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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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”