Em­pha­sise en­durance

Runner's World (UK) - - Running Wisdom -

if­teen years ago, tran­si­tion­ing to the marathon was seen as the death knell for speed among elite run­ners. Then the likes of Paula Rad­cliffe rewrote the rule­book by re­turn­ing to the track faster than ever in the months after rac­ing 26.2 miles. Good­man be­lieves train­ing for a marathon six months be­fore her 10K race made all the dif­fer­ence.

‘I was run­ning longer long runs and do­ing work­outs within long runs,’ she says. (Good­man was run­ning 30 per cent more weekly miles in her heav­i­est weeks of marathon train­ing than she would peak at in 10K train­ing.)

In­creas­ing your mileage brings many ben­e­fits: in­creased cap­il­lary den­sity, greater num­bers of mi­to­chon­dria, bet­ter us­age of fat as fuel, mus­cle fi­bre adap­ta­tions and higher glyco­gen stor­age. Th­ese changes al­low you to main­tain a de­sired pace for longer by mak­ing your body more ef­fi­cient at oxy­gen us­age and en­ergy pro­duc­tion.

One run­ner who has taken this to ex­tremes is the US 100K record holder, Camille Her­ron. ‘Nine years ago I started run­ning over 100 miles per week,’ she says. ‘Build­ing that aer­o­bic base trans­lated to be­ing able to sus­tain my speed for longer.’

Not many of us will hit weekly triple dig­its and in­creas­ing your mileage safely takes time, pa­tience and of­ten some cre­ative think­ing when it comes to time man­age­ment. Elite mas­ters run­ner Frankie Adkins ran a 10K PB at the age of 41. His big­gest chal­lenge was find­ing a way to fit the ex­tra miles around the time con­straints of fam­ily life and a job that had him trav­el­ling al­most ev­ery day. ‘I fit my train­ing around work and fam­ily, not the other way around,’ he says. ‘And there were weeks when I looked at my train­ing plan and work sched­ule and thought there was no way I’d get it all in, but more of­ten than not I did. Hav­ing a train­ing plan was cru­cial; it kept me think­ing of 30-60-minute win­dows where I could get the train­ing in.’

The down­side of adding vol­ume is it does in­crease your risk of overuse in­juries. To lower that risk, coach Ben Rosario has two rec­om­men­da­tions: ‘First, make sure you're run­ning on soft sur­faces for the ma­jor­ity of your mileage,’ he says. ‘Sec­ond, put a big­ger pre­mium on postrun re­cov­ery – foam rolling, flex­i­bil­ity ex­er­cises and mas­sage are the big ones.’

Rosario also stresses that pa­tience is a virtue when you’re try­ing to de­velop your aer­o­bic sys­tem. You may not get faster for a while, but work­outs will get eas­ier over time. ‘It’s about trust­ing what you're do­ing,’ he says.

CHANGE THIS Run more miles, even if you're train­ing for a 5K.

WHY Up­ping your mileage is the best way to im­prove your aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity, which in­creases speed en­durance – how long you can sus­tain race pace.

THE CHAL­LENGE Mak­ing a jump in mileage safely re­quires pa­tience.

THE RISK In­creas­ing mileage too rapidly can lead to overuse in­juries.

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