Achieving the 3 Hour Marathon Dream

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Running a marathon below 3 hours – a dream that came true for our running.COACH User Chris Howard. Together with our Gold Coach Gabriel he improved his form to be a more efficient runner and less prone to injury. Very sucessful, as you can read here in his personal report about his journey to the Valencia Marathon.

I started running 5 years ago once I hit 40 years old – either this was due to a mid-life crisis or to just generally get fit and remove the storage space around the tummy. My first marathon in Lucerne of just over 4 hours was hard but the feeling at the end got me hooked for more.

Running Dream and injuries

Over the next few years I got better by adding the miles and then signed up with running.COACH silver subscription and was able to bring my time down over the next 2 years to 3.14 in Berlin and then 3.09 in London. I was following the plan, obtaining excellent advice and was really happy with my progress. However, I then wanted to achieve the next level and achieve under 3 hours. This became the running dream.

Training with a Coach: less kilometres

Unfortunately, I had a few injuries which kept on pushing me back and then I did Chicago and got a 3.32. Why was I getting further away from 3 hours and not closer? A friend recommended me to have a personal coach and use the running.COACH Gold subscription. I signed up in June 2018 for a 6 month subscription and Gabriel Lombriser would be my coach for the next 6 months. I was advised at the beginning about a running day being conducted in Nottwil and I learned more in that day about running style, efficiency, mobilisation, specific training etc. than I had done by looking at over 100 Youtube videos.

At the beginning of the subscription I had a detailed discussion with Gabriel about injuries, aims, personal lifestyle, nutrition etc. Gabriel then created a plan for me. Gone were the 6 days of training over 100km per week and I was shocked to see only 60km per week and 5 trainings. Gabriel fully understood my injury history and accommodated my plan to this to ensure I had continuous training and not to be constantly interrupted by injuries. Throughout the next 6 months I could have an easily accessible view of my plan on my phone and receive detailed tips per run.

Journey as a Team

The training got easier and then more intensive as time went by. Constant communication with Gabriel ensured I was on this journey as a team and not by myself (every question asked was answered quickly with excellent advice). I was advised which test runs to do and these were built into the plan. Constant feedback after the test runs was given by Gabriel as to how I could improve in the next run and by putting this advice to practice, I noticed constant improvement. However, it was the constant change to the norm in runs which I was advised to do which helped me significantly.

Valencia Marathon

Valencia marathon then arrived and I felt good. A detailed discussion took place between Gabriel and myself a week before about tapering, nutrition and marathon pacing strategy. I felt confident. Then the day before the marathon, Gabriel called again to provide me with some key tips and encouragement.

The marathon went like a dream. The splits were the same for every 5km and when I felt tired at after 30 kilometres I kept on repeating the advice Gabriel had given me and I found some new energy. When I hit 40km I knew I could do this if I hanged in there and suddenly I was able to run the last 2km in 3.51min/km – this was due to the change to the norm training Gabriel had advised me to do.

The feeling of running up to the finishing line and seeing the clock being under 3 hours was highly emotional. All the training had been worth it and the dream was fulfilled when I crossed the line in 2.59.

I have learned that you don’t need to do 120km+ per week training to achieve under 3 hours. Instead, you need a brilliant coach who understands injuries, plans, lifestyle etc. and is fully with you on the journey to achieve a running dream. This was teamwork. I thank Gabriel and running.COACH so much for making this happen and being a core part of this amazing journey.

The online coaching platform at running.COACH is great for individualized training programs. It allows you to find your own time to run and you know the workout was made just for you based on your training progress and goals.  With the silver subscription you can ask our coaches two questions by email per month. If you want to have a personal coach on your side the whole time, then benefit from our Gold Coaches and their long-time experience in running and coaching. Sign up and test running.COACH for free. 

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

Creative gifts for runners

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What makes runners especially happy on Christmas? Simple as that: Running equipment such as running clothes, running shoes or a running watch – the classics! We have put together a list of slightly more creative ideas for presents for running fanatics. Runners’ eyes will be shining on Christmas Eve!

RUNNING MEMORIES

Finisher shirts, medals, finisher photos and many other running souvenirs are a runner’s trophies and they are collected during the whole year. Finisher shirts are proudly worn the first training after the competition. Medals often end up in the corner where they act as dust collectors, while photos are stored digitally or maybe get shared on social media.

So why not let THE ONE especially nice running memory revive? For example in a pretty box, where a finisher medal can be nicely presented? A picture frame containing an action photo or maybe even a miniature photo album from the highlight of the year?

RUNNING INSPIRATION

Open your eyes and let yourself get inspired. Indeed, there are plenty of sources for inspiration out there (blogs, Facebook, Instagram). Sometimes, however, one might end up drowning in the stream of information and it can be a real challenge to distinguish the important from the unimportant.

Often, THE ONE, right reading is enough: A good quality magazine or a good book bring running inspiration for the new running year.

RUNNING TIME

By running time, we don’t mean the 35 minutes on 10k, but the time spent on running together. Why not give someone a voucher for running a competition or for conducting a training together?

It might sound banal, but if you are a little creative and pick a special place for the training or the competition and if you connect it with some trip (mountains, city trip), the present gets quite charming. Runners also get happy if their company acts as a supporter at the next running goal. All inclusive, of course: carrying baggage, dealing with pre-start nervousness, taking the tsunami of emotions, standing in line for toilets, wating (.. and waiting, and waiting), sharing moments of joy, massaging stinking feet – you may add to the list as you please.

MOTIVATION

Who doesn’t know it, one’s weaker self, happily coming by for a visit, especially during winter. Special motivation helps to get rid of this uninvited visitor.

Give away motivation in the form of new challenges, bringing variation into training: runing tools (miniband, foam roll), a running course, a trainining consultation or a video analysis. Another good motivator are personal messages like #AnnagoesMarathon, #RunDaddyRun, or whatever, which can be printed on drinking bottles, shirts or socks.

ENERGY

All the sweat-inducing training hours require energy, which, of course, need to be given back to the body in some way. We as runners always need something to eat after training. And who can resist the many treats, especially around Christmas?! However, you might want go for something more specific to running, like a gel, a bar or multivitamines.

Homemade food such as, for example, bars, müesli mixtures or energy balls, nicely wrapped up, make a good impression underneath the Christmas tree. Many enthusiastic runners also like to put on a cooking apron and thus, would probably also be very pleased by a nice cooking book or even a cooking course, don’t you think?

RECOVERY

A long running year is about to end, recovery is more than deserved and the body screams for wellness, massage and good food. The whole package can easily be booked as a nice arrangement in the form of a day trip or an overnight stay.

This works perfectly too, of course. And it might be even more appreciated if you give the massage yourself (think it through thoroughly beforehand though!) and cook a nice dinner at home. In order to spice it all up a little in terms of running, you might want to put the voucher into a pair of running socks – new ones, of course!

And if you want to go for the save option, just give a voucher for the running.COACH online training plan.

And in case you have other great ideas, please, feel free to leave a comment – we’re curious!

Ultramarathon with running.COACH

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Ultramarathons are running competitions longer than a regular marathon distance. Previously, it was not possible for running.COACH users to define goals for distances longer than 42,2km. We have now removed this limit, so that you can also define target competitions exceeding the marathon distance.

Running.COACH is best designed for distances between 5km and the marathon. For ultradistances, the marathon plan will be used as a training guideline. The following guide provides you with a basis on which to build your training for the even longer distances.

Goal ultramarathon – This is what you should consider

Important to start with: An ultramarathon is a nice and exciting goal. However, it should be thoroughly planned and thought through. It makes little sense to define an ultramarathon as your goal, if you have never even run a marathon. Our running.COACH training plan and this guide provide you with a good training structure. Try to integrate it into your training.

It is important to remember that the preconditions are very individual. This guide should accompany you on your way to your goals. However, you should always listen to your own body! Each runner reacts differently to the large amount of training which the preparation for ultradistances involves. This is also the reason why we don’t offer predefined training schedules, but let our users adjust the plan themselves.

Adaptation of the systems

While the running times at a marathon lie between 2 and 6 hours, they can easily add up to 10 to 30 hours or more for ultramarathons. Thus, finishing an ultramarathon requires different preconditions than a marathon. Your body must be able to endure extremely long-lasting stress. The overall stress is clearly higher in ultramarathon, even if the acute stress might be lower, as a result of the lower running pace. One important factor are our energy systems. On the one hand, our body needs to learn to better access its own energy systems and, on the other hand, our external energy supply needs to be optimised.

If you set an ultramarathon as your goal, you necessarily have to increase your training amount. This means more stress for your body, which in turn implies risks of over-training or injuries. Therefore, a gradual build-up of your training is extremely important. Your body has to be carefully prepared and guided towards the new training amount. While muscles and the cardiovascular system adapt to increased stress relatively quickly, the passive system comprising ligaments, bones, cartilage and tendons needs a lot more time. This needs to be taken into account in your training, too.

Questions around ultratraining

In running.COACH, training is structured and built-up intelligently, varying greatly in length and duration of sessions. The training load or intensity is gradually built up towards the predefined goal. This variation in training length and duration and the gradual building up of the training load is of great importance with regard to ultramarathon.

How often should I train for an ultramarathon?

Running.COACH gives you the possibility of choosing your training days yourself. The plan adapts to your individual weekly schedules and it then distributes the training sessions to your assigned time slots. If this is your first time training for an ultramarathon, we recommend that you don’t change the number of training sessions. For ultramarathons, indifferent from your individual level, we suggest that you plan at least 4 endurance sessions per week. As we will see later, these can also be alternative training sessions. If you are used to conducting more than four endurance sessions a week, keep that up.

Do I have to include high-intensity training for ultra distances?

This question keeps turning up in the context of ultrarunning training. What’s the use of an interval session of, for example, 5x4min with 2min breaks? Do I really need high-intensity training in order to be able to run faster on ultradistances? The answer is: yes, absolutely!

Training in the area of the anaerobic threshold and above is a real challenge for your body and it tunes your body for unusual stress. The primary goal of these kinds of training is to improve our aerobic capacity. The higher the aerobic capacity, the more oxygen can be taken up and the faster and the longer we are able to run. In science, maximum oxygen uptake capacity is referred to as VO2max. Male top endurance athletes have a maximum oxygen uptake capacity of 70-80ml/min/kg, exceptional athletes like Kilian Jornet (90ml/min/kg) or Chris Froome (88.2ml/min/kg) even a little bit more.

A simple way to understand the advantages of a high VO2max value is the comparison with cars. A Ferrari with a maximum speed of over 300km/h would cruise along quite smoothly at a speed of 150km/h, the gas only carefully pushed down. A car with a maximum speed of 170km/h, however, would be rather close to its limit at 150km/h and it would probably start to sound quite a bit.

Thus, the goal is to increase your maximum oxygen uptake capacity by the help of specific interval training. This should enable you to run a certain pace on less oxygen, eventually improving your speed capacities. The individual maximum oxygen uptake capacity is partly genetically conditioned, but can be improved by 10-30% through regular training. The maximum oxygen uptake capacity drops when you get older. By the help of high-intensity trainings as mentioned above, however, this process can be slowed down.

How long do I have to train for an ultramarathon?

It is almost inevitable to train a high number of kilometres in order for your body to adapt to running long distances and to saving energy. In addition to the number of kilometres, depending on which competition you aim for, metres of climb are decisive as well – uphill and downhill!

A rule for ultramarathon training is: no ultradistances in training! In order to complete the most popular ultramarathon in the world, the Comrades Marathon in South Africa (89km), for example, you don’t have to have run 70km in one go beforehand. You can use the 50% rule as a general rule. That is, for the example above, 45km in relevant terrain are enough for your longest training!

Periodisation

The running.COACH training plan orients to the competitions which you have assigned the highest priority. Training is then structured into different cycles, medium and long-term. The training load is gradually increased and varies from week to week. This periodisation should also be considered for ultratraining, in order for stress and recovery to be balanced.

Adaption running.COACH training plan

As you have learnt, a lot of points have to be considered when planning your training. Running.COACH provides you with a perfectly balanced training routine for distances up to marathon. A normal training week for ultramarathon differs from that of a regular marathon in a few points. Here are our tips for optimal training:

High-intensity sessions

Conduct your intervals and medium pace trainings according to plan. You might want to extend your cool-down by about 20 minutes though.

Long run

Depending on target distance, you can extend the long run by 25% (competitions up to 60km) to maximum 60% (competitions up to 100km). Try to train in relevant terrain for the target competition and train according to time rather than distance. The pace for the adjusted long run should be 15-30s slower than recommended by running.COACH (in flat courses).

Plan another training on the day before or after the long run. Extend the duration of this session by about 50%. This extension of two trainings in a row can improve stress resistance. At the same time, the relatively short recovery time between the sessions serves as a proxy for the stress that awaits you at the competition.

Steady run 1, steady run 2 and recovery

The remaining running sessions (steady run 1, steady run 2 and recovery) can be conducted exactly according to the recommendations provided by running.COACH. Try to stick to the recommendations as closely as possible.

Additional tips

Relevant terrain

Try to conduct a major part of your training in terrain which is relevant for the competition you aim for. If you train for an ultramarathon with a lot of climb, include as much climb in your training as possible. Hill drills are also an ideal preparation.

Negative climb

If your target competition includes a lot of negative climb, you should absolutely consider this in your training. Normally, it is not the positive climb that causes muscular problems after a competition, but the negative climb, or the kilometres in the flat. So, run downhill, too!

Alternative training

Sports like cycling, cross-country skiing and ski-touring are ideal additional trainings, providing new stimuli. The training amount can be increased by including those alternative sports, without increasing the risk of injury.

Alternative training methods require different muscle groups, which renders your training more varied and gentler. The main advantage, however, lies in the training of the cardiovascular system and the positive effect on your fat metabolism.

Alternative training durations should be approximately 150% of those of a running session.

Tip: Mix alternative trainings with running training. For example, prolong your long run (conducted according to the recommendation given by running.COACH) with an additional alternative sport. Advantages:

  • The stress duration is long à ideal for both your cardiovascular and your energy system
  • Stress on passive structures is minimal à reduced risk of injury

Strength training

Regular stabilisation and strength training are especially important for the long-lasting stress of an ultramarathon. Even the best motor is of no use if the chassis doesn’t bear the stress.

Feel your body!

Training can and should be challenging. However, it is important that you listen to your body and that you take signs of tiredness, injuries and overloads seriously.

Nutrition

Eat healthy and balanced (runningfood). Tip: for long trainings or competition, a good fat metabolism is utterly important. In order to train this efficiently, it can be rewarding to conduct trainings on empty stomach at times. Be careful to extend durations of trainings executed on empty stomach step by step. This gives your body time to optimally adapt to the changes.

Recovery

Training includes recovery! Try to get enough sleep and take other measures to support recovery, such as stretching, Yoga or massage.

Fun

The most important thing: Have fun with what you do! Training with others can heighten the fun factor. Meet up with friends for training and take them with you for long trainings!

We wish you a lot of fun on your way to your personal goals! We hope that running.COACH and this guide provide you with some useful training advice.

If you are still a bit unsure about how much or what to train, register for running.COACH. Maybe, even individual coaching in the form of a running.COACH Gold subscription could be a suitable option.

Entry written by: Gabriel Lombriser, running.COACH product manager and running coach

New running.COACH ambassador: Frank Shorter

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We introduced him, Frank Shorter, back in our series: running legends. The running legend can look back on extraordinary achievements, which were the result of a special training philosophy. His knowledge is now also finding its way into running.COACH: Frank Shorter, the Olympic champion in marathon 1972 in Munich, is our new ambassador – we are proud and happy.

Olympic champion 1972 in Munich

Frank Shorter was the dominating marathon runner of the 1970ies. In 1972, he won the marathon at the Olympic Games in Munich. And how: already during the first half of the race he ran away from the field. In the finish, his lead amounted to more than two minutes. Four years later, at the Olympic Games in Montréal, we won the silver medal. Between 1971 and 1974, Shorter even succeded in winning the at that time very prestigeous Fukuoka marathon in Japan four times in a row.

Running boom through shorter’s achievements

With his Olympic victory, Shorter achieved not only a win in sports, but he also ran into the consciousness of American public (the Olympic marathon was broadcasted live on US TV), thereby making the running sport popular for the general public. His achievements, especially the triumph at the Olympic Games in Munich, contributed considerably to the beginning of a running boom in the US.

Frank Shorter shortly before his greatest achievement: winning the olympic marathon 1972 in Munich.

Shorters career is characterised by three expecially interesting aspects

Firstly: It was incredibly successful. Out of the 15 marathons he ran, he won ten. A fourth place, aside from one dropout, was is worst result. Shorter achieved these results between 1971 and 1976. That is, he was at the very top in marathon for six years. He managed to stay at the top for such a long time, because he was good at peaking his shape for the important competitions. He finds it practically impossible to be in the best shape possible two times in one season, he says. Therefore, he only ran a few main competitions per year and he used to try and be in his best possible shape at the Fukuoka marathon and at the Olympic Games.

Secondly: Shorter was no top athlete during school days. It was not until the end of his university career that he started to train seriously ant to achieve good results.

Thirdly: Shorter first trained for track running. He was also very competitive in 5000m (PB: 13’26’’) and 10’000m (PB: 27’45’’). This is something he has in common with Paavo Nurmi, Emil Zatopek, or even Derek Clayton.

What do we learn from Frank Shorter?

Out of these three aspects, every amateur runner can learn a lot. Firstly, it is worth focussing on a few main competitions a year. This expecially applies for longer distances; training and preparatory competitions are of course always possible. Secondly, it is not necessary to be a top athlete already in younger years. For longer distances, structured training can give great result even at a later stage. Thirdly, fast legs in shorter distances lead to better performances over longer distances. This explains the importance of rapidity and interval training.

Good to know that the knowledge of a running legend like Frank Shorter is inherent in the running.COACH training plan.

“The training philosophy that made it possible to become olympic champion is at the heart of running.COACH. As we developed plans for everybody, running.COACH suits every level: From the beginner to the absolute competitive athlete.”

running.COACH: Dynamic Updates

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Our online training plan is now even more individual and dynamic: Here, we present you the most recent updates in running.COACH at one glance.

Rehab plan

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The running.COACH training plan is now even more individual. If you are unable to conduct a session due to injury or illness and you have to cancel it, running.COACH now registers that. You are then presented a rehab plan, which considers the break from training. By the way, the plan also registers lows in motivation and mental/physical state. It is a necessary precondition, however, that you log your trainings correctly. Nevertheless, running.COACH does not change anything without your confirmation.

Automatic heart rate adjustments

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The running.COACH analyses your trainings as well as your heart rate zones in training. Does your heart rate not coincide with the values you entered in the settings at the very beginning, the program suggests an adjusted heart rate setting. However, nothing will be changed without your approval.

Dynamic adjustment intervals and middle pace

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In order to plan your training, the running.COACH considers your performances in your trainings. It analyses your trainig data from the key sessions (intervals and middle pace sessions). If you constantly run a bit faster than recommended over a longer period of time or if you always run a bit slower than the suggested pace, the program proposes the according adjustments. This ensures that you always train at the optimal pace for you. However, no changes will be made without your approval.

Are you not yet using the running.COACH? Try it out and register! If you enter the code RCFREE16 when entering, you can test running.COACH for free for 30 days.