Running according to training plan: 10 reasons

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Fancy a new challenge? Maybe you already have a big running goal for 2019 in mind. You might want to master a certain distance. The finish of a certain run is important to you or you even want to reach a certain target time. Or you simply want to run regularly and – above all – in a structured way.

Whether you are a beginner or want to improve your personal best at running, we have training plans for all distances – from 5km to a marathon. Our training plan is now available in five languages. With our training philosophy, we have moved up to 100,000 runners in recent years and accompanied them on their way to achieving their goals.

“A GOAL WITHOUT A PLAN IS JUST A WISH.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

#run4goals – so tackle your goal. Are you already training according to a plan? Why does such a plan enrich your running training? With running training according to a specific training plan, you can improve your performance and become faster. But have you also considered that a training plan offers much more and can spice up your running training in various areas? We’ll show you the ten advantages of training according to plan.

Guidance in the confusion of advisors

The flood of tips and good advice in the running area is huge: Here a book, there an online article, there a Facebook contribution and not to forget the well-intentioned collegial advice. All this can be a bit too much, right? That’s why it makes sense to rely on a plan that gives you a red thread in your everyday training routine and is reliable.

Goal-oriented and individual training

A main goal cannot be reduced to a day X, but accompanies you in your preparation during weeks, months or even years. A training plan can be specifically tailored to a particular goal and accompanies you on your way to that goal. In order to end up at the starting line with the optimal conditions, the running units are specifically aligned to this goal as well as the individual conditions. Intermediate goals, for example in the form of test or preparation competitions, are small stages on the way to a big goal. At the beginning, a plan takes up the actual state – is individual – and then adapts to the changes over time. Accordingly, it is very dynamic.

Correct training areas and sequence

Often, you run in the same training area without a plan and, generally, too fast as well. Neither very slowly, nor very intensively, but at a medium speed and if possible still the same house round. Caught red-handed? The body gets used to this quite quickly and at some point no longer reacts to these training stimuli. Performance stagnates and progress stops. If you want to get ahead, you should train in different training areas (regenerative area, basic area, medium speed and intensive area), which use different energy systems. The distribution, the sequence and the dosage of the trainings play an important role. A good plan takes this into account.

Alternation

Such a running plan brings momentum and variety into your training. No week looks exactly the same as the other – there are more intensive and less intensive ones. In addition, there are also suggestions around the actual training: Warm-up exercises, tips for uphill and coordination runs as well as hill sprints, stability exercises and catering information. Individual units can also be practiced in alternative sports (cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, inline skating, aqua-fit, walking) at any time. Even for those, the plan specifies the appropriate duration.

Commitment and gentle pressure

Sometimes you just don’t feel like it and prefer to spend the evening on the couch – who hasn’t been there? But the plan accepts no excuses. Gentle pressure like that can’t hurt to get yourself ready for a workout. In retrospect, you’re usually happy about it. In addition, one also conducts trainings which one would otherwise perhaps do less gladly or never at all and postpone. From time to time, you have to leave the comfort zone if you want to get further.

Playing with the training data

Only for nerds? No, documenting your training and keeping statistics is also a kind of gimmick one likes to get involved with. With which running shoe did you cover how many kilometers? In which region did you train particularly often? How does the pulse rate behave during different training sessions? Do I reach a similar value at the anaerobic threshold (AT) in different competitions? How high is my VO2max? Where is my strength? How have I improved in the last six months? These and many other gadgets can be found in the training plan and in the statistics.

Motivation thanks to documentation

In the training plan, you continuously document the training data and thus have a direct and honest feedback, which is why is it more likely that you keep your focus. The data shows your own running history and the development over time. Small progresses and individual training successes are immediately visible, which motivates additionally. You can also see how much you have to work for achieving your goal. The goal guidance is realistic and therefore rather promising. Once you have low motivation, you can browse through the training documentation and see what you have trained and achieved so far.

Roll on the regeneration

Do you have trouble taking a break and tend to always want too much? The plan includes relaxation as well as the exercise load. Because regeneration is important in order to improve (super compensation) and not risk overtraining. From now on, it’s time to put your feet up and do nothing. After all, this is what the plan says.

Training plan and community as partners

Admittedly, running can also be a rather lonely affair. With the plan, however, you have an online “partner” with whom you are in exchange. Even better, one can also exchange oneself in the forum with like-minded people. And it’s just the truth: RUNNING CONNECTS. With the silver subscription, you have the opportunity to ask us two personal questions per month about your training.

Joy

Running is more than collecting kilometers. Running is versatile and consists of many different puzzle pieces. Running is a quality of life that can give you a lot of pleasure. With the right plan at your side, your goals will be achieved with joy.  Are you ready for all the running pleasure? We’ll be happy to assist you with it!

Until 31 October 2018, you can benefit from our silver promotion: The silver subscription is available at the price of the bronze subscription. This way to the SILVER PROMOTION.

VO2max – maximal oxygen uptake

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Do you know your own VO2max value? This value is an important parameter when classifying your endurance performance. In the running.COACH training plan, you can calculate your VO2max on the basis of previous finishing times. This will help you to track your performance over a longer period of time.

In this blog entry you will learn what VO2max stands for, how it can be calculated and what is needed to improve your personal VO2max rate.

What is VO2max?

The VO2max rate is the maximum rate of oxygen uptake measured in a human during incremental exercise. It’s about the oxygen taken up, transported to the cells and, ultimately, utilised. Further, it is specified in mL/min/kg and shows how many millilitres of oxygen your body can take up per minute per kg body weight at maximum exercise strain to metabolise it in the cells. Hence, the value shows the endurance performance of an athlete. Generally speaking: The higher the VO2max value, the better the athlete’s endurance performance.

The maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) is the measure for:

  • Oxygen supply
  • Oxygen transport
  • Oxygen metabolization

What lies behind this formula?

V is the volume, O2 is the chemical notation for oxygen and max stands for maximum. It becomes clear: We are calculating the maximal volume of oxygen. As it is about a measure mainly concerning volume and time, it could be expressed in litres (of oxygen) per minute. However, to couple it with physical activity, it’s necessary to include the variable of weight. It is for this reason that VO2max is normally expressed in millilitres of oxygen an athlete can metabolise per kilogram and minute.

How can I profit from knowing my VO2max value?

Knowing your VO2max value, it’s possible to rank your endurance performance and deduce your overall state of fitness. The table below shows an overview over fitness states according to the VO2max value. The value also depends on age and gender.

The value shows every athlete their limits and makes training planning easier. It can thus be used to plan future competitions in an optimal manner.

How to calculate your VO2max

The most precise method is to determine the value with a spiroergometric test (breath gas analysis). The test is incremental, which means that the resistance is raised gradually until maximal strain is reached. This can be done on the treadmill or on an ergo bike. With a mask over nose and mouth during the test, the consumption of oxygen is measured, which is how the maximum value is determined.

The more intense the activity, the more oxygen the body needs. Measuring the VO2max permits an athlete to know their limits.

There are also other methods that are indirect (and a bit less accurate) to get indicative results.

  • Cooper test: 12 minutes at maximal intensity and using the following formula to determine the VO2max value: (distance in meters-504.9):44.73*
  • Rockport test (or Mile test): A complicated formula that is often referred to on the internet, but it’s not very accurate.
  • Various GPS-enabled sport watches display a VO2max value for every workout. The watch manufacturers use algorithms from firstbeat.com require personal data (gender, age, weight, training experience) and effective data from your workouts (velocity in relation to heart rate). Often, these calculations are quite accurate. However, this method is less reliable in hilly terrain, challenging ground (e.g. trails) and in trainings with interruptions.
  • Competition results: With the running.COACH training plan and the statistical evaluations we can analyse your competition results.

Calculating your VO2max with running.COACH

There are a few parameters from your competition considered in the calculations of running.COACH. With a GPS file from your competition as a basis, the results will be even more precise. The following parameters are included in the calculations:

Distance, uphill, downhill, steepness, height above sea level (whether a competition takes place 200 meters above sea level or on sea level is a significant factor)

Of course, these calculations are still an approach to lab results. Still, a very accurate one, as has been shown. To date, inaccuracies exist when it comes to technical trails, ultramarathons and measurement errors of the watch (e.g. measurement inaccuracies).

By the way, the calculations and statistical evaluations are also part of the freemium version on running.COACH and freely available there. The data are used for the planning of individual trainings in the running.COACH training program.

And that’s how you can easily calculate your VO2max:

  1. Log in to your account on running.COACH (if you don’t have an account yet, register here for free).
  2. Enter various previous competition results of yours. This can also be done by exporting the stopped GPX file from the platform of your watch and manually importing it to running.COACH à change the type of training to competition and name your entry (e.g. Berlin Marathon).
  3. Go to Statistics and scroll down to the competitions. Next to the ANS (anaerobic threshold, green line), there is a column for the VO2max value (yellow line). Besides, these two values correlate. The graph also shows the development of your form over months and years.

More about VO2max

The VO2max value is a useful measure for the aerobic energy metabolism. Even though the value does not account for a good endurance performance, it lies at the base of it. Crucial factors are also the technique, the discipline and the mental component.

VO2 in everyday life

The table below shows which activities in everyday life or which workouts need how much oxygen. The more intensive the activity, the higher the VO2max value. In order to achieve a certain pace when running over a longer period of time, a certain VO2 value is required.

VO2max and running

In order to run a marathon at world record pace, a VO2max of around 84 mL/kg/min is required. Which marathon finish time would you be able to achieve based on your personal VO2max value?

Further, it is possible to observe your VO2max value over a longer period of time. Thus, you can analyse your own performance curve and see if the training suits your goals. On the basis of the VO2max value you can make a prediction for your next competition for a particular distance. In the following table, though, altitude profiles are excluded.

If you are interested in a prognosis for a particular run taking into account altitude, gradient and meters above sea level, please consult our running calculator. If the competition you are interested in is not in our database yet, don’t hesitate to let us know (support@runningcoach.me).

Higher VO2max value = faster?

A higher VO2max value does not in itself mean that your performance is better than the performance of a person with a lower VO2max value. Significant factors in this equation are also the technique, the type of sport and the mental constitution.

Also competitive athletes, the VO2max value is an important parameter. In the following, we present you an overview (information supplied without liability, based on internet research) over the highest VO2max values among competitive athletes. Cross-country skiers generally tend to have higher VO2max values as they use their whole body for this type of sport.

How can I improve my VO2max value?

The less trained a body is, the easier it is to improve its VO2max value. For very well trained runners, it gets harder to make big steps of improvement in this domain. At some point, genetic and physiological factors inhibit pushing the limits further and further.

To make progress nonetheless, we recommend you run in a structured and differentiated way. A good mixture incorporated in your training will bring progress and challenge your body on various levels. Longer and shorter units, rapid long jogs and intensive workouts should alternate.

For the increase of the VO2max value, there are a few typical intensive trainings. For example, you can do hill sprints (5x4min) or intermittent workouts of 15 seconds fast, 15 seconds easy over 10 minutes.

Our running.COACH training plan provides you with structured everyday trainings and shows the optimal intensity for you. Check your individual and dynamic plan for free here!

Blog entry written by: Stefanie Meyer and Gabriel Lombriser

Source:

https://www.topendsports.com/testing/records/vo2max.htm

 https://assets.firstbeat.com/firstbeat/uploads/2017/06/white_paper_VO2max_30.6.2017.pdf

*https://www.brianmac.co.uk/gentest.htm

The training weeks right after the marathon / main race

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The last weeks and months have been intense. The preparation for the competition took a lot of energy and time. Now the strains of the preparation are over as well as the sweat of your main competition has dried up. Your focus for the next days and weeks should now be on recovery which is just as important as the training itself. This blog post will guide you through an optimal recovery process and give you tips on how to motivate yourself anew.

Running competitions are a heavy burden on the body. Especially when it comes to longer distances such as an ultra-run, a marathon or a half marathon. During the competition you take up a debt on your own body, which you should pay back in the following days and weeks through various recovery measures. Otherwise, you run the risk of making a good return to training impossible.

What to do now?

Immediate actions on competition day:

recovery after marathon

  • Put on dry clothes as soon as possible to prevent your body from cooling down too quickly.
  • Try to restore your body’s fluid and energy balance as quickly as possible. Avoid alcohol, however, at least for the first few hours.
  • Don’t expose yourself to the sun unnecessarily.
  • Cooldown: Ideally, you should do a short cooldown to “cool down” your body slowly: a loose jogging or an alternative form of training such as cycling. Especially after a long competition, this might not always be your favourite activity. Still, concentrate at least on the points above.
  • An alternating hot/cold shower can also boost your blood circulation and promote recovery.
  • At many competitions, there is the possibility for a massage in the finish area. A feel-good massage, possibly with lymph drainage, stimulates recovery as well.
  • Later in the day, a little stretching can be beneficial.
  • Avoid intensive wellness and sauna directly after the competition.

Medium-term actions – the days after the competition:

after marathon recovery

  • Do not do any training in the first day after your main competition.
    Instead, work with regenerative measures.
  • A longer massage with a masseur or physiotherapist can be a good way to boost your recovery and relaxation.
  • Further, water in all its forms is a blessing and especially promotes recovery:
    • Sauna visits are beneficial indeed. They stimulate blood circulation
      and generally help to promote recovery.
    • A spa visit with a bubble bath pool or salt water is always fun.
    • Swimming or bathing in a lake (or even better in the sea) is a great away to boost relaxation.
  • Often, the most painful time is on the second day after the competition due to sore muscles. Rest assured, this is quite normal.
  • In addition to the points mentioned above, mental recovery is also important. Just do what you feel like doing without having to think about your next workout too much: How about dinner with friends soon?

Long-term actions:

  • Even now, a few days into the recovery process, it’s good to keep your blood circulation going (of course at a moderate level). If you feel fit again after a few days of recovery, you can initiate more active regeneration measures. This includes extensive movement in the water, loose spinning, walks, hikes (mainly uphill), etc.
  • However, see that you do not plan these trainings in advance. Instead, decide spontaneously whether you feel like it and have the energy to do it. It is extremely important to listen to your body during this phase. Note that planned trainings are more difficult to adjust than spontaneous decisions made on your desire and energy to move in a particular moment.
  • How about trying out something new? Yoga – for example – promotes flexibility and helps to eliminate imbalances, thus preventing injuries.
  • During the recovery phases, running.COACH will not plan any trainings for you for a certain period of time, exactly for the reason mentioned above. In principle, it is not forbidden to move. However, you should definitely listen to your body and take a break in case of tiredness or slight pain rather than taking any unnecessary risks.

My competition didn’t go the way I imagined it would. What can I change in the future?

  • We recommend bringing variation into your training routine by altering the number of workouts. This can be permanent or by consciously planning one week with one unit more and another week with one unit less. Example: 5 instead of 4 and then 3 instead of 4 units. You can drag and drop the units to other weeks in the calendar view, for example, or add units manually.
  • Make sure you can meet the guidelines of running.COACH. It is particularly important that you are able to perform the long jogs and the intensive runs (intervals, threshold runs) as often as possible every week. In case of a diary clash, it makes sense to postpone these key sessions to another day and to skip an endurance run or regeneration run instead.
  • Make sure to get enough rest during the training phase as well.
  • Consciously incorporate regenerative activities.
  • Set yourself new goals – These would ideally include goals you can tackle together with your friends!