I’ve recently been easing my way back into training after Ironman Mont Tremblant. I had done a couple of tempo runs, and a few runs with strides, when the group I run with (LTTC) were going to the track to do 4 x 1 mile with three minutes rest. They were going to do these at 5k effort, and I was planning on seeing what I could do. I drafted behind Max for 98% of the 4x 1 mile, and in the process ran my fastest and second fastest mile ever. Again, this was done after NO speed work!
How was I able to do this? After Ironman I also got back to the gym. I find that when my fitness is okay, and I make sure I am consistent with my lifts, magic can happen. Lifting helps recruit muscle fiber and allows the muscles to fire correctly. When you have everything firing and show up to the track, these breakthroughs can happen. I don’t think a ton of speed work is necessary to achieve this. Small workouts, like strides, are great to stay in touch with your speed. Then, every once in a while you can fire out a hard session.
Why don’t I give all my athletes strength work then? If you do it right, it is great! If you do it wrong, however, it is a fast track to injury. Since I can’t go to the gym with my athletes for every session, I shy away from sending beginner lifters on their own to the gym. The other challenge is easing your way into lifting takes a huge amount of discipline. One day of progressing too aggressively and you can end up sore for days. Lifting needs to complement your training, not take away from it.
If you are in Tucson and you want to get into lifting - shoot me a message! I am looking at setting up a winter intro to lifting class in order to get people comfortable in the gym!