Strength/Economy First Periodization for Distance Runners

 

By Rick Morris

 

There are many, many forms of periodization for runners. The various types of periodization schemes are limited only by your imagination and your understanding of the physiology of running. The vast majority of periodization schemes out there follow a similar formula of beginning with endurance base training and advancing from lower to higher intensity workouts. That kind of training makes sense because the goal of periodization is to reach your peak potential for a specific race or race season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, there is another type of periodization plan for runners that I think might be a more efficient way to go. That periodization scheme is strength and economy first.

In a strength/economy first periodization scheme you begin by focusing on developing both your running strength, running economy and technique before you start concentrating on long distance endurance training. The advantage to this strength/economy first plan is that your muscles and joint will become stronger and more injury resistant so when you start to focus on longer training runs you are less apt to suffer from overuse injuries. Your stronger, more powerful muscles will also allow you to train at a higher level during the subsequent long runs, stamina workouts, lactate threshold training and longer high intensity interval training. The running economy you gain from technique drills and strength training will help you run easier and more injury free.

 

The length of your training cycle will vary depending upon the type of cycle and how often you wish to reach a training peak. Below is an example of a possible training sequence in a basic strength/economy first periodization scheme using a 12 week macro cycle.

 

Strength/Technique Phase - 3 Weeks

 

Form drills 6 to 7 times per week

Basic strength training 4 to 5 times per week

Speed/VO2 max workouts 2 times per week. Moderate intensity/short duration Lactate threshold/tempo workouts one time per week. Fast pace/short duration Endurance run one time per week. Moderate duration

 

Speed/Form Phase - 3 Weeks

 

Form drills 5 to 6 times per week.

Hill running one time per week. High intensity pace, short distance

Basic strength 1 time per week.

Running strength 3 times per week

Speed/VO2 max workouts 2 times per week. High intensity/moderate duration

Lactate threshold/tempo workouts one time per week. Fast pace/moderate duration One moderate length endurance run and one longer endurance run per week

 

Stamina Phase - 3 Weeks

 

Form drills 4 to 5 times per week.

Hill running one time per week. Moderate intensity pace, moderate distance

Running strength 3 times per week

Plyometrics 2 times per week

Speed/VO2 max workouts one time per week. Moderate intensity/long duration Lactate threshold/tempo workouts one time per week. Moderate pace/moderate duration

One moderate length endurance workout and continue to increase the distance of one longer endurance run per week

 

Endurance Phase - 3 Weeks

 

Form drills 3 times per week.

Hill running one time per week. Moderate intensity pace, longer distance

Running strength 3 times per week.

Speed/VO2 max workouts one time per week.

Very high intensity, very short duration

Lactate threshold/tempo workouts one time per week. Moderate pace/long duration

Two moderate length endurance workouts and continue to increase the distance of one longer endurance run per week

 

 

 

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