One thing I noticed since beginning to write my blog is that I tend to run many of the same workouts over and over again. I find myself, repeatedly writing the same description of either part or the entire workout, over and over. So over the last few months I have been collecting and consolidating the workouts that need extra explanation. My hope is that by doing this will mean less writing for myself, as I can just copy and paste descriptions. Secondly, it will give a nice condensed version of important workouts we do at ZAP Fitness, if anyone is interested. Also this will be updated as I do workouts that I have not done before. I hope you enjoy!
2:30 Down Cycles
Down cycles are where you increase the pace every 30 seconds, very similar to snowball efforts. This means that you have to start comfortable for the first minute so that you have somewhere to go as the rep progresses. All the changing of pace, trains you to be able to respond to changes in races.
This is a standard ZAP Fitness workout, especially during base phase. It is a Fartlek that starts with a 7 minute piece and each after is one minute less, and the goal is to progress throughout the workout. Between each piece is “half rest”, or half of whatever was just run. So after the 7 minute piece, there is 3 and a half minutes before starting the 6 minute piece. Since it is a Fartlek the rest initially starts out quick, but as the pieces get faster, the rest becomes slower. Often Pete will have us do the first three or four reps on the Lake, then the last few climbing. Doing this helps give you a rhythm for the longer reps and while also getting the benefits of running uphill.
This is a workout where six 1000m are sandwiched between two 2000m reps, hence the name bookends. We tend to do the first few reps on the grass field at the Greenway then finish on the paved path, so it is a great workout both for cross country and road racing. This has been one of my favorite workouts that I have done at ZAP. I am not sure why. Maybe because I know that if I get through the grass portion, I always feel better on the paved path.
Climbs are great because it allows you to get a good aerobic workout while not beating up your legs as much as a flat tempo run. Since your don’t run uphill as fast as flat Pete likes to pair it with some accelerations just after the climb. This has two purposes. One it gets our legs moving and adding some faster pace reps at the end of the workout. Second it helps ingrain the form improvements of uphill running. On the accelerations, Pete always wants us to focus on maintaining good form and breathing.
Our longest climb is from “Black Bottom”, the lowest point in Moses Cone Park, all the way to the Fire Tower, the highest point. This climb is around 6.5 miles at a steady 2-3% grade. Along the way we pass a few landmarks that also serve as stopping off points. The Manor is just short of 4 miles, and the Grave is just short of 5 miles. Also we can do a climb from the Lake up to the Fire Tower, which is around 5.5 miles. It is great to have so many different ways to do a climb, and often a climb is just a piece of an entire workout, like the Manor-Maze Progressive.
As part of a climb, Pete really likes to have us do a “1-1-1”. A 1-1-1 is where during a long interval, either a climb or tempo, where you run the first minute at 75%, second at 85%, and the third at 90% effort. After the last minute, you drop back to the first and repeat. It is a good way to get some gear changing in the workout. The trick with doing this in the workout is to not go out too fast as all the changing of pace will catch up with you and the workout will just turn into a steady tempo (not that I speak from experience, ha).
A hill cycle is a loop that has around 400m of flat, 400m of up hill, and 400m of downhill. Each section does not have be exact, as our loop is somewhere between 1050-1100 meters. Usually a hill cycle workout is something similar to 25-15-7 min efforts, with the flat at tempo effort, surges up the hill, and relaxing/active recovery on the downhill.
In and Outs
In and outs are where the straights on the track are done slightly faster than the curves. Pete usually says, “Only 3%, forward.” This gives the workout lots of gear changing, and does a really good job a replicating racing on a track, especially a 10,000m. When in a strung out line on a track, any slight difference in pace at the front, is magnified as it works its way down the chain. It is something that I have experienced often. Here is an example of it happening in real life. While on a track, it is not as bad as the video shows, it illustrates the principle.
Workout: 1500m Lake Loop, 4 min rest; Manor-Maze Progressive, Two forward pushes to the Manor and through the Maze
This workout is a staple of the Pete Rea arsenal. We tend to do this workout at least once during any given cycle. There are a lot of pieces and parts to this workout, so I will explain the purpose of each.
The fast 1500m on the lake is to put some junk in our legs. Going a bit lactic early is a good way to teach the body how remove lactic acid while running. Also doing this will make the rest of the workout just that much tougher. After our rest, we do a climb from the Lake to Moses Cone Manor. It is just less than three miles to the top, and is used as an uphill tempo. After we crest the summit, we have an “active recovery” for just over a mile as we head down to the Maze. The point of this piece is to recover some while running quick. Since we are running downhill, so our recovery pace tends to be fairly quick, around 5:30 pace. Once in the Maze, we pick it up to tempo effort again. The first 6 minutes of the Maze is slightly up hill and the last 6 minutes is slightly downhill. This makes the last 6 minutes all about getting our legs to turn over as much as possible.
Running a rep as a “snowball” means to surge at set intervals during the workout. It can be done with any length of rep, either at a set distance or time. For example, mile reps with a surge every quarter, or a tempo effort 15 min with surges every 3 min. This is a favorite of Pete’s, as it teaches you to surge in the middle of a hard effort, just like you would in a race. To run a proper snowball, you need to start off a tad slower, so when you pick it up you are eventually running faster than goal pace.