Friday, August 14, 2009

Poker Pacing II

Poker Pacing 100's

A few years ago, I wrote the basic approach I use to prepare for Ironman run training. I've been toying with a few different sessions that incorporate another key element of efficient running, high cadence, into these workouts.

Increasing cadence has significant benefits in reducing the biomechanical load of running. In turn, the increased cadence reduces the risk of overuse injuries. An improvement in this technical aspect alone can reap huge benefits for most runners in regard to recovery and preserving lower extremity health. In addition, it is much easer to increase foot speed and maintain that foot speed for greater duration during training runs and races. Increasing cadence any amount can be beneficial; the goal cadence is 92-94 strides per minute. You can calculate this by counting how many times one foot strikes the ground in 15 seconds and multiply by 4.

After one gets relatively skilled at poker pacing (negatively splitting) workouts, then the next element is to raise cadence. For this 10k workout, I recommend raising your cadence 6-8 foot strikes/minute. The first mile is done at a pace very slow, concentrating on raising the cadence substantially above your comfort zone. This requires moderate concentration...most people feel awkward in running with such a high cadence and slow pace. The goal is to maintain that cadence as you increase the pace 20-30 sec/mile, ending with a pace 30 sec greater thany your open 10k pace.

For example, my last 10k race was a trail run a few weeks back that I finished in 38:55, or around 6:15. So, my workout looked like this:

9:15 120
8:45 124
8:15 128
7:45 134
7:15 138
6:45 144

The goal is raising cadence while maintaining pace. If need be, slow down the pace to accomplish your goals.

Have fun and enjoy the workout.