Track workouts – power?

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  • #27220

    I’ve recently started incorporating some track workouts into my training with a friend with a big running background.

    We do a good warm-up then two, two-mile repeats followed by maybe an 800m. The workouts are fun and push me to my absolute limit of willpower, leg strength, and breath. Being new at it, I have PRed every week and am now at 5:40 miles.

    How do these workouts fit in within training for alpinism categories? Is this a type of power training? Are these workouts beneficial?

    How can a track workout be adjusted for maximum gains for an uphill athlete?


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    Anonymous on #27230


    These workouts will positively benefit you in your uphill pursuits. They’ll build aerobic power, specific leg muscular endurance and maximally work the ventilatory muscles. This can be great to use in he base period for a well trained athlete. With a 5:40 mile you qualify as well trained. How much and often you do these depends on what you goals are and where you are in your training cycle. If mountains (mountain running, alpinism, skimo etc) are your main goal then at some point you’ll want to transition these high intensity workouts to more sport specificity. For skimo and running this will mean running uphill. For mountaineering/alpinism it will mean steep hiking (20-50%+ grade) with a heavy pack. I hope this helps.


    Zach.jin on #27232

    Scott, Thank you for the reply.

    I’ll keep up with these workouts for the remainder of my base period (another 4 weeks), and then add in steep grade, heavy pack for ME. I watched your video outlining the method.

    During the ME phase, and even event specific training phases, will it make sense to maintain a track workout perhaps one every two weeks to maintain this type of fitness if I have the time and am feeling strong enough?


    Rachel on #27267

    5:40 a mile is impressive, but I have to ask — couldn’t someone have aerobic deficiency but have a well developed anaerobic engine and pull off such a mile or two?

    Anonymous on #27287

    @rarichard: I was wondering the same. @scott?

    Anonymous on #27365

    @rachelp and Scott Semple;

    Yes, in theory, one could have ADS and run a fast mile. But remember he is doing 2 x 2mile repeats. I was assuming perhaps in error that he was maintain close to this 5:40 pace for the two miles and was able to hit a similar pace the second repeat. it would be very unlikely that they could repeat that effort and still run a fast 800. I suppose I should have asked for more info from Zackary.

    I also assumed (perhaps in error) that he was ‘new’ to this intensity training but was otherwise following our normal program of a high volume of aerobic base work. He should be doing that for the best progression.

    Maybe he’ll indulge my questions.

    What sort of times did you run on each of the miles and 2 miles? Steady pace or slowing? How long of a recovery between repeats? How long of a break till the 800 and how fast was it?


    Zach.jin on #27379

    Hello Scott and all-

    I hope I’m not an ADS sufferer! I think I’m likely on the opposite end of the spectrum, lots of low-end base training and little top end speed. Here’s some answers and background.

    With that, I’m hoping to learn how to optimize a mix of speed and base training to develop a faster Z1 pace.

    Track workouts: Second mile is always slower, probably down to a 6:10. I’m trying to train myself to maintain the same or negative split, but I think it is my mental game that is weak to maintain focus and fight through the fire. The 800, I’m back to a 5:40 pace. Probably 2-5 minutes in between efforts light jogging.

    Other background: I ran a 38 minute 10k a few weeks ago. My first short distance race. I’ve done 4 50k distances in the past year and a half, my best effort being under 6 hours on a course with 8400′ of elevation gain/loss.
    Most of my base training is running during the week (30-40 miles) with weekends in the mountains alpine climbing.

    Anonymous on #27391

    Thanks for the details Zachary. So I was pretty close with my assumptions.

    The fact that you drop times from mile one to mile 2 in these 2mile repeats indicates that you need to work the endurance end of the spectrum first and are using the wrong pace. This is all assuming that your goal is to run faster for longer. If you are going 5:40 up to 6:15 then you need to slow the first mile 6:00 and try to run the second mile the same speed. Keeping this effort should allow you to complete more reps which will have a decidedly strong endurance training effect. So this workout would look like 3x2miles @6min/mile pace with 3 min recovery between. You can progress this first by adding more reps before lowering the mile times. When you hit 5x2miles @6min/mile you’ll be ready to drop the times for the next stage of the progression. Then on a separate day you would work the speed end of the spectrum but doing 4×800 at 2:35 with 4 min easy walking between. You’d progress this also by adding more 800 reps. At this point do not mix speed and endurance in the same workout in the base phase. Build them separately. Right now you are making the classic mistake of doing utilization training when your capacity is too low. You need to build capacity in both endurance and speed first….THEN and only then go to utilization workouts that entail SPEED ENDURANCE. That workout will look like what you are doing now but will be at the consistent 5:40 pace that is currently a PR.

    Using this type of program over several months you will see massive improvements in speed endurance which means better performance in all your aerobic mountain stuff.


    Zach.jin on #27545

    Scott- thanks for the prescription, I really appreciate it. I’ll stick to it and report back.

    I got a bit greedy with the speed drug this morning and did 1×2 miles at 5:50, then 1x2miles at 6:00 on the first/then 5:50 on the second. For next week, 3×2 miles at 6:00 seems reasonable.

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