Originally published on Monday, November 26, 2012
A common topic of conversation among runners is what pace to run workouts at so that training is sufficient to produce positive results-faster times and improved endurance.
When you are new to running, and just trying to improve endurance, a good running pace is one that allows the runner to carry on a conversation.
By running consistently each week, four to five days per week, your running fitness will be developed. However, if you continually run the same pace week in and week out, without any specific direction to the training- you are going to receive little to no training effect.
A training program that incorporates max VO2 sessions, lactate threshold training, and endurance-based sessions, will lead to the most sought after improvements.
Training at Max VO2 Pace Will Improve Running Performance
Researchers have know for decades that athletes that possess a high max VO2 perform better, with elite athletes typically having a higher VO2 max than the general public. Maximum oxygen uptake is the greatest amount of oxygen that your muscles can utilize while you are working as hard as you can. The key to running faster is by training at a faster effort that forces your leg muscles to become more efficient at burning the available oxygen.
Improving Lactate Threshold
Lactate threshold training has become one of the hottest training topics of the last several years, with more recent research reflecting the importance of elevated lactate thresholds with regards to improved athletic performance. Lactate Threshold refers to the intensity of exercise at which there an abrupt increase in lactate levels.
The higher your lactate threshold, the faster you can go before you experience ultimate muscle fatigue.
To improve your lactate threshold level you need to incorporate lactate threshold pace training into your weekly training program.
Improving Running Efficient With Endurance Training
With two of your training days being devoted to hard, quality efforts, additional training days are put into place to build endurance and efficiency.
This not only allows for improved cardiovascular fitness and running economy, but also helps with weight control. If you are using running days only, make sure that you aren't going out and pushing the pace on these additional runs.
Remember if you are just starting out, it's always important to have a sufficient base of running before attempting high-intensity efforts. Allow four to eight weeks to develop your running fitness before adding VO2 and lactate threshold workouts.
Missy Janzow received her B.S. in Dietetics from Southeast Missouri State University and owns Fit4U, a personalized coaching and nutrition business that serves to train the novice or seasoned triathlete or runner. You can reach her with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.