Training for IM
Bike endurance is key to improving run endurance...
I was wondering if you could elaborate a bit since it's not intuitive to me why having a solid bike endurance is key to improving your run endurance. Is this also a reflection of the statement that your long run should never be more than 2.5 - 3hrs? Clearly, many (or most) of us will be out there for 4+ hours on the run in an IM so I'm curious to better understand if these are related, or, just a better understanding of how bike endurance is so key.
As Fleck noted -- big difference between 112 mies with breaks and chatting and 112 miles on AeT without stopping.
As you remember form the camp -- I kinda beat this one to death with my 40 min opener! So it's tough to sum-up. However, between this post and the other below, people should be getting the idea. If someone doesn't 'get it' then simply ride five hours sitting on AeT. After about three hours, it will become very clear.
At the start of an IM bike leg, you will be the most rested of your entire season. Sitting at LTHR-5bpm will seem easy -- it will also likely lead to a very tough day. Many of us have done it.
Happy to answer specifics.
Track Workouts/speed work...
Along this line of questions... I've always been curious as to when a workout calls for "race pace" just which race pace does it mean?
IM -- AeT Half IM -- AeT +10 to AeT +15 depending on fitness
Marathon pace for me is about a 6:45 mile (2:56) yet my best IM run of the four I have done has been a 8:45 pace (3:48).
This is the sign of a bike endurance limiter and a lack of pacing on the bike leg. This is why getting "tired" doing high itensity running would not be effective for an athlete like you. You need to get tired doing long, continuous AeT bike rides.
My goal pace for an IM run is a pace of 7:30 (best case) to 8:00. Yet I wouldn't call training at either of those paces as speedwork as they are at the lower end of most of my training runs. Also do you see any value in speedwork for IM traing?
Not for you, you need to get stronger on the bike and simply maintain the run speed that you already have. See my Beyond the Four Pillar article for more.
I do a practical session (about two hours long) that addresses this concept in detail. It was one of my sessions at the UF St George Clinic.
Training for IM - ME Bricks...
With my high volume crew, the tempo efforts required extended recovery in many cases (particularly MOP/BOP). So for these athletes, we do sport specific strength work in the upper steady zone and keep aerobic volume relatively high (helping recovery, increasing aerobic load, thereby assisting them with making body comp improvements).
Those ME bricks are great for FOP/MOP Half IM. They are also useful supplementation to the AeT based program. Issue is that most people tend to think that if AeT+10 is "good" then AeT+25 must be "better". Doesn't work that way so I am more and more cautious with the higher intensity workouts -- it's the leading cause of training screw-ups and the main cause of blowing ourselves up.
For athletes that don't have the time to do the necessary endurance work, then the ME bricks are a nice protocol. They are also useful for athletes that have trouble pushing themselves (a small group but represented in my athletes). These athletes tend to ride a half zone under where I am aiming. So the ME bricks get them up. It's a case of getting the right training for the right situation.
Probably the biggest change that I have made is moving "The Steady Ride" to the core of every single one of my athlete's programs (regardless of ability). The definition of "steady" will be slightly different for each of my athletes. See my thoughts on max steady state.
It can be boring if you don't love it but long hours of steady aerobic training appear to be the superior protocol for long course racing. It's a very safe way to start to approach our potential. There are many reasons why and perhaps I'll write more about it some time. Lydiard's already said it better than I could anyhow.
Use me for an example, very little tempo, mainly easy to steady pace -- 84 hours of training in 12 days. Saturday I'll be racing in Auburn -- we'll see what the short term impact has been. I don't need a race to convince myself. When you hold LT run speed and your resting HR decreases each day during a high volume camp... you must be improving aerobic capacity. I also have many weeks until Canada. My key challenge is to simply keep it rolling, not nuke myself racing in training and stay healthy -- epic volume places recovery stress that needs to be watched. Scott and I have just built my recovery strategy for the summer.
I don't advocate the mega-miles for civilians, see Brent's post -- what work's best is a very consistent application of my Endurance Essentials. Do that and you gradually open your endurance envelope.
Once again, this training camp showed that sub-10 hr IM is really the level where an athlete can do Big Week Training. Anyone else will nuke themselves, it's only a matter of when. However, I think that all of us can learn from BWT and will write thoughts up on that in due course. The key issue is having the correct understanding of an appropriate way to extend ourselves.
bop -- back of pack