Lactate Threshold Training

Last weekend James Grimm ran his first (non-relay) race of the new Oz domestic season.

Third in last season’s NSW State Open 200m final, James opened with a 0.4sec PB of 21.20 (+1.8m/ps, perfect weather) at Blacktown track.

This Saturday (10 December 2011) James will have his first-ever (non-relay, again) 400m off the blocks at an interclub comp at Bankstown track.

He will be up against Kevin Moore who, like James, another member of the NSW Institute of Sport’s 400m Fast Track program. Kevin has a PB of 46.1sec and is the current NSW State Champ. He ran a great leg of Australia’s 4x400m gold medal winning team at last year’s Commonwealth Games in India.

I wish them both the best and right now would find it too perilous to dare a prediction.

James certainly has the edge over Kevin on speed, but whether he knows how to take advantage of that in a 400m race is one of the big questions to answered tomorrow afternoon.

Kevin ran a very low-key 200m on the NSW Central Coast (near Gosford) two or three weeks ago in a hand-timed 21.5 with no serious opposition.

James, 20, hopefully will provide that stimulus to Kevin, 21, and vice versa. That is because Kevin is usually a tremendous finisher. So it’s on: Speed vs Strength.

Darren Clark (who ran the Oz record of 44.38 which has stood since 1988) and I will try to take splits. Clarky will walk the track with Grimmy beforehand. Kevin will only take advice after the race. Both Kev and James are great young guys, as are their respective personal coaches Larry Spencer and Stuart Miller.

KK, what stage in their training phases are they currently in?

Everyone has just emerged in the last week from the Transition Phase. Normally I’d counsel against racing during the T-phase, but we took the risk and competed anyway this time.

1 Kev Moore 46.82
2 James Grimm 47.37

3 James Gurr 48.01 (x-Seton Hall, more 800m these days)
4 Paul Cummings 48.06
5 Joshua Ralph 48.52
6 Danny Brandwood 48.58
7 Matt Mooney 49.18

James and Kev splits:

100 11.23. ???

200 22.36. 21.97

100-200=11.13. ???

300 34.4. 33.91

200-300=12.04. 11.94

400 47.37. 46.82

300-400=12.97. 12.91

22.36+25.01; 21.07+24.84
2.65sec. 2.88sec.

Given Kev is unlikely to have run significantly faster or slower in the first 100m (no split for Kev available), it is clear that Kev won the race on the backstretch into a headwind of around 1.5m/ps to 2pms including a headwind in the opening 100m around the bend.! James ran from lane 6, Kev from lane 3. I’m very pleased with the way both guys approached their race and with the way they executed their race plan, although James may have been a bit too cautious on the back straight (entering and exiting). This is Kev’s second fastest start to a domestic season. He opened slightly faster last summer but that was in February and yesterday’s race was on December 10.

So those guys would be looking at doing 6 x 200 with 200m jog recovery in sub 26?

Not sure what you’re suggesting here? They’ve been running 5x200 in sub-24 all winter and hoping some of it will stick. I think their finishing 200m splits are not yet indicative of where I hope they’ll finish up this preparation, but the headwind for the opening 200m definitely depleted them and accordingly their comehome 200m time slowed maybe close to a whole second. Then again, if the wind had turned around and they went out with it like free beer they might have blown up and their final 200m may have been even slower than it was yesterday. It isn’t always easy to run the optimal performance. However, key to that, would definitely be to bring the differential down under 2sec if possible. Darren Clark’s diff in his Oz NR 44.38 was something like 1.3sec back in 1988.

Not suggesting anything untowards KK. Trying to rap my head around the 200 session you prescribe, hoping I read it correctly. 200 at final 100 pace, with 200 jog recovery?

Just trying to learn and implement things into my athletes schedules, who are neither as fast or as time committed as those guys.

DMA, hey, sorry, I certainly wasn’t having a go at you. (I’ve always made it a rule never to upset hammer throwers etc :slight_smile:

I’ve always worked around the model established from observations (not my own) of hundreds of 45sec and faster performances over 400m conducted in biomechanics studies. That has a basic construct of 21sec out, 23sec home, differential 2sec, final 100m in 12sec or faster. First 100m approx same speed as 3rd 100m. Backstraight 100m approx 1sec faster than 1st 100m.

I realise that none of the boys who have been brought to me for training advice have ever broken 46sec and so the models don’t apply to perfection but these guys are definitely all a work in progress. Kevin is 21 and James is only 20. Matt Lynch is a little older at 25 but quite capable of getting it together in a 400m.

So we are working towards the basic model and, in the meanwhile, sets such as 5x200m in sub-24sec are attainable objectives and a stepping stone to a faster 400m race time.

Thanks Kitkat1

I have implemented some of your stategies for my guys.

I have got them down to do 27 secs for the 200m, with the aim of 5 x 200 with 200m jog. This is based on my calculations of a 50 second 400m.

They aren’t there yet, and as both have lost 4 weeks of training because of illness, work commitments and study commitments. This session has been taken out for a while (maybe the rest of the season for these guys)

Thanks for your help.

Of course, a derivative of the 5 or 6x200m off 2min/jog 200m recoveries is the 200+200 off 2min recovery (usually two sets with full recovery between sets). I use this effectively to practise our race model and/or to enhance the strength needed to finish the race (final 200m).

From NZ Secondary School Champs

[i][b]Whyte (18) took 0.95sec off the senior boys 400m record that Sam Higgie (Palmerston North Boys’ High School) ran in 1999.

His time of 46.91sec was a personal-best by 1.19sec and puts him second on the New Zealand senior men’s ranking list this season. It was an A qualifying standard for the world junior track and field championships in Barcelona in August next year.
It is an Otago men’s aged 18 and 19 record and just 0.34sec off the Otago senior men’s record set by Cory Innes nearly six years ago.

Whyte, named as a senior male athlete of the meeting, also ran a personal-best 100m when second to Kodi Harman (Mount Maunganui College) in 10.89sec. [/i]


Depending on their 200m pb, 6x200 in 26 sec model would get them under 50. I did it with my grade 12 kid last spring. He hid the first 5 of 6 in 26 with jog recoveries. 1 week later, broke 50.

Just to let you know, one of my guys had his first hit out using a peaking strategy (just as a test run). For the last 6 weeks we have been building up speed volume due to him missing 4 weeks with illness (similar to Gland Fever).

The athlete run a seasons best, about half a second faster than 2 weeks before when he was under a heavier load. So happy with the result, the athlete sent me a message (as I was at a function) saying I didn’t run hard enough in the first 200, our aim was 26 he thinks he hit high 26-low27. After Christmas we will implement more of this thread with the aim being to perform in March.

Training has been steady and my activity on this forum has been really reduced. As most of the needs are now found in my 400 M training Bible.
I am still working with a modified template that KK shared here already for some years, but now i get older my body doesn’t respond as good (easily injured)
For this year in the winter I focussed mainly on acc work, runs up to 150m, aerobic tempo, body weight circuits to prevent injury. Untill now it seems to work, although I do have my tight hamstrings and a chronic calf problem that’s controllable at the moment.
recovery is massages and using my LLLT device and allot of showers(warm and sometimes contrast).

I have started getting into the transition after doing a 4 week GPP from the KK template. That went okay.
Now I have some trouble into the SPP because speed is going up a bit rapidly. I changed the template to build up to 300m(+150) runs and the 5x200m with 2’ breaks in an alternative way and hoping it will keep me injury free.

I still compare my training times with my best year(2006 setting pb’s in 100/10.80 to 400/48.30). some traning results are:
2x4x150 walk/jog/walk -15’ av 19.4(set 1)-av 19.0(set2) (late GPP)
300+150 34.8-19.6

This year i was really missing speed in the frst 4 weeks of the GPP, and now getting into SPP times are going down more rapidly than anticipated. My questionis what to do.
Last week i ran a 250-200-180-150 in 31.5-24.6-22.2-18.2 with a 10~12 min break after a 4x80
This week: 250-200 in 30.5-23.8 I had planned to do more runs, but because of the big difference in time i thought it would be best to stop the session to prevent injury. I did stop because in the past I would have run the whole programm and than be destoyed for multiple days…or get injured.

So is this wise to do? I am still in doubt about that. On the one hand I think is was good, to stop so my body can adapt to this step forward. On the other hand I think, I could have run on of my best training runs ever yesterday(but still knowing there was a good change of getting injured).
In the end I think it was a good thing to end the session. What are your thoughts

You did exactly the correct thing. As Charlie always said: “If in doubt, leave it out. When you think you can do one more rep, you have already done one too many.”
Your progress (speed) will continue to come out over the course of your transition into competition. BUt you don’t train to train. You need to make it to the racing track, so steady as she does in training will win the race (or does that only apply to turtles?)

As Kit Kat always says; we don’t want dead heroes; can’t get it through one of my fellow sprinter’s head; I always tell him, if you want to do one more rep you’ve done too many already, he’s always injured, he believes more is better.

Hello all,

As some of you know, I run masters track, teach elementary school and coach track there as well. Well, I just added a new hat, coaching a 200/400m hopeful who has some raw talent, but has a long history of injury problems and inconsistent training.

We decided to give this outdoor season a full effort. Obviously, I am very limited in my ability to maneuver as the season is very near its beginning, so I guess we will have to be realistic about the potential for progress, but I remain hopeful. I think his expectations are probably somewhat optimistic, but I’m not going to say much at the moment.

He ran a few indoor meets this season despite having a painful foot problem. He ran 35 flat FAT in the indoor 300m on a flat track. He ran 6.95 in the 60m as well. I would say that he has some very good natural talent, but training has been very inconsistent, and his training age must be considered low. His technique is not a strength either.

His PB’s are 10.85 in the 100, 21.62 in the outdoor 200m, and 34.80 in the 300m indoors. He is 6’5, so running indoors may not be the best indicator of his overall ability.

He wants to run at the Canadian National trials, thus must achieve 21.60 in the 200m, and 48.30 in the 400m. Nationals are from June 27-30th. As you can see, we’ve got our work cut out for us!

I will keep a journal, but here is the basic breakdown: we did a 6 week GPP, keeping everything on the grass or turf with minimal turn work, followed by a rest/test week. In the test week, he ran the 300m in 34.50 and the 150m in 16.31, both hand timed. They were run outdoors in 4C weather.

We were both slightly disappointed with his times (I don’t know why I was disappointed, he had been doing zero training prior!), but hugely encouraged by his increasing fitness. Prior to the GPP, he would not have been able to run a flat out 300m and walk away as if it was no big deal, then run a 150 about 20 minutes later.

I asked him to run the 300m smoothly, as he usually goes out like a kamikaze and drags ass home, so that may not have helped.

After the rest/test, I transitioned him for about 10 days into some shorter speed work (accels, a couple of 50’s), and we booked a trip to a southern meet with a fantastic track, excellent weather, and an appropriate level of competition. Charlie’s advice from the taper DVD was ringing in my head, “go to the conditions if they wont come to you!”

He had lane 5, +1.7 wind, 25C weather with some humidity, and a bunch of guys running 21-22 to mix it up with. Unfortunately, he strained his groin in his run-out just prior to his race! Shit! “Now we know why you don’t race coming right out of the GPP” was ESTI’s deadpan response when I told him the result. I told the athlete that it was my fault for pushing into racing too quickly. Hopefully he isn’t too discouraged mentally, because we still have a lot of work to do.

What is my best move here? I am mindful of Charlie’s words of playing to an athlete’s strengths- this guy really benefits from speed but has always been hurt from it.

Should I move into a carefully managed KK style transition phase, waiting until early June to intensify the speed through some 200m races and appropriate Charlie style short to long 400 sessions? I have to be careful with speed, as though he responds very well to speed work from an improvement standpoint, he has consistently hurt himself in the past. Usually he runs a fast 150 or 200 in practice and ends up with stress fractures in his shins, or foot issues. I suspect a lot of this stemmed from running the turn indoors, which is suicidal at 6’5 with some decent 150 speed (he’s run consistently in the mid-high 15’s in practice in the past).

Fitness is also a major concern, so I consulted with ESTI and we thought that keeping the 5x200 in once a week would be wise instead of going with 2x2x200 at this point.

I was thinking of following the transition plan for 4 weeks with some 200m races to help his speed starting in late May, transitioning into some 400m Short to Long type workouts in early June, and trying to run some decent races in mid-June. I have to confirm what date he needs to hit a qualifying time by. Also, we may need to find some good conditions elsewhere so he can have a chance at a decent time.

KitKat, do you have any advice? Would anyone else care to weigh in?

how old is he?

How long ago were his PB’s?

It appears he has some significant time away from training till he started GPP, how long and what did he do?

Hi John,

He just turned 23. He sort-of trained for indoors and ran the 6.95 and 35 flat this year. His 21.62 was from two years ago, and he ran 21.68 last summer off of virtually zero base, and workouts that mainly consisted of 3x30, 3x60, 2x200. Of course, he ended up hurt again and the 21.68 was his only open race. He allegedly split 47.2 in a 4x400 relay the same day but I didn’t see it, don’t trust his former coach’s hand times, and it isn’t a FAT time so I don’t count it.

He ran some indoor races in January and then didn’t train much due to a recurring foot problem (either a high ankle sprain or a stress fracture). We have seen Dr. Galea about it and are awaiting an MRI.

On Angela’s advice I kept him off turns, and we stayed off the track 95% of the time during the GPP, only venturing on for limited reps to allow a gentle transition for his time trial on the track.

It seems you should be looking for consistency before anything else. The GPP period was a good first step. Of course, there are certain dates, but you can’t push things beyond his current limits. And of course, when there are many things to work on within a limited time frame, some of them will remain ‘unsolved’ until next season. Be patient and first look for a healthy body (I know you do, just saying…). All the best!

So to update the above info about my guy mentioned above…after our failed 200m experiment down south, I have kept him out of 200m races for the time being. His hip flexor strain healed fairly quickly, and we got back to work after about a week of bike workouts, some lifting, and EMS.

I took him through the KitKat transition phase, but he raced a couple of 400’s during that time. The first one was in Windsor, a meet I couldn’t make it to. He went pretty nuts, with reliable splitters getting him at 200m in 21.8, and hitting 300 in 33.8 (a new hand-timed PB) before blowing up in the last 100 and finishing in 48.63- still a 400m PB. He learned the hard way that taking it out at 21.8 when your 200m speed is around 21.5 is NOT wise!

A couple of weeks later, he raced another 400m and came through 200m in a sluggish 23.0, but he finished strong and ran 48.09 for another PB. I’ve tried to keep some work in there, so the week of the first race we did 2x2x200, while the week of the last race we did a single set of 2x200 with the first rep tempo in 23.00, with the backup rep in 22.9 off two minutes rest.

We are just completing our last week of transition right now, and he’s racing on Saturday again. Last Friday, we did 3xEFE 40-20-20, and his technique is much improved. We also did 6x15m starts to get him to extend his lead arm. He comes out like a 5’5 guy fighting for frequency, when all he needs to do is extend and use his 6’5 size and strength. I wanted to do a few 30’s and 60’s, but he was getting tired so we opted for a single standing start 150 instead. It was a nice day with a pleasant tailwind, so I knew he had a good chance at a confidence boosting time. He ran 15.72 from a standing start, his best 150 of the season, and it was a huge psychological boost for him to be back in the 15’s.

Monday he ran with another guy near his level, and they went 350, 200, 150. The 350 was under control in 41 seconds, and the 200 was pretty fast, 21.35 including reaction time off an “on your mark, set, go” command. The final 150 I asked him to run smoothly at 95%, keeping in mind his big SB in the 150 on Friday. I’ve noticed in the past that his previous coach would get him to run fantastic times in the 150 for two or three weeks in a row (off of no base, incidentally), and bam, like clockwork he’s hurt the third week. Once you get a great result, it’s probably wise to let him recover a bit before letting him run fast again.

This week, I’m leaving the 200+200 out during race week, and we substituted bike tempo yesterday instead, and focused on some deep massage to get him loose. The Olympic trials qualifying standard is 48.30, and he has already run under that. If we can get a good result this weekend, then we will probably go to the trials in Calgary at the end of the month.

I am cautiously optimistic. I think he has the potential to run a little bit faster this weekend. Everything has been going well, and he learned not to go out too hard from his first race, and not to go out too easy in his second. Let’s hope the third race will lead to a further improvement in pace judgement, and a slightly faster time (which will improve his seeding at the trials). Clearly going forward, race modelling is going to be a critical focus in all training sessions.

My biggest worry is losing overall fitness. We’ve been racing during transition, and only got through a single 6 week GPP block. After this weekend, if we end up tapering for trials, does anyone have any ideas on how to modify the taper a bit?