This is originally from an article in USA Triathlon magazine by Bobby McGee.
I agree with it, but only after basic run fitness has been accomplished.
Tips for Quality Run Training
- Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices for IRONMAN training.
- Distinguish what your greatest limiter is. Is it physiological, i.e. engine capacity, specific fitness, ability to tolerate heat, ability to process calories? Or is it a mechanical ability to sustain pace? Work specifically on these limiters.
- Your greatest fitness gains will come from accumulating as much threshold and subthreshold (tempo) work as possible, but see the previous two bullets again to guide you. Remember, easy running should still form the bulk of your work.
- Do anything faster, like VO2 max work, if your event needs it (like a sprint race), either on an incline, i.e. hill repeats, or on the bike such as all-out 30 second efforts.
- Try to simulate race conditions on a regular basis to see how your run holds up under those conditions, loads and speeds. Being very fit and being able to hold a specific pace on a flat course under cool conditions does not add up on race day if you have hills, heat and a tough windy bike to contend with.
- If you don’t lose a lot of speed off the bike relative to your open run ability, don’t overdo the brick work; it’s risky training of little physiological value. Evaluate your workouts in terms of what run training you need versus running that you feel you have to do to be confident on race day. These are often not the same thing.
- Determine whether you hold your form during the course of your run in a race. You can ascertain this with early and late video during longer quality sessions. Address what shows up. It will always be related to fitness and fatigue, but the fixes may come from either more specific training or some supplemental work in the gym.