A 5K Training Plan built on “Power Speed ENDURANCE” Principles

The first time I read Power Speed ENDURANCE: A Skill-Based Approach to Endurance Training by Brian MacKenzie was when I was a strict triathlete (AKA pre-CrossFit) and although the book was a good read – I hailed from the endurance camp known as long slow distance (LSD) so immediately dismissed the book as gimmicky. The book attempts to dismissed the notion that high training volume is needed to be a competitive endurance athlete, instead it stresses that intensity is key in much the same way as CrossFit does (I’m not sure of the history but Brian MacKenzie subsequently started CrossFit Endurance with these principles).  

Then I started doing CrossFit and began toying with the idea of trying CrossFit and triathlons at the same time.

That took me back to this book and reread it.

The book touches on almost every training aspect in the endurance world: strength, running, swimming, biking, and mobility teaching. Not just building a plan but attempting to teach each of them as a skill. As a former swimmer, this jives with the old notion that fitness is technique practiced.

The book isn’t crazy technical however and many hard core athletes may find it too basic but it provides a good foundation and some actionable items for each area to enhance everyone’s training.

Using this book and some templates I found online, I prepared the following workout plan to prepare a PR attempt at a 5K:

Week 1

Monday: WOD (here and with all the WODs below, I just used the class at my CrossFit and did the prescribed workout there so there was no correlation to the 5K goal)
Tuesday: 8 x 200m w/ 2 min rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 2 x 800m w/ 3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 5k Time Trial (TT)

Week 2

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 10 x 200m w/ 2 min rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 3-4 x 800m w/ 3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 5k @ 85% of 5k TT pace from Week 1

Week 3

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 10-12 x 200m w/ 90 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 4-5 x 800m w/ 2:30 rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 5 miles(M) @ 5k pace from Week 1

Week 4

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 4 x 400m w/ 2 min rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 3 x 1000m w/ 3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 10k Time Trial (TT)

Week 5

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 6 x 400m w/ 2 min rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 6 x 800m TT’s w/ 5 min rest…(This means SPRINT!)
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 5k @ 10k TT pace from Week 4

Week 6

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 6 x 400m w/ 90 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 2 x 200m w/90 esc rest, 2 x 400m w/ 2 min rest, 2 x 1000m w/ 3 min rest
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 7 mile (M) @ 10k TT pace from Week 4

Week 7

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 6 x 400m w/ 90 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 4 x 1000m w/ 2-3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 10 mile (M) Time Trial (TT)

Week 8

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 4 x 200m w/ 60 sec rest, 4 x 400m w/ 90 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 4 x 4 min efforts w/ 3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 5k @ 10 M TT pace from Week 7

Week 9

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 6 x 400m TT’s…w/ 3-4min rest…(This means SPRINT!)
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 5 x 4 min efforts w/ 3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 2 x 5k @ 90% of 5k TT pace from Week 1

Week 10

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 8 x 300m w/ 60 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 3 x 1200m w/ 2-3 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 10k Time Trial (TT)

Week 11

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 5 x 400m w/ 60 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 2 x 1 mile (M) w/ 5 min rest…
Friday: WOD
Sat or Sun: 3 x 5k @ 10k TT pace from Week 10 w/ 5-10 min rest…

Week 12

Monday: WOD
Tuesday: 6 x 400m w/ 60 sec rest…
Wednesday: WOD
Thursday: 3 x 1 mile (M) w/ 5 min rest…
Friday: Rest
Sat or Sun: 5k – 15k TT depending on length of upcoming event (test race day fuel sources if using any)

So how did it go? Mixed.

I missed the PR by about 1:30 (time realized was 19:40 verse a PR of 18:05) but there was some positives. 

Why didn’t I PR? The CrossFit.

Since beginning CrossFit and giving up my all-in training for triathlons, I’ve put on about 20 pounds. Let’s just say that’s all “muscle”, I honestly think that most of it is but it’s still weight that needs to be carried around and messes up your power to weight ratio. If you want to be truly competitive in the endurance world, sports specificity remains relevant as does keeping your weight low which, at least for me, it much harder while doing CrossFit. There is a quote by Tyler Hamilton in The Secret Race that to be more competitive, he would rather lose a pound than do EPO (a performance enhancing drug). I’m not sure if that is actually a fact but he believed it. 

On the plus (not talking weight here) side, I had a lot more fun going through the training program than doing purely running plans in the past. And at some point enjoyment of the training has to be a factor or it’s going to be impossible to stay with any plan. Also, what is the point? I’m not going pro at any of this so I want to have fun.

I don’t know if would use this method to really train for long course events but I think it’s a great plan for short races. I also messed around with a more informal plan that mixed in each triathlon discipline twice a week to train for a sprint tri. Again, I was somewhat disappointed by the results but the training was enjoyable.

After the CrossFit Open ends again I’m going to give this training plan another shot to get back into running shape and go from there.

Either way, read Power Speed ENDURANCE: A Skill-Based Approach to Endurance Training by Brian MacKenzie and get a different perspective on endurance training. Go to your local library and borrow it or if you prefer to waste money and own books, it can be purchased here from Amazon here (and that would help support this blog!).

 

Organizing a Half Marathon

13.1A friend of mine decided to start a charitable trust and one of the trust’s first events is to organize a half marathon, the longest endurance race to date in the town I live in. God bless him for deciding to do this and raise money for charity (the primary benefactor is the Tug McGraw Foundation).

Although a fit and active guy, he did not have much experience in the endurance world so he reached out to me since I’ve done more than my share of races, 5Ks, marathons, ironmen, ect. Then he took it one step further and suckered me into helping him under the guise of providing the “racer perspective”. I told him upfront that I have no idea what actually goes on behind the scenes of actually running a race but he convinced me to him anyway. My specific task is to help run the Finish Fest area – the part of the race it happens immediately after the runners finished the race.

This race is shaping up to be pretty big deal but I am utterly amazed by the lack of experience everyone on the board has running races and what they are able to accomplish anyway. So I have begun talking to people and scouring the internet. What I have learned so far is:

  • There are several companies online that sell race management software. The most well know is Active.com which has a nice article called How to Organize Your First Race which at first seems to provide a nice overview of the process but when you dig into it, the goal is really to sell their own proprietary race management software. A competitor of Active is Race Entry which also has a similar overview article called How to Organize a 5K. You’ll have to gauge if going the software path is the right path for you.
  • So assuming you’re not going the paid software route, what I have decided to do is start a checklist. The goal is to outline every single task you think might need to be accomplished to make my task go off without a hitch. My portion is only the Finisher Fest but if you need a good checklist to use as an example for an entire race, check this out.
  • People and connections are the most important part. You had better be on the phone talking to people, emailing, making as many new friends in this area as you can. If this is hard for you, you’re really going to struggle. It’s not my favorite thing to do but I’m enjoying this reason to work on my skills.

The race planning is still in its infancy but I am getting a bit of good luck in that the sponsorship committee has a lot of talented people from the town to gather up sponsors and vendors so they are filling in most of my vendor requirements for the finisher fest without much work from me. My main responsibility is securing the tents, allowing for their arrangement, and ensuring there is enough post race food and water. Wow, that does seem like a lot more now that I just typed it!

We’ll see if I F this up and updates will be posted either way.