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Recovery Rate, Racing Range Training (4RT)

There is no such thing as overtraining, just under resting. Every runner is a scientific experiment consisting of one subject: that individual. What works for one runner may not work for another at all.

The fundamental premise behind Recovery Rate, Racing Range Training (4RT) is simple. You run hard every time your legs are fresh. Then as soon as you get as many nights sleep as it takes your body to restore your legs to freshness again, guess what? You go hard again. Remember all improvements occur during the easy run days between hard workouts when your body is recovering and reconstituting itself.

The Racing Range part of 4RT training is a simple mathematical formula to predict your effective racing range time. In other words, how much time you will be able to put forth an all out effort in a race. Therefore by knowing how fast of a runner you are, the distance to be raced, and how many minutes you are going to have to endure the pain, you can plan how many minutes of Red line maximum output runs you are going to need to hit your goal. To calculate you Effective Racing Range, you need to know the total amount of time in minutes of every hard run, race or red line run executed over the past 12 weeks. Divide this total number of minutes by 12 to get your weekly average. Now multiply it by two. This is your Effective Race Range. Example: For the past 12 weeks you have done one 20 minute hard run each week. 12 weeks times 20 minutes equals 240 minutes. 240 minutes divided by 12 equals 20. 20 times 2 equals 40 minutes. You are in shape to tolerate 40 minutes of pain. The 40 minutes time here is a prediction of how long you will effectively be able to sustain a maximum effort before severe weakness, discomfort and distress starts to become unendurable. The ramifications are obvious. If you want to run a 15K Road Race around 60 minutes, based on 20 minutes of hard running per week, you will have an effective racing range of 40 minutes, which means, to hit that goal of a 60 minute 15K, you will have to wrestle an alligator for 20 more minutes. It can't be done. You will slow down and finish over 60 minutes.

The recovery rate in 4RT training varies from individual to individual. Each runner recovers with sleep. Each runner has to figure out how many minutes of going hard is restored or neutralized by one nights sleep.

I have training logs going back to 1973. Going over what I used to do then at age 20 with what I do now at age 40, it has become apparent I Need more sleep to reconstitute my legs than I did at age 20. At age 20 I could do a 30 minute hard run, get 8 hours sleep and be fresh the next day. By age 30 I could only do about 20 minutes of hard running and expect it to be neutralized by one nights sleep. Now at age 40 I'm finding for every 15 minutes I subject my legs to Red line running, I need a nights sleep to recover from it. I have a sneaky suspicion by age 50, my restoration rate will be 10 minutes per night. Remember this restoration rate is for Red line runs - which means runs right at anaerobic threshold pace or a hair under it. All out racing minutes probably doubles restoration time.

 

Another factor in 4RT training is the concept of blending. You will be doing small amounts of intervals along with your red line sustained effort timed runs. You can never get too far away from speed work or your leg muscles become mainly slow twitch operators. Believe me, there will come a time when you need to sprint and the power will just not be there. You have to keep your leg muscles imprinted and educated to going warp speed.

Now what do you do on the easy days between Red line maximum output runs? Simple, you run 45-60 minutes based on how your legs feel. Sore? Run easy. Don't worry about the distance you cover, just move your body for the time required. When you finish your 45 minute run, go immediately into 3 times 50 yard sprints with 10 seconds rest between them. These 50 yard dashes are to keep your legs ready to be able to kick at the end of a race.

4RT training is a time efficient method of training. It should appeal to the older runners who like to race year round yet only have 45-60 minutes a day to get in a workout

Listed below are some 4RT training schedules designed for a 40 year old male who needs one nights sleep for every 15 minutes he runs at Red line maximal out put (sub anaerobic pace - the pace where your body is supplying its muscles all of the oxygen they are demanding but can supply no more. If you pick up the pace you start to go into oxygen debt and you are heading for quick exhaustion).

Training to race a 20 minute 5K

  • 1 mile jog warm up
  • 1 x 200 yard or 300 yard hill hard - if no hill available, 1 x 440 hard
  • 3 minute rest
  • 1 x 10 minute Red line run
  • 3 minutes rest
  • 2 x hill or 2 x 440 - 3 minutes rest between each interval
  • Get a nights sleep

Following day:

  • 45 minute easy run 3 x 50 yard sprints
  • Get a nights sleep

Following day:

  • 1 mile jog
  • 2 x 200 yard or 300 yard hill hard - if no hill available, 2 x 440 hard
  • 3 minutes rest between each interval
  • 1 x 10 minute Red line run
  • 3 minutes rest 2 x hill or 2 x 440 - 3 minutes rest between each interval
  • Get a nights sleep

Following day:

  • Repeat easy day
  • Hold this training program for 12 weeks before you do your first serious 5K

Training to race a 40 minute 10K

  • 1 mile jog warm up
  • 2 x 300 yard hill hard - if no hill available, 2 x 440 hard
  • 3 minutes rest between each interval
  • 1 x 20 minute Red line run
  • 3 minutes rest
  • 2 x 300 yard hill or 3 x 440 - 3 minutes rest between each interval
  • Get a nights sleep

Following day:

  • 60 minute run how you feel
  • 3 x 50 yard sprints
  • Get a nights sleep

Following day:

  • 60 minute run how you feel
  • 3 x 50 yard sprints
  • Get a nights sleep

Following day:

  • Go back and repeat cycle

If on your Red line run days your times start to get slower, then your hard days are too close together. Just add another nights sleep and another easy day and you'll probably be fresh next time up.

The hills are essential. They develop your Power Stroke and will enable you to hold your pace and cadence longer once your hip flexors acclimatize to the training.

The Red line run at sub anaerobic threshold is the maximum exertion run. Besides thoroughly working out your leg muscles, it works out the most overlooked yet important muscle in training for distance racing - the heart. By raising your heart rate to its maximum and holding it for long periods of time, it gives your body the most effective conditioning workout known - race simulation. How can you ever expect to deal with the stress of racing if you never experience it during practice?

40 year old male training to race an 80 minute 15k

  • 1 mile jog warm up
  • 1 x 300 yard hill hard or 1 x 440 hard
  • 3 minutes rest
  • 1 x 40 minute Red line run
  • 3 minutes rest 1 x 300 yard hill
  • Done

This workout is done after every 5 nights of sleep. On the 4 days between the workouts, run 60 minutes how you feel, but not hard, then 3 x 50 yard dashes.

40 year old male training to race a 210 Minute (3 ½ hour marathon)

Here is where 4RT training can get tricky. The marathon is a race where somewhere out there 16 to 22 miles you are going to use up all your available energy. Then your body will have to crack fat stores via free fatty acid enzymes to keep you moving. There is only one way to simulate that experience and that is with lots of 3 hour runs. Therefore, to prepare and do a marathon right, takes six months or more. So start with the 5K workout and build up gradually to this workout. Then try to get as many months in as you can before the marathon.

  • 1 mile jog warm up
  • 1 x 300 yard hard hill
  • 3 minutes rest
  • 1 x 105 minute Red line run - it may take you months to build up to this
  • 3 minute rest
  • 1 x 300 yard hill
  • Done

Take the next day off completely

  • For the next 12 days do a 60 minute run how you feel 3 x 50 yard sprints
  • Every two weeks, repeat your 105 minute Red line run workout

Take the next day off completely

For the next 12 days do a 60 minute run how you feel
3 x 50 yard sprint

Two weeks later...

a 3½ hour run how you feel. Just move your body for 3½ hours. Doesn't have to be Red line run. Take the next day off then do 12 days at 1 hour per day 3 x 50 yard dashes Repeat cycle for as many months as you can.

No long runs or Red line runs 20 days before the marathon. You will get through the race and not be in too bad of shape afterwards.

4RT training is simple once you know your recovery rate. It doesn't take long to find it. Plus recovery rate can improve as you get into tougher and tougher condition. With 4RT training and its blend of intervals and continuous running, a runner can get the maximum training benefit in the shortest and quickest amount of time. If anyone out there takes up 4RT training, I would love to know how it worked for you. Email me at DrO@runlabdro.com