session on a Tuesday?
If I want to ride, can I run the same day and should it be before the ride or after?
Will a weights session the morning of my long run be a bad thing?
Of course there is no perfect answer for these kinds of questions, but if we base our training on physiological principals, apply some personal experience and then trial for the best results, we generally end up with something that will work well for us – the individual.
Today I’m going to talk about a training technique I often use with trail runners in particular, due the nature of the sport.
It doesn’t really have a name, but essentially it is two or more kinds of training sessions blended together. This is not simply two training sessions in one day, it is two training sessions in one workout.
Let me explain…
In a trail race, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be very little time spent simply cruising. Trail running and many other off road sports require the athlete to push themselves at different and often changing intensities over varying geographical challenges.
It makes sense then that your training should often replicate the kind output required of you in a race. One of the best ways to do this is to focus on training your fatigue tolerance.
I do this by structuring a session with a hard bout of high intensity efforts such as hill repeats or intervals, then follow it straight up with a moderate paced longish run. This forces you to push hard but does not allow you to drop, totally exhausted at the end of the hard stuff. It makes you switch your body into recovery mode while still requiring it to hold a steady effort. The other great thing it does is teach you to measure out your energy. Knowing that you have to go and run for another hour straight after half a dozen hill climbs means you will learn to NOT cook yourself in a race situation. It also helps to give you more ready access to that “inner energy reserve” that you only get to dip into when you can smell the finish line of a race.
There are countless ways you can combine multiple training techniques to produce challenging and result producing workouts. The trick though is to combine techniques that simulate what you are preparing for without being so difficult that you aren’t able to train again for the next 5 days!
Many of the runners that I Coach no doubt hate some of my ‘Daily Double’ sessions because they are simply hard work. But at the end of the day, the feedback I get is that they just feel STRONGER.
If you aren’t doing this kind of training already, try it out for yourself and see what it does for you.