Jason R. Karp, Ph.D. November 18, 2011 TWEET COMMENTS 6

Physiology Lessons - Page 2

How to Improve LT

:: Continuous LT Run: Three to six miles at LT pace (for recreational runners, 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than 5K race pace or about 10K race pace; for trained runners, 25 to 30 seconds per mile slower than 5K race pace or 15 to 20 seconds per mile slower than 10K race pace).

:: LT Intervals: 4 x 1 mile at LT pace with one-minute rest.

:: LT-Plus Intervals: Two sets of 4 x 1000 meters at 10 seconds per mile faster than LT pace, with 45 seconds rest between intervals and two minutes rest between sets.

RE is the volume of oxygen consumed at sub-maximum speeds. There are marked differences in the amount of oxygen different runners use when running at the same speeds, which is a major factor explaining variance in running performance in runners with similar VO2max values.

RE is probably even more important than LT in determining distance-running performance, because it indicates how hard you're working in relation to your maximum ability to use oxygen. I have yet to see a runner with superior RE who does not also have a high VO2max and LT.

While many runners and coaches think RE is a reflection of running form, it is influenced more by capillaries and mitochondria, the microscopic structures that influence oxygen delivery to the muscles. Research has shown that runners who run a lot (more than 70 miles per week) tend to be more economical, possibly because of the effect high mileage has on increasing capillaries and mitochondria. High mileage may also improve RE via the commonly associated weight loss, which lowers the oxygen cost of running. A high repetition of running movements may result in better biomechanics and muscle-fiber recruitment patterns. Power training with very heavy weights and plyometrics has also been shown to improve RE through a neural mechanism.

How to improve RE

:: High mileage.

:: Heavy strength training: Three to four sets of three to five reps with greater than 85-percent of your one-rep max.

:: Plyometrics: Box jumps, squat jumps, leg bounds, bleacher hops, etc.


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