In the table below, you will find a detailed running session tailored to help you increase your athletic performance and achieve your running goals. The plan has been detailed so you understand the distance, duration, rest period and number of sets you will need to work. Additionally, the last column reveals which primary energy system you will be using for each specified run. This can be hugely beneficial to understand when planning your own future running sessions. More on this below.
These are sessions that I have personally completed many times (usually around a running track), and gained enormous benefits from.
From the table above, I have left it up to your judgement which category you feel best suits where you are currently with your own running performance.
In this passage now, I will explain 'the why' behind each running distance, and more importantly, the primary energy system that is being used during the run. We have 3 energy systems we use in our bodies - Oxidative, Glycolysis or Glycolytic and Phosphagen.
All 3 play a vital part in improving our running performance. Understanding exactly HOW to utilise each energy system effectively can give you the real edge come race day!
Note; depending on which type of training you are planning on completing, choose ONE of the Energy Systems to focus on in any given session. (for example, Beginner - Oxidative, 800m x 2 OR Advanced - Phosphagen 100m x 6)
800m - OXIDATIVE ENERGY SYSTEM
During any preparation for a distance running event, it is hugely important that you have a strong aerobic base. That is what the Oxidative Energy System (OES) is - an aerobic energy system that is actively through low-medium level intensity that can be sustained for anywhere around 3mins+. Unlike the two other energy systems that we will cover, this is completely aerobic, meaning, it uses oxygen. This relates to your training as you will generally use your oxidative energy system for your longer runs, for example - a long, steady, continuous run in your training programme will use this system for fuel. Using mainly carbohydrates and fats as fuel, your body is able to perform over a consistent and prolonged period of time without a significant drop in performance. How this energy system relates to your training is very simple - when preparing for a marathon for example, this is the energy system you are likely to exhaust most frequently. During the session above, you will complete 800m within the specified time of your choosing, you will then rest for the allotted time, and repeat for sets. Your goal is to try to maintain the time across all sets. The work:rest ratio has been calculated for optimal performance and so that your OES has sufficient time to recover before working towards your next run. Our OES is the foundation for performance in any distance event, so ensure you are completing sessions like the above spanning across distances such as 800m, 1500m and 2500m, with relevant work:rest ratio, regularly during your training period.
400m - GLYCOLYTIC ENERGY SYSTEM
Your Glycolytic Energy System (GES) is another vital system that needs to be used during any distance event. This energy system can operate both anaerobically (without oxygen) and aerobically (with oxygen). It involves the breakdown of carbohydrates into glycogen or glucose for 'fuel in the body'. The pivotal and unique thing about the GES is that from the breakdown of carbohydrates, your body actually uses two separate forms of Glycolysis - Fast Glycolysis & Slow Glycolysis.
Fast Glycolysis is your body's ability to convert the Pyruvate (which is the end result of Glycolysis), and converting it into lactate. Lactate is a fast burning 'fuel' that can produce fast results, however it is limited in it's duration. This system can kick in anywhere from 6-30 seconds depending on the intensity of your output. Slow Glycolysis is the process of your body undergoing what is known as a Krebs cycle, which allows your body to keep using energy for a longer duration of time. This process will generally kick in anywhere after 2 minutes of consistent exercise. Post these two forms of GES, you will begin to work aerobically and your OES will kick in.
Depending on your levels of fitness, your 400m running session may use solely Fast Glycolysis or both Fast & Slow.
100m - PHOSPHAGEN ENERGY SYSTEM
Lastly, your Phosphagen Energy System (PES). This is your fast burning, anaerobic system that will last a maximum of 6-10 seconds. Using your bodies existing fuelThis energy system will be used solely for your sprinting at maximal effort. Your 60m/80m/100m sprints will all use primarily your PES. All explosive activities such as a quick, fast sprint off the start line or burst to the finish will require use of your PES. As this is such a fast and explosive form of energy use, your body must adapt quickly when your output energy becomes too high. (After 10 seconds of intense, maximal effort, your body will move into Fast Glycolysis in an attempt to maintain your level of performance). Although not commonly used in distance events, it is beneficial to still look to improve your PES as this will help aid your overall performance.