WEEK 10 – MARCH 19, 2017
In week 10, we continued our interval training progression, increasing to six sets of 4-minute “work” intervals with 2-minute “recovery” intervals. As the length of the work intervals continues to grow, it’s important to exercise at the correct heart rate for you as an individual. For information about finding your target heart rate, see the Week Nine recap.
Heart rate is important to monitor because it gives you an objective measure of how hard you’re working. It’s worth noting that besides making sure you’re working hard enough, it’s equally important that you don’t work too hard. We’ve described the intervals as “comfortably hard”. If you work too hard – outside of your target heart rate – it will produce diminishing returns and increase the chance of injury.
Finally, many people wear heart rate monitors or smart watches with a heart rate function. These can be great tools, but be sure to verify the numbers on those devices manually as they sometimes don’t register accurately in the cold.
WEEK 9 – MARCH 12, 2017
In week nine, we progressed to 3-minute “work” intervals with a 1-minute “recovery.” We described the intended effort of the work intervals as being comfortably hard, meaning it should be difficult to carry on a conversation but still possible to respond in one or two-word answers to a question.
Defining the effort as “comfortably hard” is sufficient for most cases, but in order to be more precise in determining what pace is appropriate for each individual, we measure heart rate.
The key to effectively using heart rate for training is to identify an accurate max heart rate. For the sake of this program, we will use a basic method of estimation.
The target heart rate range for the work intervals is 88-92% of max heart rate. Keeping in mind that this is just an approximation, one way to estimate max heart rate range is to subtract your age from 220 and multiply that number by .9. Using this method, a 50-year-old person would arrive at an estimated heart rate goal of 149-156 beats per minute for work intervals: .9 x (220-50) = 153.
Monitoring heart rate during recovery intervals is equally important. As fitness increases, heart rate will drop more quickly, but in general, you should see heart rate drop to 70-75% of max heart rate. Using the same formula as above to identify a target, a 50 year-old would arrive at an estimated heart rate goal of 119-128: .7 x (220-50) = 119. If your heart rate doesn’t drop enough during the recovery interval, slow down.
Monitoring heart rate can be an effective tool for training, but perceived effort is just as important. Work intervals should never leave you completely exhausted so listen to your body and adjust your effort as needed even if it doesn’t match up exactly with your heart rate targets.
WEEK 8 – march 5, 2017
Week eight was the start of a six-week period of interval training before we begin tapering for the Eugene Marathon weekend. Interval training is a generic term for any prescribed change of pace or effort during a workout. Within any interval workout there will be alternating “work” intervals and “recovery” intervals; the duration and pace of the work and recovery intervals will vary widely depending on the intention of the workout.
The intervals that we did in week eight and that we will do over the next five weeks are called “threshold intervals”. This type of interval training should be done at about 90% of maximum heart rate. We’ll discuss heart rate training more specifically next week, but for now you can focus on running or walking “comfortably hard” during the intervals.
One way to know if you’re at the intended effort level is based on how well you can carry on a conversation; during each work interval your effort should be hard enough that it’s difficult to carry on a conversation, but not so hard that you can’t respond in one or two-word answers to a question. The recovery intervals between harder efforts should be easy enough that before starting the next work interval, you’re back to being conversational.
Remember: interval training, like every other aspect of TrackTown Fitness, should be individualized based on your own goals and fitness level. Interval training may not be right for everyone; if you have questions about how these workouts can complement your fitness goals, please ask one of the coaches on Sunday!
WEEK 7 – FEBRUARY 26, 2017
In Week Seven we introduced strength training for running and walking. The purpose of strength training in the context of TrackTown Fitness is to develop and maintain the mobility and strength that will help minimize the risk of running or walking related injuries.
In this video we’ll focus on three basic strength building movements. These can be done three times each week, starting with three sets of three to five repetitions and increasing to three sets of ten repetitions over the next four weeks.
Keep in mind that the purpose of these exercises is not to increase muscle mass significantly. Stay focused on doing the movements slowly, smoothly, and intentionally rather than increasing weight or repetitions too quickly.
WEEK 6 – FEBRUARY 19, 2017
In week six, we continued our four-week buildup that’s preparing everyone for specific interval training beginning March 5. We kept the faster intervals at 300m with 100m recovery for those who are ready, with the option for shorter fast intervals for those new to the program or for whom the longer intervals aren’t appropriate.
We also discussed the value of setting goals for TrackTown Fitness participants. We identified four categories and encouraged everyone to identify a specific goal for the remaining 10 weeks of TrackTown Fitness and beyond.
It’s important to set specific, achievable goals in order to stay focused, stay motivated and to create a point of reference for monitoring progress and making adjustments. Goals should be adjusted when necessary and used to help determine day-to-day exercise decisions.
WEEK 5 – FEBRUARY 12, 2017
In week five, we continued to increase the distance of each fast portion of our run/walk fitness program. After alternating fast and slow 100 meters for the first three weeks, followed by 200m faster with 100m slower in the fourth week, we increased to 300m faster with 100m slower. This progression will continue for two more weeks before we begin a six-week period of specific interval and tempo training.
In week five, we also introduced some fundamental core strengthening exercises that you can see demonstrated in the video below. These exercises will help reinforce good posture while running or walking and should be done 3-5 days each week, starting with just 5-10 repetitions (15-20 seconds on the planks) and progressing up to three sets of 10 reps of each exercise (30 seconds on the planks) over the course of the next 10 weeks.
WEEK 4 – february 5, 2017
In week four, we transitioned from a focus on consistency to the beginning of a four-week progression. The exercise time remained at approximately 45 minutes, but we moved from alternating pace every 100m to maintaining the faster pace for 200m – 200m fast, 100m slow. This progression will continue through February and will lead us into a six-week period of specific interval and tempo training.
The rate of progression for any individual may differ from what we prescribe each week. In fact, some individuals may choose to simply maintain consistent exercise without any progression at all and we fully support that. The goal of TrackTown Fitness is to contribute to the health of our community; we encourage new participants to join at any time and all participants to make decisions about their training and exercise program based on individual goals and current fitness.
TrackTown Fitness Rewards
TrackTown Fitness Rewards is a new program that rewards your consistent participation at TrackTown Fitness. Participants earn their first reward after participating four times. Nearly 50 people had perfect attendance through the first four weeks, earning themselves 25% off entry to the Eugene Marathon, Half Marathon or 5K.
It’s not too late to start earning rewards; there are still 12 weeks left in the TrackTown Fitness season, so set a goal today and start earning your rewards!
4 WEEKS – 25% off entry to the Eugene Marathon, Half Marathon or 5K
8 WEEKS – TrackTown Fitness t-shirt
12 WEEKS – 50% off entry to the Eugene Marathon, Half Marathon or 5K
16 WEEKS – 2-day ticket package for two to the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field
WEEK 3 – JANUARY 29, 2017
In week three we finished our introductory phase by demonstrating some fundamental form and mechanical concepts that can help anyone make small adjustments to their form in order to stay healthy and consistent.
The video below is a quick review of the three primary concepts we discussed, along with cues to help with each.
This Sunday will be the first week of a four-week buildup in which we will increase the distance of each faster portion. For the first three weeks we alternated 100m faster with 100m slower; this week we’ll progress that to 200m faster with 100m slower and we’ll continue that progression over the next four weeks.
Even through there is a progression to TrackTown Fitness, it’s never too late to join! Newcomers are welcome at any point in the program and we’ll make sure no one is left behind.
WEEK 2 – JANUARY 22, 2017
In week two, we continued our introductory phase by demonstrating warm–up movements that can be used before and after every run or walk to increase balance, mobility and muscle health. These movements are one part of your “tool box” for consistent, healthy exercise.
The video below reviews the movements that were demonstrated last Sunday. We will use these movements each week before beginning to run or walk, so make sure you’re familiar with them!
Remember, to build consistency set a goal of running or walking at least three times a week. This Sunday will be our final introductory week before we begin to increase the distance of the fast portions of the run/walk, so don’t forget to invite your friends, family and colleagues to join in the fun!
Week 1 – January 15, 2017
In week one, we told you that TrackTown Fitness values consistency above all else because consistency is progress. The question of what contributes to long-term consistency is what the TrackTown Fitness program is designed to address.
Over the next 15 weeks, we will explore topics and strategies that comprise your individual “tool box” for consistent, healthy exercise. We’ll cover the mechanics of running and walking, strength and core stability training, interval and heart rate training and much more.
This isn’t about running seven days a week, or trying to do more miles than your friends. It’s about making informed decisions each day on what to do and what not to do in order to allow your body to handle the stress of exercise and to keep your mind excited and engaged.
For now, your focus should be on getting out the door for some form of exercise at least three times a week. There’s no run or walk that’s too short, but it is possible to go too far or too fast which could lead to injury which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid!
This Sunday, we’ll show you a variety of warm-up movements that will help improve your overall mobility, balance and muscle health on the road to becoming more consistent runners and walkers.