Racing and group training is on-hold again here in the UK. With lockdown 2.0 looming large we're back teaming up with The Run Yard for a series of weekly challenges, designed to keep your competitive fire burning, and certainly not from the conventional training manual.
Weekly sessions will be shared here every Wednesday during lockdown, as well as on our SOAR X TRY Training WhatsApp group - which we encourage you to join to share your runs, ask questions and draw on the collective spirit of the SOAR Community. Join the group here.
Each week there will be one challenge winner - securing a SOAR prize - the winner won't be the fastest though, they'll be chosen by Head Coach and Olympic 1500m runner Matt Yates as the athlete who meets the challenge brief most exactly. To be in with a chance of winning you must share your effort on Instagram and tag @soar_running and @the_run_yard
Lockdown 2.0 Session #4: SOAR X Speed Play
Who would have thought that a Swedish decathlete and Olympic medallist no less, would become the first coach to have such a profound impact on running training that his methods would still be used today.
In 1930 the coach of the Swedish Cross-Country team Gösta Holmér (an Olympian himself in 1912 and 1920) set out to try and reverse the dominance the Finnish team - spearheaded by the great Paavo Nurmi - held over them. In trying to develop a team of runners who could beat the mighty Finns, Gösta decided upon a new training method: The Fartlek. Or, “speed play” in English.
“Speed play” allowed the Swedish athletes to train both their speed and endurance during the same session, with athletes working at 60-80% of max heart rate. Since the days of Gösta Holmér ‘fartlek’ training has gone on to be a staple ingredient of distance running training worldwide.
The fourth and final SOAR Lockdown 2.0 Challenge will be in homage to the great Swedish coach Gösta Holmér.
Begin with pre-run stretching and mobility exercises (we'll share these in the WhatsApp Group).
Then jog for 8-12 minutes to fully warm up.
The SOAR X Speed Play session then gives you a choice of two fartleks, choose one or the other of the below for your session:
- 1 minute @ 80% effort (90 seconds walk/jog recovery)
1:30 minute @ 70% effort (90 seconds walk/jog recovery)
3 minutes @ 60% effort (90 seconds walk/jog recovery)
45 seconds @ 80% effort
Do 1-4 sets of the above, taking 4 minutes recovery between each set you do.
Total set time (including jog/walk recovery) = 10 minutes 45
- 4 minutes @ 70% effort (2minutes walk/jog recovery)
3 minutes @ 60% effort (2minutes walk/jog recovery)
1 minute @ 80% effort
Do 1-4 sets of the above, taking 3 minutes recovery between each set you do.
Total set time (including jog/walk recovery) = 12 minutes
Now it can be hard to tell exactly what your heart rate should be, after all we don't all have access to precise physiological testing. But, if you know your MAX Heart Rate, you should be able to work out the 60%, 70% and 80% rates. It's worth giving yourself a 5bpm parameter for each heart-rate, and jotting this on the back of your hand, so you know if you're in approximately the right zone. E.g. if 80% = 160 bpm write down 157-162 as your zone.
However, it's also important to learn to run by feel - this is a session that really lends itself to free thinking running. As a guideline:
60% should feel just faster than an easy run
70% should feel like you are trying, but in control
80% should feel like you're mid-race, working hard
Once finished jog warm down for 5-10 minutes.
Recover, hydrate and refuel.
Enjoy the session, we look forward to seeing your data and hearing how you found it.
Don't forget to tag @soar_running and @the_run_yard
Share your session in the SOAR X TRY WhatsApp Group.