Speed Workouts From Elite Coaches

Credit: Triathlon.org | Janos Schmidt

In a previous column I gave you run workouts from some of the world's fastest athletes and their coaches. You can find their workouts here:

More: Run Workouts from the World's Fastest Triathletes

Since that column, more fast athletes and wise coaches have sent me their favorite workouts. So here I give you part II: More run workouts from elite athletes.

Lisa Norden (Sweden), Sara Groff (USA), Vicky Holland (United Kingdom), Kate Roberts (Republic of South Africa), Anne Haug (Germany), and Andy Giglmyar (Austria)

Sending six athletes to the Olympic Games is obviously an accomplishment. Coach Darren Smith (@coachdaz on Twitter) has a reputation for producing results. Here's what he had to say about running fast after a tough bike ride: 

Brick Workout #1

My take is to do bike-run training combinations which don't have to be of an exhausting nature but which have quite a high strength component. This gives athletes a sense of "dead and heavy legs" when they run.

This would be something like a bike ride of about two hours with the last 20 to 30 minutes containing work of a medium to tough effort. For Lisa and the other female ITU racers this means averaging around 230 to 260 watts.

The catch is there are changes every four minutes to harder and harder gear ratios, intended to deaden the legs. Their legs should be screaming but not necessarily their heart and lungs.

After this ride, the athletes will run just 15 minutes with 2 to 3 x 2-minute efforts (1 minute rest) just below race pace (in the 3:30-3:40 minutes per kilometer pace for the women).

This helps give them a sense of what they might deal with in races and where they might focus their attention, whether it be on run mechanics or other aspects, in order to find a way to "make it easier to move."

More: Brick Workouts to Help You Finish Fast

Brick Workout #2

Another workout we might do is the traditional tough bike interval session with 10 to 15 minutes of variable power outputs or team time trials. For this workout wattage averages around 230 for the women and includes surges up to between 650 and 700 watts, and down to zero from all different gears and from different rolling speeds. This is often done on quite technical courses.

Immediately after this ride, there is a fairly solid run with up to 2 to 3 kilometer efforts at race pace. Race pace is 3:20 to 3:25 min/km for some of my females that are right up near the best in the world.

More: A Brick for Every Distance

Emphasis On Pacing

An aspect we really emphasize is the ability to run with control and good pacing straight off the bike. Nearly everyone runs out of transition on a high of emotion, and inevitably they run much
faster than they might for the rest of the run.

Good pacing control in the early stages often hurts much less during the later stages and is generally considerably faster. It is very tricky to get this right.

To practice this control, do a one-hour bike warm up including 10 x 1-minute efforts with 1-minute recoveries in the last 20 minutes. Immediately off the ride, we do specific pace work of 3:20 to 3:25 min/km, or whatever is considered the athlete's average pace for the given race distance.

Getting the first kilometer wrong by just five to eight eight seconds (i.e. running a 3:12 to 3:15 pace instead of a 3:20 pace) doesn't sound like much, but trust me, it will hurt you later on in the race!

More: Pace Strategies for Race Day

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