How to Apply Starting Strength Method to Running How to Apply Starting Strength Method to Running

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Thread: How to Apply Starting Strength Method to Running

  1. #1
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    Default How to Apply Starting Strength Method to Running

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    Ripp,

    I have a question on the application of the Stress, Recovery, Adaptation model as it applies to short distance running. I am an active duty service member and am required to complete a Physical Fitness Test (PFT) every six months that requires a 1.5 mile run.

    To more clearly articulate the question let me please explain my understanding of the Starting Strength method. Stress, recovery, adaptation is the model for progress across nearly all human endeavor whether physical or cognitive. A sufficient stress must be applied to the system that will drive an adaption while in the presence of conditions that allow for recovery to take place.

    The following explanation is necessarily short but to the point so please forgive the lack of detail. The Starting Strength method has determined that the most efficient use of ones time in the gym, especially for a novice, is to conduct the core exercises in an A day, B day setup, 48 to 72 hours apart for three sets of five repetitions (deadlift being one set of five repetitions), resting eight to ten minutes between sets, getting adequate nutrition and adequate sleep. Each session the trainee will increase the weight on the bar a set amount until linear progression stalls at which point training variables may introduced as outlined in Practical Programming.

    This method illustrates the most effective way to increase strength. As discussed at length on your podcast, a true novice will experience strength gains from doing literally anything to include riding a bicycle or whatever exercise routine is in vogue. Strength increases will be realized but will be in an inefficient manner and not sustainable for long term progress.

    Now to the real question. What is the most efficient method for training for a short distance running event? What is an appropriate starting distance, how quickly should distance be increased and to what percentage of the race distance, how much should intensity (speed) be increased each workout and what should workout frequency be? Again, the goal is to use my time most effectively as opposed to simply stumbling forward, depending on the novice effect.

    As my career quite literally depends on my ability to be fast and skinny twice a year, my strength training takes a back seat to weight loss (abdominal circumference measurement) and running. As it stands now, I reduce strength training to maintenance levels four to six weeks in advance of a test and focus on running and not eating

    Personal Stats:
    Age - 34
    Height - 76
    Weight - 285lbs (training); 270ish (PFT season)
    Squat - 500 1x1
    DL - 545 1x3
    Press - 205 3x5
    Bench - 275 3x5
    1.5 mile run - 11:40
    AC - 37.5 (sucking in my gut and having done an overnight wrap)

    Very Respectfully,
    Mike

  2. #2
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    Bodyfat loss is diet, and seems to be your biggest problem -- you're a long way from skinny. Running to pass a military test is a short-term adaptation that takes about 3 weeks for a young man to maximize, as I have discussed often. You don't have to run all year.

  3. #3
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    *begin personal opinions
    Speed is a lot less about pure force production - slamming your foot into the ground - and a lot more about technique and mental ability. This gets less and less true over shorter distances, but for 1.5 miles your limiting factor is probably going to be your brain's capacity to continue putting one foot in front of the other and the coordination with which you do it. You can't really train that on a periodization basis, it's just something you develop over time as a skill. The best way to train it is to go running regularly and get better at making your body go fast. Get up to about 15-20 miles per week (run 3 miles for three days, rest, run 3 miles for the next three days) for two or three weeks before your test and you'll have a good base.
    What you'll want to do is work on pacing and race technique. Once a week, go to a 400m (1/4 mile) track for one of your workouts. Look at what you want your goal pace to be - say, an 8:00 min mile - and figure out what 1/4 of that is (2:00 for our 8 min example). Warm up, then time yourself running a lap at a steady pace. Get as close to 2:00 without going over. This is going to teach you what running that pace feels like, and how to hold it together while running that fast. Rest for 60 seconds, then do it three more times (this exercise is called repeats). Record each time and try to make sure that you're keeping the same pace - as close to 2:00 as you can get but not slowing down. Cool down by jogging a lap or so and head home. One speed or pace workout per week is the minimum effective dosage - any more than that and you'll blow out your knees at this point. There's plenty of internet resources on speed training if you really want to go overboard about this.
    My recommendation is not to overthink this. An 11:40 1.5 mile is about a 8:45 pace - not that bad. I don't know what your requirements are, but you shouldn't need to take that big a layoff from training in order to see some improvements. Same with your weight, there's plenty of big guys out there who are awfully fast (before my eating dysfunction days I used to be one of them) and if you can move 500 lbs in any direction you've already got all the tools you need. Lay off the nacho bar maybe, but just make sure to eat your greens and your body will adjust. Being skinny doesn't make you fast, being good at running makes you fast.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by acedrake View Post
    *begin personal opinions
    Speed is a lot less about pure force production - slamming your foot into the ground - and a lot more about technique and mental ability. This gets less and less true over shorter distances, but for 1.5 miles your limiting factor is probably going to be your brain's capacity to continue putting one foot in front of the other and the coordination with which you do it. You can't really train that on a periodization basis, it's just something you develop over time as a skill. The best way to train it is to go running regularly and get better at making your body go fast. Get up to about 15-20 miles per week (run 3 miles for three days, rest, run 3 miles for the next three days) for two or three weeks before your test and you'll have a good base.
    What you'll want to do is work on pacing and race technique. Once a week, go to a 400m (1/4 mile) track for one of your workouts. Look at what you want your goal pace to be - say, an 8:00 min mile - and figure out what 1/4 of that is (2:00 for our 8 min example). Warm up, then time yourself running a lap at a steady pace. Get as close to 2:00 without going over. This is going to teach you what running that pace feels like, and how to hold it together while running that fast. Rest for 60 seconds, then do it three more times (this exercise is called repeats). Record each time and try to make sure that you're keeping the same pace - as close to 2:00 as you can get but not slowing down. Cool down by jogging a lap or so and head home. One speed or pace workout per week is the minimum effective dosage - any more than that and you'll blow out your knees at this point. There's plenty of internet resources on speed training if you really want to go overboard about this.
    My recommendation is not to overthink this. An 11:40 1.5 mile is about a 8:45 pace - not that bad. I don't know what your requirements are, but you shouldn't need to take that big a layoff from training in order to see some improvements. Same with your weight, there's plenty of big guys out there who are awfully fast (before my eating dysfunction days I used to be one of them) and if you can move 500 lbs in any direction you've already got all the tools you need. Lay off the nacho bar maybe, but just make sure to eat your greens and your body will adjust. Being skinny doesn't make you fast, being good at running makes you fast.
    Is this really what runners think?

  5. #5
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    Mar 2011
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    I dont know how this will be received, but Id recommend to anyone that has to run in order to maintain their source of income just make running a priority. Its not hard.

    Rip is right in that being overweight is not helpful. Id recommend that a person strength training three times a week should run twice a week using their heart rate to determine their intensity. 30-45 minutes at 180-age BPM (i.e. the Maffetone Method) twice a week will keep you within striking distance of a good run time. And not really affect your lifting. A month out add in some quarter mile sprints and youre good to go.

  6. #6
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    Mike,

    Having been in your boots (although retired for 7 years now), you can do as Rip said and get ready for the run in just a few weeks prior to your test.

    Since you asked "what is the most efficient method for training for a short distance running event", I highly recommend using the book Jack Daniels' Running Formula as your guide. You're clearly willing and able to follow focused training plans and Coach Daniels is the running equivalent of Rip.

    To summarize, about a month out, run 1 mile at your race (1.5-mile test) pace. That time will correlate to what Daniels refers to as "VDOT," which is a value that you can then plug and play into his training plans. Three weeks out, start your training using the 1,500m-3,000m training plan in the back of the book, focusing on pacing appropriate for your VDOT. During this time you won't do any long, slow distance (LSD), instead racking up miles via shorter distance repeats at various intensities (including faster than race pace). But miles are never the focus, just adherence to the times and training plan structure.

    The beauty of Daniels' training plans is that they work for everyone who is willing to stay focused and not get greedy, much like Starting Strength.

    Hope that helps,
    Bill

  7. #7
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    To be entirely fair... 34 isn't young with regard to fat loss, and you're going to deal more and more with loose skin and a resistant metabolism as you age. What are your actual tapes at? You might also run into the issue where your neck size drops on about the same profile as your waste for a while. Makes taping out harder.

    As far as your question for running, I've had good luck so far with a mix of 2 miles, 4 miles and HIIT. You have to have some conditioning to running itself, but you also have to work speed. Think of running as your sport, and your training for it will be sport specific. Straight from a long break in running (6+ years) I was able to drop my run time in 4 weeks from 14:10 mile to sub 9, and I've been whittling it down ever since then with less than 8-10 miles a week. If you're looking for the level of detail in running form that the SS model provides for strength, I would check out Run For Your Life by Dr. Mark Cucuzzella. He doesn't seem to have any strength background, but he at least does a decent job of justifying the whys and hows of form.

  8. #8
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    starting strength coach development program
    Bill,

    Thank you for the reply as this was the only one that actually answered the question. I don't simply want to "go run" for three weeks and eat less, I want to train effectively. I'll get the book and keep this post updated after my next test.

    V/R,
    Mike

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