Although there are still some wonderful fall races left in the year, the 2019 race season is coming to a close.  Unfortunately, this is the time where many athletes lose focus and lack direction in their training.

Regardless of whether or not you have race plans for spring, there are some things you can do now to set yourself up for a strong season of 2020 races without burning yourself out during the winter.  So what does that look like?

Base Building & Mechanics

If you have no intention of racing until spring, you ideally want to use the fall to focus on movement mechanics and rebuilding your aerobic base.  Your aerobic base (i.e. endurance) is best built through slow steady runs with weekly or bi-weekly total volume increases, and regularly spaced recovery weeks.  In terms of movement mechanics, since your overall training intensity is low (and therefore fatigue is low), you can make a much greater impact on your running technique.  Check out the workout below.

Technique Focused Workout

  • 10 minutes easy jogging
  • Dynamic warm-up (leg swings, arm circles, lunge twists)*** be sure to add in a skip between each rep of each exercise to maintain an elevated heart rate***
  • 2 x 5 squat jumps (1 min walk break between each set)
  • 4 x 50m strides (70% of max intensity – key here is to stay RELAXED)
  • 3 x 20m rhythm skips (or “A” skips – focus on the DOWN motion)
  • 3 x 20m rhythm skips for height (get as much airtime as possible with each jump)
  • 4 x 50m strides (75-80%)
  • 2 x 50m excels (progressively get faster – up to 80-85%)
  • 10 laps as:
    • Odds:  Stride straights/ jog corners
    • Evens: Easy Jog

You will notice that there is a low volume of running in this workout.  This is intentionally done to limit fatigue early in the season.  Instead, the focus is on coordination and running technique. This is an example of the type of workout I plan for the LYNX track sessions I coach on Thursday nights on the MRU track. Email if you would like to try out a session with us!

Keep in Mind…

  • Squat jumps:  Ensure these are MAX HEIGHT.  This exercise is useless if you are not trying to get as high off the ground as possible.  It is also very important that you take ample rest between each set to get maximal muscle recruitment on the following sets
  • Strides/ excels:  Use these to practice relaxing throughout your shoulders and hands.  Although these are both fast, it is important that you do not “clench” your muscles, as this will slow you down.
  • Rhythm skips:  The purpose of this exercise is to improve your impulse and coordination.  Better sequencing of muscles improves the efficiency of those muscles – and efficiency improves economy!  Think about using your arm to help drive your opposite leg down towards the ground while maintaining a tall posture.

It is important to keep in mind that these movements may feel awkward and your ability to generate power in the jumps may not be great. However, the more you practice, the more your muscles will learn to work more efficiently together and increase your power output (the basis behind plyometrics!)

For more information or further clarification on any of these movements, contact Coach Amanda. Or connect with Amanda at and discuss how you can better adapt or incorporate these movements into your own training.