Ut4M coach : March

Hello everyone,

WInter is coming to an end and March has well started. As indicated last month, the speed phase is soon to be over and it is time to start a « Trail running » focused phase.

You can also finish your speed phase with a short competition to quantify or confirm your progress. The best option is to find a short distance (10 to 15km) and mostly flat-ish course. A 10 km on road or cross can be an interesting option.

Following this phase, it is important to give you a regenerating week and absorb your winter work, in order to start the new phase in the best conditions.

I recommend to start the « trail running » phase that i call « trail running versatility » which is roughly general. This phase will be very progressive in its construction and its sequencing sessions to prevent the break between both phases to be too strong and destabilizing.
This phase will run from mid-March until mid-June. At the beginning of the phase it is important to adjust your “potential” to the specificities of trail running.
As a formula 1 car, it is easy to understand that the car will not go very far on mountain paths without a few adjustments.

This is the reason why I recommend to go progressively in your sessions. For instance a workout with 6*4’, performed on flat path during winter, can now be done first on a slightly hilly path, then on a very hilly path a few weeks later, to finish on a steep slope by running a 6*(2’ climbing + 1’ speedy downhill + 1’ up again) (recovery : back to starting point). The construction of the workout stays the same, but the output is completely different. Of course it is also possible (and advised) to change the duration of the intervals and/or recovery as well as the number of sets, but this example highlights the principle of progressivity.

During this phase we will adapt and change the terrains and technicity with slopy terrains, rocks , roots  …).

It would also be interesting to complete this training with strengthening exercices, to target some muscles and ease the muscle force to optimize the effort. This is especially important to runners with few slopy terrains to train on. You can also « customize » your sessions by adding squats, chairs(wall sits) , lunges, bounds, broad jumps, burpees, mountain climbers …  the types of exercices are unlimited. But make sure to choose exercices where you master the posture ; a good posture will help you avoid injury.

Depending on your choice of exercices and its sequencing you will use different group of muscles, and your session will tend to be  « cardio training », or rather  « strengthening training ».

For example, use a steep and short hill or set of stairs a bit long (1’), you can do : wall sit (30’’ up to 1’30 depending on your form), followed right away by  3 to 5 burpees, and 30m of bounds on flat terrain (to get at the bottom of the hill or steps) and you finish with  1’ speedy walk uphill. and for recovery slightly jog back to the starting point.Then repeat the set. You can repeat   6 to 10 times the circuit.

At the beginning , you might need a few days to recover from this type of session but be careful and do not push over the edge by repeating it too often… I personaly like to put this session the day before going for a long run. this technique pumps and allows to create a good muscle fatigue . you can thus learn after how to manage it the day after. In my opinion, a long run is aimed to cope with fatigue. so if you start this run with tired legs, this aspect will be optimized and the long run can be slightly reduced while being more efficient at the same time (saving time).

When beginning this phase of  « multivalent trail », do not abuse long runs. your body needs time to adjust. Running 2 to 3 hours seems long enough, if it follows stronger sessions. You can also begin to get familiar with the use of sticks by taking them occasionally.

Of course , make sure to have an easy  week  every 3 to 4 weeks in order not to accumulate too much fatigue and reduce injury.

To finish , i would recommend to change up your eating habits. No need to change your all diet at once but some choices are better than other : choose plain cereals and seeds for nutrients, reduce acidifying food, make veggies and fruits a priority, hydrate throughout the day (a magnesium-rich water if possible), choose gentle cooking (steaming in particular) , favour oils such as olive, colza and walnut oil , … there are many nonrestrictive things to help you  in a good way in your prep for the big event in August .

Good training to All.

Rémy Marcel



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