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For the preparation of a marathon it is necessary to train taking care of different aspects and in different ways.
An important part of this type of training is certainly the repeated.
The purpose of the repetitions
Carrying out training with repetitions in preparation for a marathon has the main purpose of accustoming the body to sustain a prolonged effort with muscular (and therefore cardiac) commitment higher than what will then be required in the race. The pace we will keep during the marathon will be lower than the one held in a repetition workout and this will allow the trained body and heart not to be overwhelmed by fatigue.
Obviously the body gets tired anyway a lot but in general, if well trained, it is possible to complete the competition without being forced to a long period of inactivity to recover what was spent in the race.
There are various repetition distances to be used in the preparation of a marathon ranging from 500 meters. to 5,000 meters or even up to 10,000 meters. In this article we will talk about a repetition distance among the most common, also used for the preparation of shorter races; let's talk about the 1.000 mt.
Repeated outdoor and indoor
The repetitions can be carried out both on the outdoor track (outdoor) and on the indoor track (indoor) even if the latter are much less frequent both in terms of type and the number of existing systems.
In this article, however, we will talk about the repetitions on an outdoor track which is the most common type of track and which measures (at the 1st inside lane) 400 meters. The first lane of the indoor tracks, on the other hand, measures 200 meters and carrying out long repetitions would be problematic considering the very short length as well as the slope when cornering (light in the 1st lane but still present). I specify that on the track (both outdoor and indoor) we always run counterclockwise.
How to do the repetitions
The repetitions are nothing more than the repetition of a 'tot' of times of a test over a predetermined distance.
It is a good idea to start training with a warm-up phase which generally consists of a slow run of about 15/20 minutes. At the end (of the warm-up) you stop for about 2/3 minutes and then it is always recommended to make some decisive stretches (progression run of a maximum length of 70/80 meters) in order to 'wake up' the heart muscle and get used to the effort which we will soon be doing.
At this point we can start with the repetitions and an example of training can be the following:
In the example we have all the elements necessary to understand what it is:
- The number of times we have to repeat the test: 10 (which obviously can vary depending on the distance we have to repeat and the training goal set);
- the time in which to carry out each of the individual tests: 4 minutes and 30 seconds;
- the recovery time between one 1,000 and the next: 1 minute and 30 seconds;
Recovery between one repetition and another
Recovery can be done in two ways:
- standing still
- active (moving)
The second type is recommended especially in the winter months to avoid getting too cold but can also be done in the warm months in relation to the training program and the goal.
Usually in the preparation of long-distance races, such as the marathon, there is a tendency to recover on the move as it 'takes advantage' to do miles even in this phase.
Active recovery example
Recovery, while active, must be done at a slower pace than work in order for the heart rate to drop.
In the example we considered a recovery rate of 5'10 "per Km. Against a work carried out at 4'30" per Km.
In the event that we had run the 1,000 meters. at a pace of 5'00 "during the recovery we should have kept a pace of about 5'40" (so the 400 meters would have been completed in 2'16 ").
The advantage of active recovery lies, in this case, in the total distance covered: leaving out the warm-up and cool-down, the final km will be 13.6 (10 X 1,000 = 10,000 + 9 recoveries X 400 = 3,600).
The rhythm of the repetition
It is essential to always keep the same rhythm in the repetitions; we must be as constant as possible (both in the active phase and in the recovery phase if this is active) also because then, once we have assimilated the rhythm, we will be able to recognize the pace we are keeping even without looking at the stopwatch (this mechanism, however, as a rule, it is not immediate and develops over time).
So if we have to run, as in the example, 10 times the 1,000 meters in 4'30 ", the ideal would be to always use 27" for every 100 meters, or 1'48 "for each lap of the track (400 meters) and 2'15 "for 500 meters.
On the track we have precise references so it is possible to monitor the pace every 100 meters.
In reality, when the repetitions are long and of a consistent number, it can be a bit alienating to evaluate the time every 100 meters so, as a rule, it is sufficient to check the first passage at 100 meters. and then, eventually, taking the time every lap of the track. It is not necessary to become "slaves" to the stopwatch. As you become familiar with the repeats, it should come natural to recognize the pace you are holding.
You should therefore avoid starting a repetition at a too fast pace and then ending it at a slower pace.
Taking up the previous example (with repetitions of 1,000 meters), it would not be good to run the 1st 500 in 2'05 "and the 2 500 in 2'25". In the end, the total time of 1,000 would be 4'30 "but there would be too much disparity between the two fractions. The risk is to get tired earlier risking not to complete all the planned work.
Positioning on the track
The repetitions on the track must always be carried out using the 1st lane (the innermost one). You should avoid using the outermost lanes because for each outermost lane you travel about 7 meters more for each lap than the 1st (which is exactly 400 meters).
Furthermore, running in the first lane does not hinder other athletes. In fact, each lane is dedicated to carrying out a very specific function.
On 6-lane tracks, as a rule, the 2nd and 3rd are used for stretches and speed tests for pure sprinters; the 4 ^ and the 5 ^ follow the same principle as the 2 above but are used by obstacles; the 6th lane is used for slow running or warming up.
The repeated in the street
The repetitions can also be done on the street. In this case it is important to use a GPS in order to perform the right distance of the set work. On the track the measurement is accurate while on the road it is certainly not. The GPS may not correctly report the distance traveled or, if you do not use GPS but rely on a path or distance measured by others, we would not be sure that it was measured correctly.
Have you ever wondered why races over the same distance are defined differently?
Let's take a 10km race.
If you run on the track we talk about a 10,000 meter race; if you run on the road we talk about 10 Km.
The distance is the same BUT on the track (obviously if you run in the first lane, 'on the rope' in the jargon, as far as possible) you will run exactly 10,000. On the road the situation changes. It is enough to make tighter or wider curves to run a distance that can deviate a lot, more or less, than the 10 km declared.
So is it more convenient to do repetitions on the track or on the street?
Repeating on the track is certainly more convenient to monitor the pace you are holding and to avoid possible hitches created by people, traffic lights, intersections, pedestrian crossings etc. that you might encounter while running on the street. It also helps us to withstand the effort even from a mental point of view; the lap, in fact, always measures 400 meters, so running for long distances or for a long time on the track can be a bit alienating. But this situation can be useful in the race when you find yourself alone for long stretches that can, moreover, be in isolated places with no spectators who cheer us on and give us a boost. Personally, this aspect has always been very useful to me. In any case, I do not recommend carrying out a Marathon preparation by carrying out all the scheduled repetition works only on the track; it is better to run them sometimes even in the street. You could divide all those planned by making about 60/65% on the track and the rest on road or dirt. It should be borne in mind, in fact, that when running on the track, the left side of the body is stressed more as it always turns in the same direction (counterclockwise); training in the street (having a correct posture) the stresses are the same for the 2 sides of the body.
How the repetitions vary during the preparation for the marathon
At the beginning of the preparation program, there is a tendency to speed up the average pace per kilometer, so it is useful to perform short repetitions (400 or 500 meters) at a very fast pace, gradually decreasing the recoveries between one test and another.
If, for example, we want to do 400m repetitions, at a rate of 4'00 "per km, we could start with a recovery from a standstill of 1'30" and then, in subsequent training sessions, lower the recovery to 1'00 while maintaining the same pace.
As training progresses, it is also useful to carry out long repetition work, for example 2,000 meters (or more), ending with small short repetition sessions, for example 200 meters, to be carried out at a slightly faster pace than that performed in long repetitions. to "wake up" the muscles.
For example, if we ran the 2,000 in repetition at the rate of 4'30 "per km, the 200 could be run in 48" / 50 "(or at the rate of 4 '/ 4'10" per km.) Recovering from standing 50 "/ 1'00".
Run repetitions in company
If you have someone to do the rehearsals with, it will come in handy as you can help each other. For example in the 1,000 meters. you could run, in front, a 500 each (the change is better done with the athlete in front who widens slightly towards the second lane allowing the athlete who is behind to overtake and continue him repeated in the head. widen always check with the "corner of the eye" if some other athlete is coming from behind at speed: it could be dangerous). Or you could run entirely one each… in short, you can manage yourself as you wish.
This, if it were a habit, could however negatively affect you from a mental point of view if, accustomed to running in company, you suddenly find yourself alone in the race (eg injury of your partner or, simply, his bad day). It would probably be more difficult to face the remainder of the race first because the fatigue always increases and second because not having your training partner alternating with you in keeping the pace would make it more difficult to manage the correct pace to maintain.
Training for the marathon
In conclusion, therefore, repetitions are fundamental in preparing for a marathon but are only part of the training. Training so-called "unloading" every tot. days and also "long" workouts to accustom the body to face the long distance without interruptions.
During the Marathon race there are many factors that can contribute to the achievement or not of the goal that has been set in the months of preparation (I suggest a preparation of at least 3 months with at least 4/5 workouts per week (not just repeated! )) so, unfortunately, it is not mathematical that if all the scheduled repetitions (and the long ones) are always done well, the race goes well.
Certainly the fact of having performed them well should protect us from nasty surprises but, as I said, you are never 100% sure. I also speak from personal experience. Disappointment can come, there is, the important thing is not to give up. If a competition, even as long and tiring as the Marathon, does not satisfy us in terms of timing, let's not give up but try again. Certainly to 'keep time' it will be better to prepare one with a flat route and, to prepare well, I suggest running a maximum of 2 or 3 per year. Obviously, if our purpose is to enjoy the route, perhaps in a city of art, we can run even more by leaving out a targeted preparation. However, the important thing is to train methodically, without improvising, as running for 42 km is no joke for our body.
Good training everyone! And have fun with your next Marathon!
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- Garmin 735XT: review
- Calculation and estimation of the race time
Curated by Andrea Carelli