[Supertraining] Re: Strength Training for a 800m runner(In Season)

Wednesday, 16 January 2008      0 comments

Nick, thanks for the response. I recall most of our earlier
discussion on this subject. Here is my general approach based on many
years of track and road racing -- albeit at an amateur level -- and I
can't claim to have coached any elite athletes.

1. The 800m is still mostly an aerobic race (<>60%). It looks like a
sprint sometimes and there clearly is a high anaerobic requirement.
However, I'm not convinced many 400 metre runners make successful
adaptations to 800m. The reasons may be physiological and

2. We don't really know if weight training improves performance in
800m racers even though, as discussed previously, some studies
suggest improvement in running economy and perhaps speed in middle
distance runners.

3. If you read the professional 800 metre forums, which I do from
time to time, you can see that the main point of disagreement is to
do with the balance between intensity and volume (hey, where have I
heard that before?). Strength weight training is mentioned from time
to time, and at least some of them seem to do some gym work, but it
does not seem to rate highly in discussion, which is not necessarily
a good guide.

4. As most of these guys seem to agree, there is not one single
training model that works for everyone. Naturally, this may have to
do with percentage fibre type etc. You have the guys coming down from
1500 and 5000 and the guys and gals coming up from 400. And they
document some people moving up from 400 metres who are just not able
to perform at 800 no matter how they train.

5. Even though my response to Brian may have seemed a little harsh
(sorry Brian), I was concerned that he seemed too keen to concentrate
on gym work. I may be mistaken. I hope he is doing at least 80 kms/wk
on the road plus the necessary sprint and track intervals. Steve
Ovett by the way (and others), did up to 200 kms/week. Yet he still
managed to run 11.8s from 1300-1400 metres in a 1500m race that he

6. I am not against some weight training for middle distance and up.
My cautionary approach is that heavy strength training, eg, 2-4RM low
volume etc might best be done pre-season because we don't really know
how this might affect other elements of 800m capacity if done in-
season. I am not so concerned about bulking up because the track and
road work will knock this down for sure.

7. Also, if training can be done with specificity for an event, then
that's pretty much where most training should concentrate. I question
whether weight strength training in-season would provide advantages
over similar time spent running hills, which would build the type of
specific strength required, and which seems to be successfully
utilised by most middle distance runners. I understand that one could
do both -- as long as it does not down-regulate other important
adaptations, eg, aerobic capacity, capillary and mitochondrial

8. As I stated, some explosive type training in-season would be my
preference. I would also monitor vertical jump performance, which
might go some way toward establishing that no elastic component has
been compromised with low-volume strength training. I note one study
that suggests this could occur. (I recall Carl Lewis saying that the
worst season he had was the one he spent in the gym.)

9. I understand that Tabata training could supplement other high-
intensity training. However, my objection relates to my point above.
Why would one do Tabata training in a gym when you can do much more
specific, high-intensity running training on a track or hills with
superior specificity. Lactate is lactate and capillaries are
capillaries. You won't do better for either than track intervals or
road running respectively in my view.

10. Having said that, I understand the Tabata weights idea, eg Dan
John, although I had not heard of it previously. I do something
similar in training for masters sprints. Here's my main strength
program in-season:

a. Barbell hang clean press (explosive) 3x8 (about 40% 1RM)
b. Romanian deadlifts (3x10) (about 60%)
c. Hang jump squats with barbell (small bar) or dumbbells, or box
marches with plenty of height.
d. I precede all this (after mild warmup) with two 5 minutes sessions
on bike or treadmill, each one building to the last two minutes at 90-
95% max heart rate with last 30 seconds flat out -- with two minutes
break in between. Or, a full ten minute treadmill or bike session
building to 90-100% over last three minutes.

I'm well warm by the time I reach the weights room :-). I do a few
other isolation exercises that I enjoy at about 8-12RM. Soon, I'll
back off and do mostly track work while racing.

But back to 800m. Because of the aerobic component in the 800m, what
I might experiment with for sprints could be much more of a risk for
Brian because of the potential conflict of adaptations.

There may indeed be several routes to success with the 800 metres, so
in retrospect, Brian probably should experiment but take note of what
the minimum requirements are for high performance in this race.

Kind regards,

Paul Rogers
Gympie, Australia

--- In Supertraining@yahoogroups.com, "Nick Tatalias"
<nick.tatalias@...> wrote:
> Hi Paul
> If you recall Brian is a converted 400m hurdle runner. In sprint
> weight training seems quite appropriate. In my view the 800m is
almost the
> same a sprint event if not the same. Here is my logic as to why
Brian should
> lift weights. Given the recent posts on the energy system demands
of sport
> I think it may be useful to analyse this for an 800m run. The
event can be
> run at quite a pace, or tactically (which favours a runner like
Brian who
> has speed and sprint endurance). In previous discussions it was
> that after the P-Cr system was exhausted (at around 30 seconds) the
> glycolytic system was the major contributor to the energy system.
> twitch (type II A) with mitochondria for metabolising glucose, re-
> lactates and pyruvates would be the muscle of choice to provide the
> running the 800m as the event is usually over before the Type II A
> are used up and Type I muscles must be used. Usually the Type II A
> last for about 3 minutes if I recall the posts. The reason I
conclude that
> Type II A muscles fibre are preferable to Type I is that the force
> generated by these muscles is significantly higher and the rate of
> development is greater also making athletic endevour faster and more
> explosive. Further more in post from about a year ago around the
> 2001 study it was proposed as part of that study that the bodies
ability to
> maintain (with out fatigue) strength to rebound the landing forces
was what
> made athletes running at top speed run at that speed. Stronger
> were able to maintain top speed running for longer and had longer
> lengths thus covering the ground faster. Thus to be able to run
faster for
> longer, the athlete should build strength but not at the expense of
> increased body mass (relative strength). Low volume higher
> (defined as % of 1RM in this instance) would be beneficial in
> off season strength gains without stimulating inappropriate mass
> hypertrophy. This was why I suggested the low volume high % of 1RM
(80% to
> 85% perhaps 90% in some cases) programme.
> Brian's second question about Tabata protocols adapted to strength
> or running for that matter, was not that silly a question. Given
> "anaerobic" demands on the glycolitic system during the 800m run
> the body in a style that challenges the body to adapt to high
lactate build
> up (which repeat high intensity (this case defined as a % of sprint
speed or
> a 15RM) training may help the body adapt to endocrine system to
deal with
> the onset of acidosis (thus improve lactate formation, H+ ions from
> cells to mitochondria(intracellular) or carbonate transfer of H+ to
> extra cellular fluid and blood. Essentials of Strength Training and
> Conditioning states "Accordingly, the contribution of conditioning
> optimal performance can be realised only if intensity is maximal"
> intensity training (through Tabata style protocols) may be
beneficial. Sure
> hill sprints and weight vest running (as I alluded to in my
previous post)
> may add intensity to the training and are useful, however are they
> on their own. A system of lifting a 15RM for 8 to 12 reps in a
front squat
> (or similar full body training) for a 20 seconds followed by 10
seconds rest
> for eight sets (4 minutes total time) was popularised by coach Dan
John and
> nick-named Tabata style lifting. This type of training seems to
> strength and glycolytic adaption in a very short training period
(short to
> maintain intensity). It may also improve capiliarization of the
> tissue which may improve extra cellular transfer of H+ to the
blood. "This
> indicates that resistance training results in alterations to lactate
> response similar to those from Aerobic training (42, 60, 110)" from
> Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning which also
states "The high
> intensity and low volume seen in power lifting is associate with no
> or a decrease in capillary density due to the dilution effects
eiifecs of
> muscular fibre hypertophy conversely, training of low intensity
with high
> volume such as that used by body builders, may actually increase
> capilliarization." This "Tabata" type weight training may well be
> for capiliarization and a good counter point to the low volume
> training I offered. Brians 800m running and speed drills (e.g. 600m
> sprints) may contribute to improved capiliarization and adaption to
> metabolism, but adding a strength component that does this with
light loads
> may be beneficial. One would have to make sure that this does not
> hypertrophy or this protocol may be counter productive.
> The question in all of this is how to get the results by combining
> training and gym work. I think finding a strategy that helps Brian
not over
> reach too close to the competition is helpful. In my opinion
> strength with low volume high % of 1RM (80 to 85) in the build up I
> shown. its probably a workout that is over in 20 minute and either
> second movement can be performed or Brian can leave the gym
> feeling like more is possible). I would not use Tabata type
protocols in
> the week before a race, even if they only last 4 minutes they
exhaust one
> (my personal experience) for days, if Tabata style is to be
included then in
> the weeks preceding the competition, to allow this training to
> capilliarization and facilitate lactate & energy system endocrine
> Tapering into the competition I would do the last session e.g the
> session to 85% (90% if easy) of 1RM on the Tuesday and no more gym
the rest
> of the week. Technical runs and stride through etc for running and
at low
> volumes also.
> I'd appreciate some feed back on my suggestion and my logic for
training in
> the weight room for Brian. Paul I would like to understand your
> with regards to your recomendation to Brian, as you seem to have
> experience in training runners. This way I can learn more.
> Best Regards
> Nick Tatalias
> Johannesburg
> South Africa
> On 12/01/2008, sregor99 <paulr99@...> wrote:
> >
> > --- In Supertraining@yahoogroups.com <Supertraining%
> > "itsmeyoungb" <howmanyukno@>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > I just finished my last cycle for pre season lifting and now it
> > > time for me to taper down kind of because in three weeks it
will be
> > > time for me to start competing. I am very please with where I
am at
> > > and I think that this is the strongest I've been over all.
> > >
> > > I was thinking maybe a Tabata session once a week would be good
or it
> > > could be my last workout before the meet that week and maybe two
> > > heavy lifting sessions early in the week. Just an idea.
> > >
> > > Thank You,
> > > Brian Archield
> > > Tampa,Florida USA
> >
> > Brian, with all due respect, why on earth would you consider
> > doing 'Tabata protocol' training when you're an 800 metre runner?
> > goodness sake, get outside on the track or do some hills. Get a
> > 800 metre track training program and forget about the trivia.
> >
> > And don't lift heavy in-season. You're a middle distance runner
not a
> > freakin' powerlifter! Do heavy stuff pre-season if you want to,
> > power train in-season if you want to do weights. 60%1RM max
> > plyos, and no more.
> >
> > Paul Rogers
> > Gympie, Australia
> >
> >
> >
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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