Friday, June 17, 2011

Speed Is Life

HUMAN RUNNERS CAN ATTAIN SPEEDS for a few seconds that are two to three times greater than those they can maintain for several hours. In relation to the duration of all-out running, these speed decrements are not uniform. Speed decreases markedly with increases in the duration of shorter efforts (i.e., <180 s) but only modestly with the same relative increases in the duration of longer ones (1112). Accordingly, top sprinters attain race speeds nearly twice as fast as those achieved by the best milers, but mile runners race only moderately faster than marathon runners do. The negative exponential relationship between all-out speed and run duration is generally attributed to differences in the metabolic power available from anaerobic vs. aerobic sources in relation to time (8922,24). Specifically, peak rates of anaerobic energy release, which fuel brief maximal efforts, decline rapidly as the duration of the trial increases (1521). In contrast, the peak rates of aerobic energy release during prolonged efforts vary relatively little with event duration. For example, well-trained athletes can maintain >80% of their maximum aerobic power for events from 10 to 120 min (5-7).

This is a fascinating paper, which Tim Ferriss highlights in the Four Hour Body during his profile of Barry Ross.

The hook:  he has female high school athletes the break records for track events and who - at 130 pounds of body weight - can deadlift over 400 pounds.

How does he do it?  They do a brief workout, they perform a 3 rep set of heavy (~95% 1RM) deadlifts to knee height only.  They follow within 1 minute with a set of plyometric movements (box jumps), rest five minutes, and repeat with a 5 rep set (~85% 1RM).  Afterward, the run the ASR based number of sprints.  They do this three days a week (also doing the bench press to the same set/rep scheme).

Why do you care?  The short version: if you want to run faster at any distance their program will get you up to speed with three short workouts of very few sprints, three times/day.  They work "inside out", run short, hard as little as possible - "Do as little as necessary, not as much as possible" is their guiding principle.  Training for a 400m race or shorter, for example, they never run over 70m.

Seems like a very useful protocol for developing improved physical capacity with efficient training.

More info here:

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