Throughout this Blog we are going to look how to put together a varied boot camp run training programme to add variety to your sessions and also get the best performance from your training.
I have met so many clients that use running as their main form of exercise and the reasons are quite simple:
. It is a very cheap form of exercise as all you need is a pair of trainers.
. You can run anywhere whether you are on holiday abroad or away on business.
. It is very easy to assess your progress.
. It is very sociable as you can do it with your family, friends or even the dog.
I am a great believer that running is the best form of exercise and let me explain why:
Most people exercise to lose weight and decrease their percentage of body fat. Most forms of exercise like cycling, cross trainer, rowing machine and swimming keep the body moving in a smooth range of movements. However, when we run the body goes through jerky up jumpy motions where the fat in the thighs and arms are bouncing around and slapping against other parts of the body. These sporadic motions help to break the fat down into a more usable ingredient that can be mixed with carbohydrates and disseminated from the body.
The most popular boot camp running session is the endurance run when an individual will start running at a moderate pace that can be maintained for between 20 Â– 90 minutes. Their heart rate rises gradually at the start of their run, remains at the same level for the duration of the session, then slowly decreases at the end of the run. This is a great session as it increases your bodyÂ’s mitochondria. Oh no – big word! Mitochondria are simply the cooking pots in the body responsible for producing energy. So if you increase your bodyÂ’s efficiency of producing energy you can produce a higher performance output at the same given work rate or heart rate.
The training sessions that are less popular are the shorter faster training sessions that are more explosive and exertive. They have many different names such as lactate threshold, sprint session, lactate tolerance or fartlek. Fartlek is a Swedish word for speed play and describes these sessions very well. A typical boot camp session could be held at a 400m running track. It would involve sprinting around the track once and then walking around as a recovery. This generates high levels of lactic acid in the legs – lactic acid is the substance that causes the burning sensation you feel in your muscles when you work anaerobically (without oxygen or very hard). In the late 1860Â’s to early 1980Â’s most athletes and coaches alike cursed lactic acid as they thought it was a counterproductive substance that caused them to slow down or stop. Over the last few decades however there has been much research carried out that confirms the important role lactic acid plays. Firstly, it is a safety mechanism that causes us to slow down when we work beyond our capabilities to prevent us from killing ourselves. Most importantly we have learned that in the presence of oxygen it can help to regenerate into energy.
If we rewind a few steps I explained that on the running track (as we do at reboot fitness boot camp) if we run around it as fast as we can it will build up high levels of lactate; we then walk around the track to recover. As we walk around our breathing rate will have increased therefore taking on more oxygen and lactic acid in the presence of oxygen, which will turn into energy.
The other thing that is quite apparent is that our bodies will adapt to their surroundings. If we sit at a desk all day and eat pies and chocky bars we will get fat. However, if we demand high levels of lactate and then recover on a regular basis our bodies will adapt and become efficient at doing so. A typical boot camp track session would include 400 metres x 2 with a 400 metres rest in between, 200 metres x 4 with a 200 metres rest in between and 100 metres x 8 with a 100 metres rest in between. The first time we do this session our bodies will find it difficult to recover in between sets and, depending on your fitness levels, you may need to cut the session down into 400m x 1, 200m x 2 and 100m x 4. As you get fitter you will be able to increase the amount you do.
This is the type of training session that will bring down your 10km, half marathon or marathon time. If you only run 10 km and one day try to increase your speed your body will start to produce higher levels of lactate and not be able to deal with it effectively. If, however, you teach your body to cope with much higher levels of lactate during sprint sessions then when you slightly increase these levels in your endurance run your body knows what to do.
Last week we saw athletes run the great North Run at a sprint pace and manage to maintain it over 13.1 miles. The reason for this is that they have carried out so many fartlek type training sessions that their bodies can produce lactate efficiently, ie use oxygen to turn lactate into energy and then use that energy to produce more lactate and so on and so on. Like I said, this wonÂ’t happen overnight your body needs to learn to adapt through training.
So why donÂ’t you give it a go and instead of just running the same old route mix it up a bit and put a sprint training session into your schedule. Reboot Dorset Fitness Boot Camp!