Four Fitness Programs.

  • Launch a fitness program from scratch.  Including two 6-week training periods that help beginners progress from three easy workouts per week to three moderately difficult workouts, while also learning to enjoy their workout regimen.
  • Develop a basic fitness regimen.  Including two 6-week training periods in which intermediate athletes adopt regular, consistent, and enjoyable training as a fitness lifestyle, thereby setting the stage for a lifetime of injury-free, adaptive training.
  • Become racing fit.  Including three 4-week training periods, during which advanced athletes learn to build racing ability by the rules.  In the process, they learn how to progress from moderately difficult to difficult (hard) workouts.
  • Racing fit and striving for mastery.  Two 6-week training periods during which master athletes learn to schedule hard and easy workouts so they can optimize workout effort in preparation for very-hard/eager racing.

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New Training; New Responsibilities

  • Among other things, our athletes will structure their workouts to build five racing abilities, ending each workout at the right moment so they don’t over train.
  • Thus, optimal training will require specialized knowledge so athletes can make correct training decisions individually, with minimal coaching supervision.
  • The BC Endurance Fitness Certification Program will teach and support its athletes so they not only increase their fitness through training, but also learn the tenets of the Hard-Easy System.

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The Course has Three Parts.

  • In part one you’ll learn how to measure exertion so you can structure your workouts to build five racing abilities (stamina, power, tempo, speed, and endurance). 
  • In part two you’ll learn how to optimize workout effort so you can maximize the adaptive value of every workout, without injury, illness, or exhaustion. 
  • And in part three you’ll learn how to put theory into practice by establishing a series of workout regimens in the context of a year-round training program.

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Lesson 2 Supplemental Material.

Supplementary Problems, Questions, and Issues.

Here is a brief outline of the sections in the Lesson 2 PowerPoint presentation:

  • We train to build ability; we are less concerned with innate talent. 
  • Intensity increases to different levels during 2-hour and 4-hour runs.
  • We structure exertion to build two abilities: stamina and endurance.

Ability is defined as having sufficient strength to achieve a training or racing purpose.  The ability to do something is the essence of the concept.

Stamina.  The ability to run long-and-slow is the primary ability in the sport of long distance running. 

  • As daunting as a 2-hour run may seem to the uninitiated, two hours of non-stop running is much easier to achieve at a slow tempo than a quick one. 
  • Slow is easier and quick is harder for any given unit of running duration, e.g., a 60-minute slow-tempo workout is easier than a 60-minute quick-tempo workout.
  • In Lesson 8 I’ll talk about how to establish a “long,” 2-hour, stamina workout regardless of your initial fitness level and without becoming sick or injured in the process.
  • Not only is stamina the primary ability, but building stamina correctly is the primary discipline. 
  • In the process of building stamina, you must be able to distinguish light exertion (slow) from steady-state (quick).  And you must be able to discipline yourself to the slower, light-exertion level.
  • Thus, by definition and theory, you can’t build “stamina” with steady state exertion because you can’t run “long” enough at steady state, without encountering workout-ending fatigue.

Once a long-slow workout has been established, other workout structures can evolve from the long-slow workout base for the purpose of building other racing abilities.  But the first and most important ability is the base ability—stamina.

Talent vs. Ability.  Your talent is the factor that gets you in the ball-park of the pace you can actually run for a certain racing distance, such as the marathon. 

  • Talent refers to innate ability.  You are born with a certain level of racing talent and cannot change it to become a significantly faster athlete, though age can eventually reduce an elite athlete to the jogger-or-walker level.
  • Here’s a rough list of talent levels, with the approximate pace range they are capable of doing at their “slow,” light-exertion pace:
  • Fitness Walker.  19-21
  • Walker.  17-19
  • Walker-Jogger.  15-17
  • Jogger.  13-15
  • Runner.  11-13
  • Racer.  9-11
  • Elite.  7-9
  • World Class.  5-7
  • In contrast to talent, “ability” is the strength that training builds upon your fund of innate talent.  Trained ability enables you to run faster than your untrained talent allows. 
  • But how far can increased ability take you on the path to greater talent?

Let’s suppose, for example, a walker wants to become a jogger.  Are these talent levels separated by an unbridgeable gap, or would it be possible for the walker to bridge an ability continuum?  What does the hard-easy system say about this question?

There are some interesting differences between walking and jogging.

  • Walkers, by definition, have one foot on the ground at all times.  Joggers and their faster brethren, by contrast, become increasingly more airborne as their talent grows. 
  • Would you say becoming airborne takes more or less effort than remaining on the ground? 
  • Which of the following takes more effort: a longer or shorter airborne stride? 
  • Suppose someone takes a long stride at steady state. 
  • How much effort does he save by being suspended weightless in mid-stride…
  • …Compared with another athlete who has to take much shorter strides at steady state?
  • Thus, someone who is jogging at, say, 16 minutes per mile (MPM) will have a higher heart rate than he/she would have while walking at the same 16 minutes per mile.  This is because it takes more effort to become airborne at a jogging 16 mpm pace than at a walking 16 mpm pace. 
  • In this case, effort refers to exertion, the components of which are: heart rate, breathing, power, tempo, and intensity. 
  • Note: a jogger can appear to get airborne for a brief moment, even though he/she still has both feet on the ground.  Nonetheless, the mere appearance of getting airborne is enough to raise the jogger’s exertion above his/her walking, same-pace exertion level. 
  • Similarly, a walker who jogs at another walker’s light-exertion walking pace will work harder than the walking walker.  

Thus, to progress in stages from walking to jogging, the initial stage should be to get used to jogging at one’s walking pace.

  • Though walkers are constrained to the one-foot-on-the-ground rule, and racers become more radically airborne than joggers,
  • Light exertion is much the same for all talent levels: conversational, held-back, slow and very comfortable, at approximately 60-69 percent of maximum heart rate. 

For discussion in your small group:  Is “slow” the same for all talent levels? 

  • Would you say the number of steps per minute at a “slow” tempo is roughly the same for all talent levels, including the following range: runner, jogger, walker? 
  • Suppose they were all going at the same exertion level? And suppose that level was steady state.  Would one (or another) group take significantly more steps at steady state than the other two?  (Answer in next lesson supplement.)
  • Which of the following would take the longest steps at steady state: a world-class athlete or a jogger?  Which would take the most steps: a world-class athlete or a jogger?