Goal events, Marathon, Half-Marathons and Ultras of all terrains give us focus and motivation. We create specific run training programs for the event and put in the miles in a specific and thoughtful manner. Tempo workouts, cadence, uphill, downhill, speed work, steady pace, recovery pace, condition specifics …, all of these themes get put into the run training for optimal event preparation.
Rarely does the same focus and preparation carry over into how we prepare our bodies for, and recover from, the training miles. However, non-running (Supplemental Strength and Skills) part of a training plan can be critical for maximizing the benefit of the training. The goal of the base weeks should prepare you for the upcoming heavier run volume. Once you are solidly in the training schedule, it is a good time to relax the supplemental workout intensity, and focus on refining certain skills or elements of running form. As the run volume reaches maximal intensity, the supplemental work focus shifts to helping the body continue and recover from the running without breaking. Following this strategy, the intensity / volume of the supplemental work can have a balancing effect on the run volume.
It’s hard to do it all. But a little bit can go a long way. The most common event specific training shortcomings are: primarily, doing nothing; secondarily, doing the same thing without respect to training plan goals; and lastly, doing too much in a way that compromises recovery and training benefit.
This targeted non-run time training is Supplemental and Skills Training. The goal is to use it to maximize run performance. It has a different focus and purpose than Cross or Alternate training. Cross Training is valuable, but cross training has the focus on doing activities and patterns that are movement and functionally different from running. The goal of cross training is the give the body a break from the repetitive patterns of running. Tennis, basketball, paddling would be cross training activities. Swimming, cycling, elliptical are Alternate Training activities. They are not cross training, since they fundamentally subject the body to the same stress patterns as running. They can be great alternatives to run mileage, but the activity goal is for the similar result as a running workout. The exercises and activities in the ideal Supplemental and Skills workouts should have very specific goals that complement each progression in the run training plan.
Sample 16 week training plan Supplemental Running Strength and Skills workout schedule
|Week||Supplemental Workout||Workout Focus||Sample Exercise / Movement|
|16-15||Basic Run Strength and Mobility 1||Activating and Balancing Primary Running Muscle Groups||Step Up with Back Leg Hover|
|14-13||Basic Run Strength and Mobility 2||Finding the “Running Core”||Plank with Hand Taps|
|12-11||Single Leg Stability and Rotational Control 1||Bringing Control onto a Single Leg||Single Leg Squat Cone Touch|
|10-9||Single Leg Stability and Rotational Control 2||Hip/Shoulder Rotation/Counter-rotation for Upright Balance||Heisman Lunge|
|8-7||Landing Dynamics 1||Solving Overstriding||Empty Step Walking with Weight Overhead|
|6-5||Landing Dynamics 2||Finding Soft and Light Feet||Foot Taps on Step|
|4||Recovery and Form Refinement 2||Restore Quickness to Tired Legs||Butt Kicks with Knee Moving Back|
|3-2||Recovery and Form Refinement 1||Relaxing and Finding Flow||Hopping Hip Circles|
|1||Race Prep||Priming the Mind and Body for Performance||Intro to Runner’s Savasana|
Sample Exercise Videos below:
Step Up with Back Leg Hover
Plank with Hand Taps
Single Leg Squat Cone Touch
Empty Step Walking with Weight Overhead
Foot Taps on Step
Butt Kicks with Knee Moving Back
Hopping Hip Circles
Intro to Runner’s Savanna