CFSBK Endurance Program and Speed Series
Whether you love running, hate it with your whole being, or fall somewhere on the spectrum, building your endurance and speed are important components of fitness. Recently, you’ve probably been hearing many a wonder story from our runners at CFSBK as Coach Michael O.’s Endurance Program wrapped up its first cycle—people earning PRs at the Brooklyn Half and various 5Ks, etc. etc. You too could become one of those people, and have a shit ton of fun in the process. But don’t waste any more time! The weather is becoming increasingly glorious, demanding your presence outside, and CFSBK’s Endurance Program begins again THIS SUNDAY, June 1!
Sign up ASAP to become fast, like lightning, with the endurance of a sleek race horse! Learn more over here.
Below are some thoughts from Michael O., who is heading up both of these programs, about the first iteration of the Endurance Program. It will become clear quickly that he’s a pretty awesome guy, and a fantastic coach. Don’t hestitate to email him at michael.olzinski [at] gmail.com with any additional questions!
Thoughts on Wrapping Up CFSBK’s First Endurance Program
By Michael Olzinski
Well, here we are, after a very trying and testing 12 weeks of endurance training! It’s hard to believe that over 13 weeks ago, David, Jess, and I were mulling over whether integrating an Endurance Program at CFSBK in the middle of a freezing February would work. I had a great feeling that with the Brooklyn Half on the horizon, we would definitely have a turnout—but I never imagined it would be as successful and meaningful as it turned out in the end. I seriously couldn’t have come up with a more motivating and fun group of real athletes to work with, especially on those days when I couldn’t have imagined being out there on my own.
Most people in the group had never truly participated in an endurance running program before and were wondering if it would assimilate with their current training—and some were wondering if they really even knew how to run. It’s also worth mentioning that we started about four to six weeks before the weather crept around 30 degrees on a regular basis. It’s no simple thing to learn an efficient and consistent running stride when most days you can’t even stand still without your legs freezing up! Even at 6am on Tuesdays when I would look at the temp, see 10 degrees, and mutter to Megan, “Man, I wonder if anyone is even going to show,” I was greeted with anywhere from seven to 10 runners bundled up, faces covered, and ready to ROCK! It was truly a group effort and everyone who came added something to the group and to the sessions each time.
A Quick Overview of the Process
The program was fairly simple and straightforward. Since most people were coming in with a pretty solid program already, adding 12 weeks of runs was acceptable. I split the 12 weeks into three four-week periods, each with their own focus—which was apparent in the workouts themselves and in the communication and drills that we would work on prior to the work. Here is a summary of those focuses (which will give those participating in the next cycle a sense of what to expect!):
First Four Weeks: Intro + Basic Skills + Endurance
We used a handful of Brian McKenzie’s drills, along with some very basic mobility drills to ensure healthy tissue and joints in prep for running. The focus here was on running form, core posture, and the most basic form concepts. The training involved short HARD efforts, running FAST and for short distances. We used hills and flat sprints to try and recruit as much muscle as we could to the running stride. Running at high efforts will bring an individual very close to their most natural running stride, so we tried to capture this.
We also incorporated EASY endurance runs. We had no need yet to slog through miles, but focused on learning what it really means to go EASY and establish some of the lower aerobic zones can serve as the foundation for great training going forward.
Middle Four Weeks: Endurance Build + Extended Interval Training
Everyone’s form was definitely beginning to improve, so we added in more detailed drills. Also, as runs got longer, we had a higher need not to run on concrete/asphalt, so we tried hitting trails more and more. The endurance runs started to get a little harder and reached higher intensity. We incorporated some Fartlek running, longer track runs, and more intense loops. This middle portion of the 12 weeks is a pretty tough phase as you hit on both ends of the program: harder endurance and harder intervals.
In that vein, the intervals definitely picked up. Prior to Week Five, we only ran 400s and one rep of an 800M in the sprint medley, so nothing too crazy, but Week Five introduced hitting intervals over three to five minutes (i.e. the 1000m, 1200m and reps of 800s). This was a big energy system boost, and a tough piece of the program for sure.
Final Four Weeks: Endurance + Racing Skills
Our drills didn’t change much, as I really wanted the skills they enforced to sink in and start becoming adaptable. We even spent a bit more time prepping and working on drills, as time allowed. In this phase, RECOVERY gets a HUGE focus, as we step back on the interval sessions and allow some lighter, more endurance and aerobic-based recovery sessions. This was tough, but as you start to feel faster, one of the most important things is to allow yourself to RUN SLOW and stay healthy. On the other end, the endurance sessions had a big increase as far as time spent in the higher zones, with 10K simulation, mile repeats, and even a 15K race.
Lastly, getting ready to run 13.1 miles requires sharpening skills and paces needed to hit goals, so we spent a lot of time practicing the zones in which we wanted to race and coming up with a game plan. One of my and a few other athletes’ favorite sessions was the 14 x 400 reps at race pace. This is a GREAT way to simulate and practice how you might want to race a 13.1 mile race, with your last effort representing a true simulation of that last stretch to the finish line!
I am so happy and excited for the next round. I seriously hope to get deeper and deeper with those who I have come to know, and also add to our team with some new faces and new goals. Super stoked for EVERYTHING that you all have done with and for me.
Let’s keep it GOING!!!
You can read his cycle-end reports about how each of them finished things up on his blog The Endurance Journey (where the original version of this article appeared)—and where you’ll also find his personal wrap-up about his own PR at the Brooklyn Half a couple weeks ago!
To sign up for CFSBK’s Endurance Program and/or new Speed Series, head over here.
Spartan Race this Saturday
CFSBK Spartans! Your race is Saturday, and you need to meet Coach MeLo and Co. at 8am sharp at CFSBK to drive up to the race. Wear shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, and make sure to have your participant waiver and ID, garbage bags, a towel, water and necessary snacks, and a change of clothing and kicks for the ride home.
Know that we’re cheering for you! Some of us might still be sleeping when your heat unleashes its fury at 10:30am, but we’ll cheer when we wake up.
- There is no Active Recovery tomorrow, as Coach David is working as the Competition Director for Northeast Regionals this weekend.
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