I didn't catch the initial posting on this topic.
Attached below is a copy of an article I wrote about 9 months ago; I
actually go around to submitting it to one of the magazines, partially
because I didn't have time, and partially due to a conviction that it
would probably be rejected.
It certainly represents my most important workout, although calling it
favorite is stretching the meaning of "favorite". For those of you in
San Francisco Bay Area, I do the workout at Rancho San Antonio Park. If
anyone wants to know the route (with its two climbs of High Meadow
I'd be glad to provide it; fortunately, this workout does not depend
a particular route so much as having a course with substantial hills.
park on the peninsula will certainly do.
My Keystone Workout for Multisport Success
Have you ever noticed that one particular workout, done regularly as
of your training regimen, seems to be essential to your success? I
that the short speed intervals on the track every Thursday during my
university career seemed to play this role in my 5k/10k racing days.
been doing the duathlon/triathlon thing for 5 years now, and have
an equivalent keystone workout for my multisport success.
How would one determine if a particular workout was the "keystone"? It
that the needs of my job and different competitive foci have caused me
eliminate different workouts from my training for 3-4 months at a time.
Continued racing in multisport events during such periods, even though
principal competitive focus might be a marathon (for instance), gives me
opportunity to subjectively compare performance with/without the
workout. As such, the following is anecdotal. No pretense to the use
scientific method should be inferred.
I have long been a proponent of including regular hill training, both on
bike and the run, in a multisport training regimen. Ascents on the run
you the opportunity to train at elevated heart rates without requiring
speed and pounding of track intervals; descents, on the other hand, let
experience higher speeds, aiding turnover rate. Ascents on the bike let
find (and fix) deficiencies in your pedalling mechanics (pedal in
descents help you develop bike handling skills at high speed.
Rob Sleamaker proposes Vertical intervals as a component of his SERIOUS
training plan; Owen Anderson, among others, recommends downhill
improve turnover rate and running economy. My keystone workout combines
these two aspects.
This workout depends heavily upon the use of a heart rate monitor
and knowledge of your maximum HR, AT HR, and resting HR. Although there
are a variety of methods for estimating these, I strongly recommend
a maximal stress test performed to obtain accurate values to these
The purpose of the workout is to keep the uphill portions of the run
at your anaerobic threshold, while keeping the downhill and flat
at an aggressive pace (don't dog the downhills because the uphills are
so strenuous). Use the HR monitor to achieve this purpose by setting
upper limit right at your AT (usually 80-85% of max) and the lower limit
65% of max. By forcing yourself to keep within these limits, you will
work the uphills at AT and force yourself to work the downhills.
My workout consists of a 8.5-mile run on trails with 3 hills mixed in,
totalling ~1500 feet of ascent. My HR values are:
I, therefore, set my limits at (145, 175). Using my stopwatch, I note
the splits at convenient landmarks at the foot and summit of each
as well as the start and finish. I do this workout weekly on Thursday
afternoons, being reasonably well-recovered from track intervals on
at noon and stationary bike intervals on Wednesday morning.
You should definitely see the overall time and individual splits improve
as you do this from week to week. You will also notice substantially
improved leg turnover in your track workouts and races. You should also
notice improved strength in your multisport races; forcing yourself to
go fast to keep above the lower limit, even when you are tired from the
ascent, gets your body ready to handle the bike to run transition, both
a physical as well as a mental standpoint.
Several variations on this theme are possible:
1. If you are feeling tired on the day, you could scale the HR window
by 5-10 beats. Doing the hills is still good for you, even if you
do them as aggressively.
2. As your conditioning improves (both endurance and strength of
tissues in the legs) you can move the lower limit up. This will
you to work even harder on the downhill portions.
3. This workout, together with the rest of your training, may actually
your AT to climb (after all, that is one of the purposes of quality
training). If so, you should raise both the upper and lower
will you know that your AT has climbed? Absent another maximal
test, if you find the ascents beginning to approximate a piece of
you might try moving things up by 5 bpm.
Copyright (c) 1996 Joseph S. Sventek