Training Principles

Principle: Preseason training is aerobic only; up until end of March or beginning of April

Reasoning: Speedwork at this time of year is pointless and counter-productive. Track intervals in January won’t improve performance in July. Preseason aerobic training teaches the body to burn fat as fuel, thereby enhancing endurance in a race. Even though you will race at or near anaerobic threshold in a race (ie-out of your aerobic range), having a well conditioned aerobic system will allow you to race longer at threshold.


Principle: Train at all times with a heart rate monitor (if you have one) and use it to measure gains on a regular basis.

Reasoning: A heart rate monitor provides a window to see exactly how hard your body is working. It will ensure that all training is quality training and the ‘garbage miles’ that plague some athletes are eliminated. Measuring gains with an MAF test (see Heart Rate Monitor page for info on the MAF test) every 3-4 weeks allows you to track performance gains very easily. This is extra important during the aerobic preseason when gains are otherwise hard to measure. The MAF test will also let you know when you are not improving so that corrections to your training can be made early.


Principle: Anaerobic training, once added, should only be done 2-3 times per week, and never on consecutive days.

Reasoning: Back-to-back speed days stress the body too much. Spacing these days out with aerobic training allows the body to fully recover between workouts. This will ultimately help prevent overtraining syndrome and injuries.


Principle: Rest days are of the utmost importance in your schedule, especially during inseason training.

Reasoning: The muscles of the body do not ‘grow’ during a workout; growth of the muscles and glycogen replenishment occurs during rest after a workout. Regular rest is scheduled into your workouts to allow the body to grow and to let it fully recover to prevent overtraining and injury. Note: Rest means Rest! No slipping in an ‘easy’ workout on a rest day.


Principle: Use Anaerobic Threshold workouts as the principle form of speedwork training (as opposed to track intervals, for example)

Reasoning: 10k road races (and Olympic Triathlons for that matter) are primarily run at your Anaerobic Threshold. Therefore, there is no better way to increase your speed at these events than to increase your ability to perform at AT. Specific AT training will actually increase your AT as the season progresses, thereby allowing you to race even faster! Track intervals, on the other hand, require that you run repeats at a predetermined pace which may in fact not be what you can run off the bike. They will increase speed but you can be much more specific with your training by doing AT workouts.


Nutrition Principles

Principle: No refined sugar or High Glycemic index carbohydrates before training or racing.

Reasoning: These foods will cause insulin to be released into your blood stream which will inhibit fat metabolism during exercise. This may also cause you to run out of glycogen during longer training runs or rides.


Principle: Drink 3-4 glasses of water after a workout before consuming any other liquids. Also, try to drink 8 or more glasses of water per day (you cannot count other liquids in this 8 glasses of water).

Reasoning: The body sweats out more water than it does electrolytes so you should first concern yourself with replacing lost water, then electrolytes. After 3-4 glasses of water you can drink juice, sports drinks, etc. 8 glasses of water a day is required to replace water lost through the normal body functions of respiration, urination, etc. You will require more than 8 glasses a day if you sweat! Also, the body treats liquids other than water as food because of their sugar content. For example, juice will cause insulin to be released in order to process the nutrients in the juice. Water does not have this effect and can thereby be absorbed and used as pure water.


Principle: Hyper-hydrate before each race or long workout.

Reasoning: A 2% loss of body weight causes a large decrease in performance. For a Sunday race begin drinking extra plain water by Thursday or Friday night. 1-1.5 litres of extra water in the evenings should do. You can check your water intake by observing the colour of your urine. When your body is properly hydrated your urine should be colourless and odourless and you should be urinating every 2-4 hours.


Principle: Don’t fear fats, use them to your advantage.

Reasoning: Good fats (monounsaturated fats) are beneficial to the body. They decrease your risk of heart disease as well as providing fuel for your body. Fats don’t cause insulin to be released and therefore can help maintain stable blood sugar levels. In the proper proportions they can actually help you burn fat easier, thereby dropping unnecessary weight. The primary fuel for the heart muscle is linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that can only be derived from the diet! Good sources of fat include extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocado, fish oils (salmon is really good), almonds, eggs aren’t as bad as people make them out to be, as well, natural peanut butter can be eaten without guilt.


Principle: After a workout, feed your body some protein along with your carbohydrates.

Reasoning: Training causes microtears in the muscles which require protein to repair and grow. Protein also aids in the storage of carbohydrates in the muscle in the form of glycogen.


Principle: Energy bars and Sports drinks can be very useful forms of energy for the athlete, but choose them cautiously.

Reasoning: Energy bars should contain fructose sugar as their principle carbohydrate source to maintain stable blood sugar levels. The ideal sports drink contains glucose polymers as the carbohydrate source. PowerBars, PR Bars, Endura and Glycomax, are examples of favorable foods/drinks.


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