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What do you aim to get out of a workout?

  • 03-02-2022 3:15pm
    Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭

    Following on from a discussion I spotted in AMK's log thought it might not be a bad topic of discussion.

    We all have the general answers of what certain types of sessions do for our bodies (tempo's working on lactate threshold, long runs building endurance etc etc etc) but wanna try cut through that and get to the nuts and bolts of why we do sessions and what we want to take away from each session

    Is it about building confidence and proving we are at a certain level of fitness to justify race targets or building confidence in our ability to aim for a 7/10 workout as being the right move in a session in grand scheme of training?

    Interested to hear people's thoughts and views on how they approach training and specifically workouts


  • Registered Users Posts: 631 ✭✭✭Cleanman

    Sometimes it's fun to just run fast!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,432 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    I am probably a bit boring as I let the race target dictate the pace of the workout - according to whatever method/plan I'm using - and I am generally pretty disciplined in sticking to the guidelines. I think this is the best approach for me, assuming the race target is appropriate. I am quite methodical by nature and don't find it too difficult to trust what's been laid out for me. That said, I do a lot of my training my myself so it minimises the opportunity to get drawn into 'racing' the workout with clubmates and other running partners.

    Regardless of whether it's a tempo, speed, LR other type of session, I want to come away feeling tired but knowing I could have done more. If I'm totally rinsed at the end of a workout, even very difficult ones, I know I've overdone it. I try to save that performance for race day. Of course it doesn't always work out that way, but sometimes it does.

    I also use HR as an objective regulator of effort - this was an eye opener to me, a much more sophisticated method than raw pace (although I agree with Hanson's argument that if you choose a target time, you have to get used to the pace as well as the effort) .

    Post edited by Murph_D on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,771 ✭✭✭jebuz

    I'm sure it varies for everyone but in order of priority, what I want get out of a session is:

    1. Physiological adaptation (ultimately, the purpose of a workout is to stress the body in order to race faster)
    2. Consistency (knowing that I'm showing up week in week out to put in a hard shift)
    3. Satisfaction (a sense of accomplishment and seeing tangible progress over weeks/months/years)
    4. Confidence (building belief for race day)
    5. Fun (social, camaraderie, not just hard work etc)
    6. Discipline (ability to control workouts to benefit recovery and race day)

    That list grew bigger than I thought and was very hard to prioritise apart from no.1. Good thought provoking question @E.coli

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,080 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67

    Generally from a session, I would say I'm looking to achieve 1 of 3 things:

    1) Address a weakness, sometimes those weaknesses change, currently, I need to focus on speed endurance.

    2) Reinforce a strength, it's important not to neglect your strengths and keep them topped up.

    3) Assess currently fitness levels from a TT or race-specific session, 3 x 2 mile for a 10k, or 2 x 8 mins for a 5k for example.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,582 ✭✭✭Swashbuckler

    It's a good question. To me there's two parts to this - what do I want to get out of a session but also, when left to my own devices what approach do I take.

    For the second question, for some reason I've always leaned towards more aggressive training. I always seem to pick volume when maybe keeping things a little shorter might be a better idea. I still don't know if it's an ego thing, a fear of "doing too little", thinking I always need to be ramping up volume to progress or some other reason. It's often why I've veered back towards being coached. When left to my own devices I seem to overdo it. It's no coincidence I picked Daniels for my marathon plan. Big chunky sessions that may not be the best choice for someone of my calibre.

    For the first question;

    1. Physiological adaptations are first.

    2. Getting comfortable at running "fast". Making the hard more easy means the harder becomes just hard.......that makes sense in my head . Lol

    3. Maybe this should be higher on the list but sessions keep running interesting. Who wants to run easy every day?

    4. Sessions have taught me how to run by feel/effort. I think that's one of the most valuable skills a runner can have. Target pace goes out the window if the Co ditions are off or you're at the pointy end of a race. It's all about feel then.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭E.coli

    Some great answers here and definitely a lot of food for thought

    It is definitely something that has changed for me over the years and something that I have made nearly every mistake under the sun in regards to (I still have nightmares about a 20x400 session I did during warm weather training one year managing 70s average yet pretty sure I didn't manage that pace for a mile race that year (amazing what ego can do when young and trying to impress those around you who are much better athletes)

    Overall for me recently my thought process around sessions

    1. Training adaptation - Not sure if this has the highest or lowest priority to be honest as while it is very important it almost becomes an afterthought as part of the plan that on the day its the one probably least concerned with.
    2. Intensity of the session within overall weekly plan. Something I have not been good at in my own training previously but knowing what are the priority sessions in a week and what are supplementary, previously would try and smash every session week in and week out and usually resorted in getting in good shape early season and pushing training too much (making sessions and paces more challenging)in the crucial weeks in build up to target races. Sometimes its better off to do Cruise intervals over straight tempo, same stimulus but body might just need a breather pre or post hard session.
    3. Effort - Trying keep effort to the minimum required. This might appear as lazy to some but the idea of minimizing effort is to go as easy as possible while still eliciting the right stimulus. There is a tendency to live and die by the watch and faster means better as you become more accustomed to faster paces however I think we need to differentiate between being more accustomed with faster paces and being more comfortable with them. Low effort levels allows you to focus on the form, breathing etc which are all trainable aspects in remaining controlled. Majority of people get run a somewhat fast 200 when all out but won't translate that to 800/1 mile because they are running as fast as they can rather than as efficiently. Effort also plays a role in consistency, better to have a 7/10 consistently over months than a couple of 10/10 and resulting in niggles, illness etc)
    4. Confidence. While fast run always breaths confidence, I think finishing a session on pace feeling in control can be just as powerful in building confidence. Humans by there nature tend to seek out instant gratification but If you can gain confidence from control it can be so much more rewarding. There is no harm in the odd "going to the well" indicator session but we shouldn't be seeking out a reaffirmation of fitness every time we lace up the trainers. That is what races are for

    I don't get to train with groups too often but I do think they offer something which can be crucial for racing and that is focus. Training partners enable a person to focus and react to those around them. Its why I believe that as long as you can leave ego at the door training groups are probably one of the biggest driving factors in huge gains for many. When you look at many of the athletes responding well under Feidhlm Kelly's DTC training I think the biggest gains are not in any revolutionary training but simply good large group of athletes who all bring different elements to the table that compliment each other

  • Registered Users Posts: 361 ✭✭babacool

    Hi, a bit late to the party but here is my contribution.

    what do I want to get out of training:

    1. feel alive. Every run that I start and finish without a niggle or worse is success! I rather aim for a steady improvement that may take a bit longer than a sudden increase in pace if that means I have less risk of injuries. I never again want to be out for 6months due to stupidity!
    2. Stay mentally fit and sharp. Running helps to clear the mind and be less stressed.
    3. see progress during training. It isn’t about PBs for me. Sure it’s great to run fast in a race and big buzz but it’s not what drives me on (anymore) as I cannot control race day but a good block of training. Being able to repeat a session under similar circumstances and at the same effort and seeing an increase in pace is just amazing! It shows more of a progress than a PB in a race.
    4. be competitive. As said times are linked to good racing conditions but ranking isn’t really. If the weather is bad, well it applies to everyone so a PB might not be on the table. However, being able to beat the runner next to me I can control by making sure I somewhat prepare for those conditions during training.
    5. well measured intensity. What puts me off are sessions where I know that I might be able to nail them but it’s gonna be a lot of effort and might cause niggles. I will do them it on the plan but will give out before, during and after and will not ever enjoy them.
    6. ego. Let’s face it. Nailing a big boy session feels great (I don’t consider speed sessions as big boy sessions). As an endurance runner I don’t focus that much on short and sharp but on long! And the more impressive they look, the more I’m looking forward to them!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,983 ✭✭✭Duanington

    Probably nothing new to add to this but ;

    1 - to get "fitter" - whatever that looks like in terms of adaptions for a particular session but walking away knowing that you've stressed whichever system you've targeted, to the appropriate level, is a satisfying feeling

    2 - To stay consistent, I used to love "nailing" sessions, almost high fiving myself at the end of some of them. Ironically my best results came from a period of time when I wasn't doing this, I was just turning up week in\week out and running sessions. Sometimes very well, sometimes very poorly but always turning up

    3 - The feeling of running faster is something that lots of us just enjoy, its all relative of course but I certainly love the feeling of pushing the pace to a level that releases the feel good stuff without flooding the system in lactic.

    4 - Race practice, for me - this comes from running sessions in a group. Not really from running a prescribed pace to be honest. I get very similar nervousness before a group session that I do before a race and very similar levels of desperation at times throughout the session too ! I try not to overdo group sessions these days as the ageing body doesn't cope too well with extended periods of time where I'm probably over reaching.

    5 - Confidence, without doubt, I get confidence from sessions and feed off it, I probably tend to race within myself (a little) without the group dynamic being a factor in recent training and I'm almost certain that's a mental thing.

    Ticking off sessions week in\week out breeds confidence though, there's nothing like knowing you have 8-10 weeks of solid sessions under the belt before running a race or moving to a new block