April 9, 2014

Spring Training #3 - Leading up to Cherry Blossom

This is the next (third) installment in my series of posts breaking down and reviewing my training. To recap, here are the links to posts #1 and #2.

Week of March 17: 8 x 400m (1500 pace); LT Shuffle: 5 x 8/1 minute efforts; 5 x 800m (3K pace). This week took me out of my comfort zone! See the notes below on what the LT Shuffle is all about, and you can click on the links to the individual workouts to see more specifics.

Week of March 24: LT Shuffle: 8 x 5/1 minute efforts; 18 mile long run w/ 10x45s surges. I had originally planned to run a 5K race on the track at the end of this week, but Andrea had a cold earlier in the week and I felt a little drained on Thursday/Friday, so I scrapped the race (and thus ended up not catching the cold). It was a good move that allowed me to absorb some of the recent workload without wearing myself down too much.

Week of March 31: LT Efforts: 4 x 8 minutes (more like 10K effort); 3 x (5 x 1 minute) fartlek; USA 10 Mile Championships (50:12). A pretty solid, but not spectacular, race to end the week. Click the link for my full recap. In hindsight, the Thursday fartlek was a little too much that close to the race.

So what's the "LT Shuffle" all about?
The long reps will produce a small amount of lactate that the body will pick up and utilise during the effort - there will be some residual lactate that the body will 'shuffle' into the system during the 1 min recovery. Then, during the 1 min faster effort the body will utilise the lactate for energy and at the same time produce a larger amount of lactate. Through the 3 min active recovery the body will, again, use and 'shuffle' the remaining lactate into the system, which the body will then utilise during the next long rep and so on. 
As the session progresses, more and more lactate is produced, shuffled, utilised - at LT and 5k/3k pace/effort. Towards the end of the session, the body floods with lactate and struggles to utilise and shuffle it into the system - the body goes into 'panic' mode and 'shunts' (forces) it into the system.  This stresses the body and teaches it to pick-up and utilise lactate when the system is fatigued. This in turn helps to improve pace at LT.
My log entry on March 22nd is worth repeating... some bullet points on changes I've made this year:
-Faster interval workouts at the correct paces (not slower but with extra volume thrown in)
-Shorter recovery runs (between 45-60 minutes)
-Very targeted LT sessions
-Don't be lazy... strides twice a week!
-Foam rolling / stretching / general strength work almost every night
-No candy and less crap in general!
-Eating balanced recovery foods with plenty of protein within 20 minutes of finishing harder workouts. This sounds like a shamless plug, but I'm really enjoying PowerBar ProteinPlus bars, which taste really good and pack 20 grams of protein.
-More skiing / skinning, which is excellent for all the reasons Andrea mentions here.
Full view of the last 10 weeks...

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