Phase Four

Coordination: 4 – 6 weeks

Fine-Tuning: Putting It All Together

This period is specifically geared for race readiness by blending together all the elements so far developed and adding the final element of speed.

The three types of training added in the coordination phase are

  1. Time trials: These are runs over one distance, say 1 mile or 10k, which are race practice. Many athletes use races as part of training (time trials). If you do so, choose a training race that is shorter than your target race distance so that you will be able to run at your target race pace or faster. The purpose of time trials is to simulate race conditions so you can practice running the entire distance smoothly at seven-eighths effort. Some pointers for time trials:
    • If your cannot maintain your pace over the distance and find that the last half is slower than your first half then you need to do a solid distance run to reinforce your base training.
    • If you can maintain pace but find it hard to get the pace going at the start then you need to do more speed work.
    • If your pace is erratic then you need to do more pace work so you can lock your race pace into your neurology.
  2. Sharpeners: These short sharp mini-interval sessions maintain the anaerobic capacity gained during phase three. The shortness of the distances used also allows you to develop your sprinting ability. A typical sharpening workout is to repeatedly sprint 50 meters, jog 40 meters for several or more laps of the track. This quick acceleration/deceleration not only quickens the reflexes, it also enables you to handle changes in pace thus giving you more strategic ability.
  3. Sprint Drills: These specific exercises are to develop your sprinting ability so that you can finish the race with a burst of speed. Most American sprinting drills are good. These can be added into your warm-up before your workouts.

Examples

  • High knee – quick steps with high knee action
  • Striding – high knee and kick-up in the front
  • Bounding – same as hill bounding on the flat
  • Run tall – keep your center of gravity high

Implementing Phase Four

Time trials should never be run all-out. It is not to see how fast you can run but to gauge where you stand with your race performance. Depending on how you perform these time trials, you should determine what type of workouts should be emphasized in the following days/weeks.

As the quality of training increases, the importance of easy aerobic running and jogging will become also increases. These are not to be run hard but nice and easily to help you recover from exacting workouts as well as to maintain your aerobic capacity.

This is also the time for self-discipline. You may feel strong and fast once the workload will lessen and the speed being honed. But the speed development must be controlled carefully. The temptation to see how fast you can run must be refrained.

During this period, long run must be at easy effort and fast run must be short and fast.