Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Temperature + Dew Point For Pace Adjustments

Since Dew Point is a more useful measure of the water saturation of the air and thus its effect on our body while we run, I am recommending using it (rather than relative humidity), in conjunction with air temperatures, in determining warm weather pace adjustments to training.

The revised training pace adjustment formula is as follows:

Add together air temperature and dew point and see where the combined number places you on the following adjustment chart:

100 or less:   no pace adjustment
101 to 110:   0% to 0.5% pace adjustment
111 to 120:   0.5% to 1.0% pace adjustment
121 to 130:   1.0% to 2.0% pace adjustment
131 to 140:   2.0% to 3.0% pace adjustment
141 to 150:   3.0% to 4.5% pace adjustment
151 to 160:   4.5% to 6.0% pace adjustment
161 to 170:   6.0% to 8.0% pace adjustment
171 to 180:   8.0% to 10.0% pace adjustment
Above 180:   hard running not recommended

Note:  a range is given as there are numerous individual factors, such as the size, fitness and physical make-up of the runner, and their level of acclimatization to the heat and air saturation levels, that will play into how much of a pace adjustment is needed.   

The above are the pace adjustment percentages to use for continuous runs.  For repeat workouts such as 400’s 800’s, or mile repeats, I recommend using half of the continuous run adjustment as the body has a chance to cool somewhat during the recovery between repeats. 

For those who want help doing the math for these adjustments the following charts calculate the adjusted pace for various paces and % adjustments.


At the time of our planned continuous run the air temperature is 74 degrees and dew point if 71 degrees - a typical early morning in summer over much southern United States this summer.  We would add these 2 numbers together to get 145 (74 + 71).

According to our chart, a total of 145 calls for a pace adjustment of 3% to 4.5%.  We had planned to do our run at 7:00 pace under normal conditions, so we adjust the 7:00 pace by 3% to 4.5% and get an adjusted pace range of 7:13 to 7:19 per mile.  

If, under those same weather conditions we had planned to run 8 x half mile repeats at 3:00 per repeat (6:00 per mile pace).  We would cut the 3% to 4.5% pace adjustment in half and use a 1.5% to 2.25% pace adjustment.  A 1.5% to 2.25% on 6:00 pace is a 6:06 to 6:08.  So instead of targeting 3:00 per half mile, we would have an adjusted target of 3:03 to 3:04 per half mile.

Prior Method
Most of the pace adjustments obtained using this method align very closely to what I have shared previously when using relative humidity to adjust air temperature; but I believe the use of both dew point and air temperature to be a more accurate basis for the adjustment calculations, so I am offering this modification.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sharing My Workout Toolbox

My Metaphorical Workout Toolbox

One of the most valuable items I have as a coach is my workout toolbox.  This is a listing of all the workouts I use as a coach and notes about when, where, why and how to use each to its maximum effectiveness. 

I have a rather large toolbox and am always seeking ways to improve and expand it.  I am constantly reading, thinking, analyzing and talking with other coaches and runners about the various tools used in training.   But I am also picky about what is in my toolbox, so I have some very stringent criteria that must be met before a workout is added.   Before a workout is added to my tool box I must have a thorough understanding of:
  •    The basic physiology of the workout – what systems does it work and how
  •    When to use the workout
  •    How to best execute the workout
  •    Any variations of the workout and how do they differ from each other
  •    How effective is the workout at producing results

The sources for workouts are almost endless.  It is bound only by resources and imagination.  The sources of the workouts currently in my toolbox include:  personal experience as a runner, experiences as a coach, the experiences of friends and colleagues, through reading articles, books and research reports, by talking with other coaches and runners, and hours of research, analyzing and brainstorming.  

I am also not afraid to tweak workouts once they are in the toolbox.  I am always seeking ways to improve them and make them more effective or identifying new variations to be used in certain circumstances.  As new information or research is available, and as experience with each workout grows, I may modify or expand a workout in the toolbox or add a new workout.  I think my toolbox has been through the fire and proven to be extremely effective, but I am never satisfied with that, I want it to be even better and will always work to make improvements to it.  As a coach I want to have the most effective, bad-ass toolbox in the business, so I can be the most effective coach I can possibly be at helping runners reach their goals and maximum potential in the sport.

Organizing the Toolbox
My tool box is organized into 2 tiers.  The first tier is general workout category based on the primary purpose of the workout.
·         Speed
·         Stamina
·         Endurance
·         Recovery

Then under this first tier is a second tier based on the prevalence of the workout in terms of how often and when it can and should be used.  This tier is broken up into:
  •  Staple Workouts
  •  Breakout Workouts
  •  Specialty Workouts

Sharing My Toolbox
On August 1st, I will be launching a new retail page to my coaching services and resource website  On this page I will be offering to share a substantial piece of my toolbox with you, and in a detailed way beyond what is found on my websites or blog, through a product entitled:   

Coach Hadley’s Workout Toolbox

This offering will include:
  • Detailed notes, instructions and tips on the top 18 workouts in my toolbox. 
  • Training pace charts so that you can easily determine the correct pace ranges to use for each workout based on your (or your athlete’s) current fitness level 
  • All organized on to 8” x 5” note cards, laminated, so they can easily be taken to workout sites to be used and referred to.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The 5th Tenet: Passion!

“A life lived with passion, even if it fails to reach its goals, is far superior to a life lived without passion, even if it is successful”

For the last couple of years you have heard me talk about what I believe to be the 4 tenets of training for distance running in order to achieve your full potential in the sport:  consistency, capacity, frequency and mixture.   Today I want to introduce you to a 5th tenet:  Passion!

Let me explain what I mean by passion in terms of distance running, and how it is a vital component to our success.

Passion:  A deep desire and love of the sport to the point that you decide to do your very best and develop the talent you have for it.  This passion requires that you maintain a positive attitude about training and racing because running is seen as a great gift and as such it is a privilege to do no matter the outcome of the run, workout or race.

This passion, by its very definition, requires us to also approach training in a smart and disciplined manner, as well as an enthusiastic one, because it will take smart training coupled with hard training to reach our full potential.   This means while enthusiastic about workouts and working hard, we must balance that enthusiasm in order to make sure we adhere to the other tenets of training, because ultimately we must have all 5 tenets working together in unison in order to realize its full synergy.  

Thing we need to know about this passion we seek:
  • Passion is part feeling and part conscious decision – we have to want it (the easy part) AND have to make the conscious decision to embrace it and make it happen (the hard part).
  • If it is not fed and safe guarded, passion can be diminished or even extinguished and if not kept in check it can burn too high and burn out.  So the passion we seek avoids the extreme highs and lows and instead steadily and resolutely marches forward towards its goal.
  • The passion we seek is a strong burning but resolute flame, the kind that can weather the storms that will surely come from time to time, the one that will slowly forge our bodies and minds in to rock hard manifestations of distance running prowess over months and years of work.
  • When tough conditions present themselves, such as inhospitable weather or challenging courses, this passion embraces the challenge before it and see it as an opportunity to grow, harden itself and improve.  Its thoughts are never “how do I survive this” but rather “how do I conquer it”. 
  • Passion is an attitude that permeates all aspects of our training on a daily basis, not just when we get ourselves psyched up.  It is positive, it is resolute, and it is unwavering. Ups and downs in training do not affect its strength or mission. 
  • If we train with passion we have no need to brag or be obnoxious on race day to try and psych ourselves up, instead we arrive on the start line with a calm confidence, knowing we are ready for the task at hand.  

When this passion and attitude is coupled with the other 4 tenets, we become a virtually unstoppable distance running machine. The only question is when we will arrive at our goals, not if we will arrive.  That is not to say we won’t have set backs or make mistakes along the way, but when we do we will learn from them and quickly rise again and march forward again towards our goals.  Just like a fully loaded freight train, we will be almost impossible to derail until we reach our goals and beyond.

My 5 tenets to successful distance running training:
  • Consistency
  • Capacity
  • Frequency
  • Mixture
  • Passion

Monday, July 1, 2013

Staple and Breakout Workouts

A Very Motivating Breakout Speed Workout 

Every training program should be comprised of both staple workouts and breakout workouts. 

Staple Workouts:  These are the tried and true workouts that are very effective at working certain targeted systems in a very direct manner.  These workouts include things like VO2 Max repeats, LT tempo runs, and the easy pace long run.  They are simple, straight forward and usually very effective.

Breakout Workouts:  These are the workouts we add into the program in order to spice things up, work systems from a slightly different angle in order to spark new growth in order to keep the fitness progression from stagnating.  These workouts include things like hill repeats, wave tempos and progression runs.

Staple workouts will comprise the majority of the workouts we do in training but the exact mixture between staple and breakout workouts will depending on many variables including previous training cycles, number of years of purposeful training, and length of the current training cycle. 

Similarly, what breakout workouts we utilize will depend on variables such as the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, their prior training, and what distance they are training for. 

Good intuition, lots of experience, and a sound understanding of the physiology of all the workouts, are the keys to finding the right mixture between staple and breakout workouts and also finding the right workouts within each to utilize and when. 

  • Have a couple of different breakout workouts for each workout category – speed, stamina and endurance. 
  • If your fitness progression in a certain category starts to stagnate, add in a breakout workout for that category into your training. 
  • Keep a training log and note the breakout workouts you have used in the past that have been the most effective for you.