Sometimes trainer may need high volume workouts for students who are healthy but unaccustomed to long runs. Such training may be useful for people who want to make a debut on long distances or lose weight. Whereas I am talking about healthy individuals, we should keep in mind that they are not used to long runs physically and mentally. So they have to be gradually introduced to high training volume.
However, in real life people want result faster. Very often I have clients who need to shed a few kilos for a corporative event or prepare for their first long-distance race just in few weeks. Whereas I do not like to rush, sometimes I can train them to tolerate high volumes relatively fast.
I am doing this by splitting session into two running parts with strength exercises and stretching between.
Dividing running workout into two parts allows creating higher volume with lesser mental and physical strain. Additionally, two parts allow more variability in session. For example, you can make the first part relatively intense and make your student tired. Then, in the second segment, you teach him/her to keep steady pace and to tolerate tiredness. Or vice-versa, first portion may be relatively easy with increasing intensity during the second one.
There are two reasons for doing lower body strength exercises between running. First is straightforward — to increase leg strength which is really important for ruining. The second is a little bit more arguable. In my opinion, some strength exercises after potentially damaging workouts, including long runs, help to realign disturbing muscle fibers (see article). These exercises should not be explosive and should not include significant eccentric component.
A friend of mine, a healthy young woman, is an occasional runner. The longest distance she did was 10 km. It was two times in her life with an approximate speed of 10.5 km/hour. Her usual distances were 3 — 7 km ( rarer than once a week) with speed 10.5—11.5 km/hour.
She asked me to help her in preparation for 10 miles (16 km) event. We had just 6 weeks, and I could train her only twice a week. We decided that our goal is finishing in 1.5 hour ( an approximate speed of 11 km/hour).
My plan was to make her accustom to long continuous run while maintaining a relatively good pace.
To make physical and mental sides of training easier and at the same time to achieve significant training volume I split workout into two parts. In the first part we did the main work, and in the second we learned to tolerate tiredness. Between these parts, we did lower body strength exercise and some stretching.
Runnings gradually progressed in volume and intensity. We started from 5—2 (first part —second part) km continuous run and did 8 —5 km intervals and threshold runs at the end of the main preparation period (4-th week). At that time we made mock 10 miles race ( speed 10.3 km/hour) just to prove to her that she can run such long distances.
Remaining two weeks were tapering. She ran a few times 5—6 km with a good pace ( 11.5 km/hour).
Her race went smoothly and delightfully. We did 10 miles in 1.23.50 ( 11.5 km/hour) which is a really good time considering it was her first long-run event. Cool weather and exciting atmosphere of the race helped us.
I think in this case, when there was limited time for preparation, splitting workout method was a good choice.