Session planning is a vital part of any training plan. Every time you go out to train there should be a plan behind that particular session. It could simply be "Recovery Run" but there should be a reason why you're doing that and that is exactly what you should do. Without planning you're just going out and exercising and although this is likely to see an improvement over time, with progressive planning you should be exercising the right muscle groups and get better results.
Here are a few tips about session planning: They should be......
Progressive, slowly getting harder over a period - not quite the same as periodisation.
They should be leading you to achieving a specific goal at a some time in the future.
Every session should exercise all muscle groups if possible.
Most sessions in all sports should include a period of doing drills.
Doing sprints and fast paced intervals are good in all sports.
Never go too far from speed - even in a long slow session it's good to plan some short fast elements.
All of the sessions we list here will be ones we have delivered as coaches to our athletes and will be appropriate for the time of year.
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We think of negative splitting as often the best way to swim a long distance swim. It means you start steadily and within your safe zone but increase the effort when you think you need to bring the race home. However, often crowded starts at races can need a different approach. This set sets out to help you start hard and then get back to your steady state swimming. It means you should be able to get away from the washing machine effect as you maintain your effort for a longer period at the start, but still can settle down to a good pace when the rough stuff has ended.
In todays session we look to improve your ability to hold a hard pace and even up the effort from that point. Use the single legged cycling to remind yourself of good pedaling technique and take that into the main set. In the 5 min at race pace make sure you make an honest effort and when you go out of the saddle up your gearing to make sure you up the effort level. Spin the recovery to flush lactate and then start again, with the same effort levels.
After the main set your legs will be slightly tired and that will make the sprints hard as they progress, even though there are only 5 of these at 20s each.
Track sessions are probably the most important sessions to hone your speed. Long Slow Runs are the backbone of your overall fitness but track sessions are ultimately controllable, so you can test your speed or make sure you can hold a pace, on a repeatable and measurable course.
Different distance runs make for running at different speeds and have different training effects. We'll take you through all these effects over the weeks so you train throughout the year using all your energy systems.
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400m running at a pace well above your race pace is a great way to get used to faster running. That, in turn, will get you ready to run at a faster pace in races. Don't start off flat out on these, try to increase the pace as you go through the set.