The final article in this 5-part series concludes with the Power phase of the Half Marathon training programme. There is a time and a place for power training so let’s jump straight into it!
Just like I discussed in the last blog post about how we need to integrate Strength Training exercises into our programme, power training is another facet of conditioning that is usually abused within these new fitness trends.
The classes that spring to mind are your typical ‘Insanity’ or ‘P90X’ sessions that get the heart pumping and the sweat pouring but the knees crippling!
But let’s look at the scientific rationale behind power training.
Only once you have developed static stability, dynamic stability and strength, is it safe to develop power.
First, let me just explain what power is.
Power is a term used to describe force, with respect to time.
For example, if someone can lift 200 lbs over their head then they’re regarded as being very strong. An Olympic weight lifter for example, often lifts 300-500 lbs over their head but to do so they must move the weight very quickly.
So, it’s how quickly the load is moved over a given distance that determines power, whereas strength is determined without respect for time.
If you can lift 200 lbs you may be strong but not necessarily powerful.
Within any programme it’s important to address the Core-Strength-Power continuum. During the Core or Base Conditioning phase, Emma’s flexibility was restored to appropriate areas and her musculoskeletal system became balanced.
This meant Emma could achieve static and dynamic stability, which is important since a stable body creates a solid framework for running and she will be less likely to be injured.
When stability is achieved, then we moved onto the Transition phase of the programme to build strength using functional movement patterns that will readily transfer to running.
Finally, the last progression is to develop power. Any attempts to improve speed and power without first restoring flexibility and stability will often lead to injury and diminished perfomance.
These are the reasons why jumping straight into power and plyometrics without building a solid foundation is not safe for the body.
Yet, it’s exactly what is assigned in ‘Insanity’ and ‘P90X’ classes and to no surprise people come limping away with strained calves and sprained ankles!
To improve running performance in the Power or Specificity Phase of the Half Marathon programme, functional exercises must be prescribed to develop movement skill, balance, coordination and speed.
Power training helps runners release energy to propel them forwards. All muscles love to be stretched and released like an elastic band. This elasticity is the body’s shock and springs!
Let’s take a look at Emma’s final Specificity Phase in her Half Marathon training programme.
Power Training Exercises
Bulgarian Split Squat Jumps
Depth Jumps from Box
Lower Abdominal – 3
Online Coaching Platform
The PT Enhance software that we use at Coconut Fitness allowed Emma to follow her programme rep by rep and set by set. Videos of every stretch, mobiliser and exercise made sure she performed it all correctly.
I was able to assign Emma several articles and educational videos specifically aimed at her goal of training for a Half Marathon. This provided the theoretical underpinnings of the CHEK approach to strength and conditioning.
The Half Marathon
Emma and I completed the Half Marathon on 17th May, 2015 along with tens of thousands of other runners in Chester. It was a fantastic day and really well organised.
The BabyGrow Appeal raised £41,159.51 towards a new Baby Intensive Care Unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital! Huge thanks to all those that sponsored us.
By following this exact programme, I managed a personal best in 1 hour 33 minutes and Emma ran her first ever Half Marathon (without any pain or picking up an injury) in a very respectable time of 2 hours 6 minutes!
If you’ve liked what you read over the last 5 articles then we can help you prepare for a Half Marathon with our online Half Marathon Training Programme. It has been based on my training for the Bermuda Half Marathon but the conditioning programme can be applied to any 13.1 mile training route.
Hit the big orange button below to find out more!