LSD is addictive but should you be doing it this time of year?
It has come to my attention that on various forums there are debates on whether or not we should be doing intervals or Long Slow distance (LSD) training at this time of year or not.
So, I thought I would write my views on this issue.
But before I let you know my opinion, I would like to slip in that we had a great turn out for intervals at the Eton track this Wednesday! The fast and medium groups had a great turn out, but I still want more slower runners and beginners to keep John ( who is 80 years young) company ! Join us on Wednesdays at 6.30pm Eton Track which is at: Thames Valley Athletics Centre, Wallace Walk, Pococks Lane, Eton, SL4 6HN (more details at: http://www.runtrackdir.com/details.asp?track=Eton).
Before starting any training programme it is important to set out “the goals or aims”.If you enjoy training slowly and that is what gives you pleasure, then I can honestly say that LSD is what you should be doing.
For most of us, triathlon is a hobby, and hobbies are meant to be enjoyed 🙂
If improving your race performance is your main aim, then you will need to be a bit more scientific and LSD training just doesn’t cut the mustard!
As triathletes, we have 3 disciplines, but today I am just concentrating on the run. Having said that, why waste your time doing a 30 minutes slow recovery run, which is just to help flush out the lactates from your body, when you could do that same thing via an easy drill set in the pool. Not only do you recover but you also get to improve your swimming technique at the same time…a double bonus.
Swimming is also less stressful on the joints, so you are less likely to get injured.
I definitely recommend replacing short easy recovery runs with swim drill sets for triathletes.
The LSD run, has its place, but in general if you are training for sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, it can be replaced by an LSD bike ride.
The LSD run is to improve aerobic capacity and open up the capillaries allowing the muscles to work more efficiently. A two hour run will do that job quite well, but the stress on the joints will be intense and will increase the possibility of injury.
So I replace it by an LSD bike ride; this has all the aerobic benefits of the LSD run but with much less stress on the body. It is also possible to get more aerobic benefit from a bike ride that the run!
With a little training, most of us can do a 4 hour bike ride, but we would struggle to do a 4 hour run! Not surprisingly an LSD bike ride will also benefit your cycling performance.
It is widely accepted that the body becomes efficient at what it does most of. If you always jog at 10 minutes per mile, you will become very good at running 10km in 60mins. If you want to go faster you must teach your muscles to function at a faster pace. That does not mean for example doing a sub 40 minute 10km run every time you put your trainers on; that would be too much. However, if sub 40 minute 10km is your aim, you will have to run at that pace from time to time. I recommend breaking the distance down into manageable intervals to help get you started.
At this time of year my athletes start off with 400m repetitions. This allows plenty of time for recovery so that they can hold race pace without too much of a struggle. As it is early season, the reps are short. This week at Eton we only ran between 8 and 12 reps of 400m. However, all good schedules need progression, so we shall add on 2 reps on per week up to 24.
Once we have done this, the reps drop down but the distance of each interval goes up from 400m to 800m. Initially, we shall only do 6 repetitions. This allows the body time to recover and adapt.
As with the 400’s we shall add on one 800m rep each week, until we are doing 12x 800m. (6miles)
After the 800m, the distance of each rep, rises to 1,200m. And after that up to mile repetitions. As you can image all this takes this quite some time, and so it should, as it takes time for a physiological change to take place.
After the mile reps it will be spring and the next phase of our training will be preparing for the race season, and my athletes will be in perfect shape to start their early season speed work.
For anyone who wants to join in, there is still space in the groups. For those that don’t or can’t make it down, the key thing is to enjoy whatever training you do.
Next time, I will look at other types of training to complement this weekly track session.