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Trimarni is place where athletes and fitness enthusiasts receive motivation, inspiration, education, counseling and coaching in the areas of nutrition, fitness, health, sport nutrition, training and life.

We emphasize a real food diet and our coaching philosophy is simple: Train hard, recover harder. No junk miles but instead, respect for your amazing body. Every time you move your body you do so with a purpose. Our services are designed with your goals in mind so that you can live an active and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Trimarni Blog

A blog dedicated to exercise, nutrition and my life

Filtering by Category: "long run"

Adapt to the least amount of training stress: the "long" run

Marni Sumbal




When you mention the word endurance athlete, I think most people would instantly think "long" workouts. As that would be expected if you are training for a "long" event. In my multisport world, Ironman and Marathon are the two big endurance events but I would also like to include anything over 2 hours, such as a half marathon or olympic distance triathlon for many.

When it comes to building endurance, there are many approaches as to the best way to improve the cardio, muscular and respiratory systems as well as building confidence for the big, long day. But before we jump ahead as to the best way to build endurance, I think I must point out the best way to train for any event.....

Forget about what your training partners are doing, what you read in a magazine or what a friend of a friend told you to do to improve fitness. The general and most basic approach to training involves periodization. If you do the same thing over and over, expect the same result. However, infrequent workouts bring infrequent results. Consistency is key as you continually stress the body.
That is, the most appropriate way for you to appropriately adapt to a sequence of training is in a way in which your body is overloaded to adapt to training stress but not at the cost of injury, burnout and fatigue. In order for this periodization principle to be executed properly, athletes must recognize that there must be a healthy balance between training and recovery so that you peak at the right time and training intensity/volume is specific to training and racing goals. In other words - there is no "best" way to train but instead the right way for your body to consistently (key word) progress with training....and still function as a normal human-being in life.

Structurally, your body must be flexible, strong and biomechanically "healthy" to move with proper form and skill and metabolically, your body must be able to provide energy to meet the demands of training.

For many athletes, the motivation is there but the body doesn't always perform. For others, the mind and body struggle to maintain energy as training progresses. I find that most athletes have about 3-4 "great" weeks in their system when they start a new training plan or start training for a race. Thus, this is where many adaptations quickly take place. However, athletes are known to be a bit inpatient and instead of progress continuing to be made after 3-4 weeks, athletes begin to plateau with fitness (and often, struggle with body composition issues) and recovery is delayed, motivation dwindles and goals are forgotten (or the opposite - the athlete continues to push with a body that is not responding appropriately to training stress).

In order to maintain optimal health as you see/feel yourself progress with your athletic training, it is important that you recognize that the best performances by athletes are done with individualized training. Therefore, how your body responds to training stress may be different from your training buddies. You can follow a similar training plan but your approach - the duration, frequency and intensity - may be different. Thus, it is important to recognize that throughout many cycles of "epic workouts" and finishing workouts you never thought you could start along with resting and recovering the body when it needed to rejuvenate, this is where the magic happens. It is not one or two great long workouts (or "yay, glad that is over") but instead, many orchestrated workouts that allow you to recover and then peak at the right time and eventually, race at your full potential on race day.

When it comes to endurance training, there are many approaches to improve running endurance.
For example, I have many of my athletes doing different styles of run training depending on how they adapt to training stress as well as their primary goals for race day.

A few different strategies for improving running endurance:
-mid week "long" runs
-long runs off a short bike warm-up
-mile repeaters during a long run
-fast intervals, a few times per week
-two a day runs, once or twice a week instead of a long run
-run/walk workouts
-plyometrics/hip strength
-cross training
-track workouts
-group runs
-hill workouts

As you can see, there is no right or best way to improve running endurance and despite what your training buddies may tell you, those long runs, weekend after weekend can be very damaging and non-productive.

Rather than blogging about the physiology of the body (I sure do love that stuff!) , I will keep things simple so that you can have a few take aways from this blog to figure out the best way to improve our running endurance.
- The primary prescription for building endurance is based on training frequency, training duration and training intensity.
-Research has shown that running twice per week may produce similar changes in VO2 max as training 5 days per week. However, if training intensity is low, you will need more frequent workouts to increase aerobic capacity.
-Depending on your workout intensity, this will determine your workout duration. If your intensity is above lactic threshold, the duration should be kept short due to fatigue.
-Although an increase in intensity will likely shorten the duration of activity, keep in mind that if training intensity is kept low, a greater frequency of training may be needed to elicit the desired physiological adaptations to enhance endurance performance.

Confused?

To maximize aerobic capacity, whatever workout you are doing should create an overload on the physiological processes of the body in order to result in adaptation. This is where it is up to you, as the athlete, to consider the risk-to-benefit relationship that exists when training for an endurance event. Increasing the duration of training too quickly may increase risk for overtraining and injury. Increasing the intensity too quickly or too hard, may cause premature fatigue. Not increasing the duration or intensity may have you wondering why you aren't making progress with your fitness.

When an athlete builds endurance, several things are taking place in the body to adapt to stress:
-Increase in cardiac output
-Increase in stroke volume
-Increase in blood volume and hemoglobin concentration
-Increase in blood flow to exercising muscles
-Decrease in resting heart rate and blood pressure
-Increase in mitochondrial size and number
-Increase in oxidative enzymes
-Increase in capillary density
-Increase in reliance on stored fat as an energy source
-Possible increase in myoglobin content
-Increase in VO2 max
-Rise in toleration of lactic threshold
-Improved ratings of perceived exertion
-Improve metabolic efficiency
-Improved mental strength

Out of all those adaptations that take place as we work on building endurance, there is no guarantee that running 20+ mile runs before a marathon will help you out on race day or running 3 hours as you train for IM will ensure that you will have a strong run off the bike.

It is without saying that you body must learn to tolerate stress if you are training for a long distance event and you have a lot to work on when it comes to training your body and mind but it important to consider the many types of workouts (ex. intervals,repeaters, tempo runs, hills, fartleks, short/easy runs, cross training, longer runs, brick workouts) that contribute to an increase in endurance. Many times, athletes forget that each workout stacks on the other to build endurance.

And most importantly, if your body is not physically ready to adapt to stress, it is important that you strengthen your body prior to pushing your body. Weak muscles do not respond well to weight-bearing activity for weak muscles bring poor form. The same is true with slacking on nutrition and how it affects your form, mind and recovery during a long run.... trying to progress too quickly with an endurance running routine will only bring haphazard results.

As I continue to blog about my 6th Ironman journey, I enjoy sharing my workouts with others but also with the hopes that I can inspire you to train in a way that allows for consistent success as you have fun with your training. Yes - there are hard workouts and the body will not like you at times but never should you feel as if training takes over your life and never should you stop liking training, especially when you paid money to train for an event.

Sunday's brick - My workout:




2 hour bike + 2 hour run
2 hour bike - 1st hour warm-up (as I progress with IM training, I often need longer warm-ups to get my body excited to train). 2nd hour w/ Karel on his wheel - nice and steady at a little faster than my IM pace (power).

2 hour run - solo
Run 1 mile, walk 10-12 seconds in between each mile. Per my mental coach Gloria, I am only allowed to focus on one thing at a time. When I am biking, I can not think about the run off the bike. When I am running, I can't think about how many miles I have left. It's amazing how much I can think about within a mile - it is a great way for me to stay focused and in the moment.

13.15 miles
Total time: 1:52
Average pace (including walk breaks) 8:32
(I refilled my bottles at mile 7 and mile 10, 2 minute break each time. Goal was to hold around 8:20 pace)
Mile 1: 8:19
Mile 2: 8:23
Mile 3: 8:17
Mile 4: 8:21
Mile 5: 8:19
Mile 6: 8:17
Mile 7: 8:13
Mile 8: 8:23
Mile 9: 8:28
Mile 10: 8:31
Mile 11: 8:21
Mile 12: 8:19 (I cut a deal with myself as miles 10-12 were getting really hard - it was very hot and I was running into the wind and my body was tired but still I was holding good form. The deal was if I could run sub 8:20 on mile 12, I could go "easy" on the last mile...done!)
Mile 13: 9:02
(my walk breaks ended up ranging from 10-22 seconds which I walked every mile from 1-13, from my Garmin which still gave me a consistent 8:32 pace and a body that recovers quickly so that I can have another consistent week of quality training)


Sunday's brick - Karel's workout

10 mile group run + 3 hour bike + 6 mile run

Another style of training based on Karel's goals and his fitness and how he adapts to training. The first 10 miles were a comfortable pace for Karel, between 7-7:30 min/miles for most of it (don't hold me to that though :) which he did with a group of runners at 6:30am at the beach. He then went for a 3 hour ride (I sat on his wheel for 1 hour of it) which was a nice steady ride at his IM pace. The 6 miles off the bike were by feel and Karel said he ended up feeling better on the 2nd run than the first run.

Two different approaches to the "long" run and both of us finished our 2nd big week of IM training. We are both feeling great and we have been recovering really well from our workouts..just enough stress to adapt but not too much that we feel lingering fatigue or injuries.

Of course, having good nutrition during the day and proper sport nutrition helps but we can't blame everything on nutrition. Train smart, train hard and recover harder.


                                 
6 more weeks.....thumbs up for fun, consistent training :)

Ironman prep- long run + yummy berry-licious pancakes (recipe)

Marni Sumbal

 
After my quality brick workout on Saturday and my normal post workout recovery routine (recovery drink, stretching, foam rolling on my bac, Epson salt bath/shower, 110% Play Harder gear, food and then trigger point, I rested briefly after a nice long Campy walk and then I had to attend to "work" duties for Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC while Karel was working at Trek. After a delicious dinner last night, we both were ready for bed around 9pm as our eyes were sleepy and the body was begging for rest. Have I ever mentioned that Campy is a professional sleeper?
 
Without an alarm, we both got up around 5:30am this morning as I guess our bodies were ready to start the day.
 
For the training this am - tempo bike + long run. With the run being the primary focus of the run today.
 
Seeing that I am gradually progressing back with my running, I am very careful to not do too much too soon. However, I have noticed that with all my hip strengthening work, I find myself running with better form than ever before. It's as if my glutes are finally working and my back is finally liking me again. Crazy as it seems - my body always seems to function the best when I train for an Ironman...short distance, speed events - not so much.
 
Considering that the Ironman distance is all about putting together the pieces of swim bike and run into an endurance event, I do not do many "long" runs. The longest I have ever ran in training for an Ironman has been 2:45 as I feel it is better to go by time than by miles. However, I find that 16-17 miles is a good distance to aim for and to get comfortable with in training for an Ironman and to really get comfortable running off the bike. I do most of my runs off the bike because it works for my body to get warmed up on the bike. I don't feel that every Ironman athlete needs to bike before every run but it is good to run off every bike - even if it is for 5 minutes (and it can be  a walk, not always a run).
 
Because my long runs are typically off the bike, I believe that running steady is better than running fast for an Ironman. In years past, I have always tried to focus on a goal time for the marathon in the IM and I tried to simulate that in training. Well, oddly enough - I've never been even close to running that time in the Ironman. I've managed to run 3-sub 4 hour marathons off the bike in Ironman's but always running the pace of a 3:30-3:40 marathon in training. Anyone can teach themselves how to run fast or a certain pace in training but off the bike - well, that's a whole other story. For me, I run better off the bike (not always faster) so I prefer to run a long run at a steady pace.....not slow, but steady. I will always do intervals in my long runs but I am focused on my running being efficient. Thus, I can run continuous if I want but that doesn't always give me a quality week of training with an efficient body, the following week. Thus, every long run has the purpose of making sure I am able to run off the bike in an Ironman and most importantly, arrive to the race hungry and not injured, to race.  I have been keeping check of my HR in training and also on my form for I know if either of those two get off, so does my pace. Of course, the best IM runs come after a bike that has been paced well so it is important to recognize that in order to run strong off the bike (or run/walk as I will do on race day) you have to be able to put together a training plan that allows for endurance fitness gains over time. You do not want to overkill yourself with a 20 week (or even 10 week) Ironman plan with long, slow junk miles. Make your workouts count and you will be able to put that training to good use on race day.
 
Bike:
1:15 bike
20 min warm-up
5 x 2 min leg openers (high cadence) w/ 2 min EZ
Main set: 30 min IM pace (low Z3 watts)
5 min cool down
 
Transition to run
 
Long run: 11 miles
Total time: 1:36 (average pace 8:34 min/mile - which includes my walk breaks)
The focus was to keep my HR as close to 130-145 as I could and to hold around 8:30 min/miles. There are a few faster splits because I was imagining myself on race day and I guess I got excited so I had to dial it back. Also, I ran two bridges (up and down) which was helpful for controlling my form and HR. I was running from 9am - 10:30am so it was getting very hot and humid but my body does well in the heat (not ideal as it isn't the fun type of suffering like pushing in cooler weather) so keeping my HR in check as I stayed in a steady pace was the goal for the long run.
(BTW - this is my longest run since January. What a great feeling to be able to thank my body for this run, especially after I wasn't able to run for 3 months from Feb - April. THANK YOU BODY!)

After each mile, I walked 10-13 seconds after my garmin autolapped the mile and then I hit lap to restart another mile.
On my garmin 910xt, I have my garmin set to see the following on my interval screen when I run which helps me pace myself:
Lap time      Current pace
Lap pace      Lap HR
 
Mile 1: 8:26 min/mile, 120 bpm
Mile 2: 8:22 min/mile, 129 bpm
Mile 3: 8:34 min/mile, 134 bpm (the intercoastal bridge is ~.68 miles from one side to the other)
Mile 4: 8:34 min/mile, 137 bpm (back up the bridge again for ~.68 miles)
Mile 5: 8:27 min/mile, 139 bpm
Mile 6: 8:25 min/mile, 144 bpm
Mile 7: 8:19 min/mile, 146 bpm (got excited thinking about the IM!)
Refilled my flasks with water/sport drink - 2 minute break at most. I had a total of ~250 calories for my run, consuming gel or sport drink, a little every mile and then water/sport drink as needed - I am never strict on when I drink/take in calories - if my body needs it, I take it but no more than every 15 min on the bike or 1 mile on the run)
Mile 8: 8:27 min/mile, 142 bpm
Mile 9: 8:25 min/mile, 146 bpm
Mile 10: 8:23 min/mile, 147 bpm
Mile 11: 8:14 min/mile, 148 bpm (got super excited....allowed myself to go for it)
 
 
 After cooling off and stretching before getting into my car to drive home from Nocattee (where I love to train), Karel and I exchanged training stories from our morning bricks and we were both quick to get to the freezer for our 110% ice pads.
 
While we iced, I made some berry-licious rye pancakes. They came out really good as I put together this creation without looking at any recipes.
 
1/2 cup rye flour (you can use any flour)
1/3 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
3 large strawberries - chopped
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut shreds
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. sunflower seeds
Makes 7, 1/4 cup wet batter pancakes.
 
1) Mix together ingredients.
2) Heat your skillet to medium heat (or a tad below) and drizzle with olive oil. Pour 1/4 cup serving of batter on to skillet and press down lightly with back of measuring cup to make a flatter pancake. 
3) Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side and flip when bottom of pancake is firm. cook other side for 2-3 minutes.

 
 
 
 
                                      
 
 
I can't believe this is my 6th time training for an Ironman! I am so grateful to my body for allowing me to do this. I absolutely love the journey of training for an Ironman and I never get wrapped up in the end result. I realize that competing in an Ironman is a gift and I am the first to say that the human body does not have to allow "us" to train for anything and push our bodies to higher limits. With everything that I have been through over the past 7 years since I have started racing in Ironmans, I can honestly say that it never gets easier when you keep raising your limits. However, it is always fun, I never get burnt out and I wake up super excited and motivated to see what my body is capable of for that day.

Happy training, exercising and healthy living!