WHY AND HOW DOES THE MOMMY MARATHON TRAINING PROGRAM IMPROVE MUSCULAR FITNESS FOR DISTANCE RUNNERS?
As your remember for last week’s post, Jack Daniels (PHD and running coach) teaches that there are 6 primary components necessary for becoming a great distance runner; namely:
- Cardiovascular System
- Muscular System
- Lactate threshold
- Aerobic capacity (VO2 max)
- Economy of running
This week we will focus on the importance of the muscular system. There are three fitness components that determine your muscular fitness:
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
Muscular strength is your muscles’ ability to exert force against a resistance. The stronger you are, the greater amount of force that can be generated by a muscle.
Muscular endurance is your muscles’ ability to continue performing without fatigue. The stronger you are, the more repetitions you are able to complete.
Flexibility is the ability to move your body through a full range of motion. Flexibility is important to help you maintain your capacity to do things and prevent injuries.
Our muscular strength acts as our “engine” to power us through our runs. Muscular endurance ensures that we are able to continue to take repetitive strides over and over and over and over again! The role of flexibility for distance running is to make sure that our stride can travel the full range of motion.
The mommy marathon program incorporates each area of muscular fitness in the following ways:
- Muscular strength- hill training (uphill and downhill), trail runs, and cross-training. We encourage you to add both upper body and lower body strength training to your cross-training regiment if you are not already doing so. Using body weight resistance training is a simple and effective way. If you are using weights we would recommend 8-10 exercises (aim for a variety of exercises in each large muscle group ie- arms, legs, back, butt, thighs, calves, etc). Then using a lighter weight, but doing more repetitions (about 12 reps is optimal).
- Muscular endurance- trail runs and long runs. Easy effort runs help to improve muscular endurance by making adaptations to the muscles on a cellular level such as increased blood supply to the running muscles, increased number of mitochondria (the “powerhouses” of the muscle cells), becoming better at conserving glycogen (which is the primary carbohydrate fuel), and dealing with accumulated lactic acid.
- Flexibility- warming up/cooling down, foam rolling, & cross-training. We recommend that you begin each run with a warm-up either a formal warm-up or just beginning a little slower and gradually increasing your pace. This is because a dynamic warm up and cool down is the ideal mode of flexibility training for distance runners. A dynamic warm up is when you move your body through the full range of motion while moving! This includes walking or jogging. Static stretching is what most people refer to as “stretching” in which a hold a position that elicits a slight stretch for about 15-30 seconds. It is recommended that you do NOT using static stretching before you run. Some static stretching can be beneficial especially if you are feeling a tightness in a specific muscle. However, there have been research studies that static stretching can actually decrease running performance (especially for sprinting). Therefore, it is advised that the running community moves away from static stretching and begins using more dynamic stretching and foam rolling. Cross-training using yoga or Pilates also adds flexibility training into the mommy marathon program.
Sunday: Recovery day! Plan your workouts for the week, use a foam roller, go for a walk, and take a nap!
Monday: 45 min trail run.
Tuesday: 40 min cross-train. Continue your cross-training plan or try adding this 15 min Kettlebell workout: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/kettlebell-workouts for a great deal on a kettlebell click here!
Wednesday: Warm-up by walking or jogging 1.5 miles. Then do 5 x 800m at interval pace. Pace for the interval workout should be your 5k race pace and then subtract 10-20sec. You should feel like you are working HARD. In between each interval, rest by walking 200m (or about 3 minutes). After the 800s, do 2 x 100 meter accelerations. An acceleration is when you start off at an easy pace and then with each step you take, go faster and faster by the time you reach the end of the 100m you should be sprinting at your top speed. In between the accelerations, rest for 60 seconds. Then cool-down by jogging or walking 1 mile.
Thursday: 40 min cross-train. Continue your cross-training plan or try something new like playing baseball with your kids.
Friday: Long Run 13 miles (Half-marathon 8 miles). Pace is your 5k race pace plus 90-120sec. The pace should feel EASY.
Saturday: 4 mile tempo run. Warm up by jogging or walking 10 minutes. Then increase the pace to tempo run pace (which is your 5k race pace plus 20-45sec) for 4 miles. This pace should feel SOMEWHAT HARD. Then cool down for 1 mile.
*If you are training for a half-marathon do the same work-outs except your long run is shorter this week.