Module training: fun and preparation, at the same time

Especially in the beginning, when you start training with a method, you run into two notable stumbling blocks: the boredom of the slow workouts and the difficulty of quality ones.

Slow pace runs are nice because they are meditative and easy however, sometimes the slow pace can become alienating and lose the “childlike joy” we all find in running with our hair in the wind.
Um, assuming you’re not like me who, of hair, hasn’t seen a shadow in years.

On the other side we find quality workouts – intervals, fartleks et similia – that, because of their difficulty, make you hate having chose running as a sport.
Don’t get me wrong: quality workouts can also be a lot of fun. They give you a considerable adrenaline rush, and you have a good time as well, even though your lungs may have been left a few dozen meters behind.

So a question arises: is it really necessary to divide training so strictly?
And the answer is no, but also yes. That is, just to be clear: the answer is “it depends.”

If you are an experienced runner who needs to do specific workouts, of a certain duration and with a certain method, it is better to stay on the sharp division between different workouts because you can prepare more punctually.
But if you are a beginner who has already started running for a while and you are not particularly focused on performance, then it’s not necessary.

But how to do it?

How does it work? We learn from other sports

In swimming and, especially, cycling (we love you, triathletes), it is quite common to divide workouts into modules that combine endurance workouts with others in which we approach the threshold.

So why not do the same in running?

Clearly, for reasons of time, preparation, and energy, it is not possible to “combine” full endurance workout with quality training, but it is possible to mix them into modules to draw effectiveness from both.

The concept is very simple: at the end of an initial slow warm up, you insert intervals in which you alternate a fast pace with a recovery done at medium-slow pace. At the end of the repetitions, we interst a second phase of slow run.

Let me give you an example:

  • 20′ slow warm up
  • 2′ fast pace
  • 4′ medium-slow recovery
  • 2′ fast pace
  • 4′ medium-slow recovery
  • 2′ fast pace
  • 4′ medium-slow recovery
  • 20′ slow pace

Of course, this is only an indicative example, and the definition of the phases goes to characterize the effectiveness of the work. In this case, the workout allows you to train on some fun variations but it still remains – in its foundation – a slow workout because 6′ of fast pace does not change the substance. But we still put in a small brick to improve our quality as well.

In the coming days I will offer you other schemes that go to work on other aspects instead and that are – believe me – very fun.

(Main image credits: ridofranz on DepositPhotos.com)

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