Complete Track and Field

Identification and Prioritization of Your Training Themes – Part 1

PART 1 – Training Paces

How do we decide what to train and when to train it?  That is part science and part art.  Let’s establish a menu of training paces available to us.  Coaches of different disciplines and different influences use a variety of terms that often mean the same or similar things.  We will attempt to organize and perhaps simplify this terminology.  Some can make a case for arguing the minutia of each definition or the science behind those arguments.  I want to take a more general approach that will get us “in the ballpark” before we start obsessing over the details.  Let’s use actual racing events to describe training paces.

Marathon Pace Training is aerobic training that is done to train what the endurance literature calls the aerobic threshold and is often done with continuous runs called tempo runs.

Half Marathon Pace Training is aerobic training that is done to train what the endurance literature calls the lactate threshold and often utilizes longer repetitions, although continuous tempo runs are also used. 

Repetition training can be defined as any running bout that is repeated with intermittent rest.  Interval training has become synonymous with repetition training.  There are subtle differences but it is important to note, when designing any training scheme it is the coach who must account for overall session volume, repetition length, speed of run, and length of the rest interval.  All of these variables can be manipulated to dictate the stress of the session.  Because of this, there are a near endless variety of training sessions that can be utilized toward similar training objectives.

Marathon runnersThe term “speed work” has also unfortunately become synonymous with repetition training.  I want to caution against using the term “speed work” as a catch all phrase because I think it is too vague and brings with it mixed connotations.  We will discuss the term “speed development training” later.

10k Pace Training is aerobic training that is done to train both lactate threshold and what the endurance literature calls the VO2 Max and utilizes repetitions.

3k/3200m/5k Pace Training is primarily aerobic training that is done to train VO2 Max and utilizes repetitions.  Extensive Tempo training is a similar term in the sprint training literature.

1500/1600/mile Pace Training is mixed aerobic and anaerobic training done to train the ability to buffer against the acidic environment in the muscle created by higher speed running over longer durations.  Intensive Tempo training is a similar term in the sprint training literature.

800-meter Pace Training is mixed aerobic and anaerobic training done to train the ability to buffer against the acidic environment in the muscle created by higher speed running over longer durations.  Special Endurance 2 training is a similar term in the sprint training literature.

400-meter Pace Training is primarily anaerobic training done to train the ability to buffer against the acidic environment in the muscle created by higher speed running over longer durations.  Special Endurance 1 training is a similar term in the sprint training literature.

Related Article: 4 Goals of 400 Meter Training

200-meter Pace Training is anaerobic training done to train the ability to hold very high percentages of one’s maximum speed capabilities.  Speed Endurance training is a similar term in the sprint training literature.

100-meter Pace Training is anaerobic training done to train the ability to hold very high percentages of one’s maximum speed capabilities.  Short Speed Endurance training is a similar term in the sprint training literature.  Short Speed Endurance can be further classified as Alactic Short Speed Endurance or Glycolytic Short Speed Endurance depending on the rest interval used in the training session.

It should be noted that even in sprint races such as the 100-meter and 200-meter events, there is deceleration that occurs.  The “endurance” or the ability to maintain the highest percentages of one’s maximum velocity is more often tied to neuromuscular endurance than energy system endurance.

Speed Development Training is primarily neuromuscular training designed to allow the body to reach new levels of top velocity.  Speed Development Training can be further classified as Acceleration Training and Maximum Velocity Training.  Acceleration Training deals with the rapid development of velocity from first movement, the start, or zero velocity.  Maximum Velocity Training deals with the development of the highest level of velocity the athlete can create. 

Resource: A Practical Approach to Developing Optimal Speed *and* Endurance in Your Primary Event 400, 600 and 800 Meter Athletes

There are significant technical and power related qualities that are prerequisite to training Acceleration and Maximum Velocity.  Therefore all technical and power related activities can be categorized with Speed Development Training.  The further categorization of Speed Development Training is significant for the sprint athlete as there will be separate sessions devoted to each sub-category.

Continue to Part 2: Identification and Prioritization of Your Training Themes – Terminology

 


About Ron Grigg

Ron GriggCoach at Jacksonville University (FL). Coach Grigg has had 10 x Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year. He is USA Track & Field Level II Certified – Sprints, Hurdles, Relays, Jumps, Throws & Combined Events, is an USA Track & Field Level I & II Instructor. He has Coached: 9 NCAA National Champions, 25 NCAA All Americans, 86 Atlantic Sun Conference Champions...
View all posts by Ron Grigg →