This is the second in our series on the latest version of the TriForce run base training program (2.0). I suggest you read the first article before reading this. This installment discusses run volume.
As we discussed in our last article on base training, we want to focus much more on overall run volume than on the length of our long runs or the intensity / pace of our runs. Here’s how we do it:
- Short Runs. 3-4 @ easy or steady heart rate; for triathletes these are typically done as transition runs to save time; run / walk is good
- Hill Repeats: hills are typically threshold effort (i.e. not “hill sprints”) on a gradual uphill that doesn’t change our gait too much. This is our one “go hard” day to have a little fun.
- Second Longest Run: easy or steady typically, we’ll eventually / gradually add some race pace work for some runners; run / walk highly recommended
- 1 long run: easy or steady; run / walk highly recommended
We pick your starting level based on your current fitness and progress you forward based on how you’re responding to the training.
So, if you’re at level 3, you’ll do 3-4 short runs or transition runs (15 min), an approx. 30 minute hill workout with 15 minutes of total hill climbing, a 30 minute second longest run and a 45 minute long run, for a total of 2:45 of running.
Things to note:
- “% increase from previous level” column which shows that early on we need to be careful with increasing training, as just adding 5-15 minutes of training to each run results in a massive % increase in training.
- The targets we set for some race distances. The final 3 columns show at what levels you want to be at the end of your base training. If you’re in the green you’re at a reasonable level for the distance you’ve chosen. Another way to look at it is that you want your total weekly volume to be close to your projected race time. These aren’t so firm or do or die (to be honest I’ve done less and had good results, but the run is my strength), but rather they’re helpful in being realistic in understanding how long your buildup needs to be to build the base you need for a solid race.
- How Quickly To Go Through The Program. I’d say you need to budget at least 2 months of base training per level you need to progress through. (This run program 2.0 is in beta and with 25+ athletes following this plan I’ll get plenty of data points to revise this). Obviously, if you’re at level 1 and want to hit the target for marathon or IM base training, that means at least 10 straight months of base training. If you’re straight off the couch to level one, you’re probably going to need more than that.
- Implications for MY training. One cool thing about coaching the team is that I am doing the program right along with everyone else. In the past I’ve struggled with overreaching in the run (pushing myself too far / too hard with my long runs which caused me to need to take long rest to recover). Looking at the chart I’m imagining: (1) if I can spend most of the year at level 6 without injury or overreaching, I’ll be the fastest I’ve ever been; and (2) if I string together several weeks of level 7 I think I have a strong chance of going sub 3 at IMCdA. The only possible way to pull that off would be: (1) to run virtually 100% on soft surfaces; (2) to run at a typical HR of 155 instead of 160; and (3) to continue to do run / walk for all my runs (walking 30 steps / half mile).