Ric's 10-Point Training Essentials

November 26, 2015

Over the years, I've developed a "10-Point" approach to training that encompasses the spectrum of training and racing components. These Points can be scaled to any level - novice to highly competitive - but because of the comprehensive nature are more applicable to the latter. I start with "Planning" because it is difficult to properly write, supervise, and track a training program without documented goals (including target times with event dates). The 10-points are arranged sequentially but in practice they may occur simultaneously or in whatever sequence the training and competitive situation demands. While I integrate each of the Points as needed, I always start with Planning/Goal-Setting. 


Here are the 10-Points


1.      Planning


Planning and goal-setting are the foundation of my training program. Without a well formulated goal, it is difficult to write, implement, and maintain a training program.


Often, I encounter runners with  multiple conflicting “goals,” a  situation  that causes confusion, frustration, and  ultimately, failure.


My system incorporates multiple  interactive steps in developing a plan - from taking a  personal  historical performance inventory  designing a detailed to training plan, writing a race plan for peak performance.


2.      Personal Inventory


Your personal performance inventory forms the basis for your future goals. This inventory should capture all of your races for the past few years  including any relevant information such as weather  conditions, track  or road conditions, venue,  type of competition, time of season, type of competition,  and quality of training. Once this information is compiled,  reasonable goals can be set based on performance  and training trends.


3.      Prediction


Prediction is the  next step in goal setting  and flows directly from the personal inventory. I use the Jack Daniels VDOT Chart to  derive goals. I consider each VDOT level on the chart a “break-thru”. 


Improving by one VDOT level to  might be a reasonable goal, but  even a “1/2-VDOT” improvement might be a challenging goal. Improving by more than one VDOT level might not be either wise or reasonable – multiple VDOT jumps could be problematic for both physiological or psychological reasons.


4.      Preparation


Preparation includes writing the training plan for the predicted goal. The plan includes all of the training details from miles per week to tempo runs  to speed work and races. One key aspect of this step is time-phasing of the various training components, mileage, tempo runs, interval training, speed  work,  racing, and  cross-training.


5.      Programming


Programming is actually a subset of preparation. This step involves  mentally and physically “programming” all  phases of training and racing such as starting, surging, “ kicking”, and other aspects of strategy such as positioning on the track, who to key-on, and  exertion levels.


6.      Pacing


Pacing is a key technical component of training and  racing, and by far the  most difficult to master. Most runners do not have a  reliable internal pacing mechanism due to intervening  factors  such as adrenaline, distractions,  politics, and lack of preparation for a  race-specific situations.


7.      Practice Concepts


Practice has to do with developing effective routines for producing  results.  Characteristics of  a practice routine would include warm-up, stretching and drills, workout structure, and a cool-down.


8.      Persistence


Persistence is simply the consistent  adherence to the training program, or, “showing up for practice”. The two major concepts of persistence are consistency and continuity - this simply means that you don’t  miss practice and neither“ over-train” or “ under-train”.


9.      Patience


Patience is allowing the time-phasing of the program to produce results at the designated time in the season. “ Peaking” too early is a  result of either  accelerating the intensity of the workouts or “ over-racing”.


10.  Peak Performance


Peak performance is running your “best” as measured by either time or place finish, on both, when  planned.. Peak performance is  essentially “achieving your goals”


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