Question: How much of an emphasis do you place on speed endurance, and does that differ per athlete, in terms of what their strengths or weaknesses are?
That was the question asked to Loren Seagrave by Cathal Dennehy for RunBlogRun (full article here).
Loren’s Response: I think you have to first create the definition of what speed endurance is, because people talk about that in a very wide band of things. To me, short speed endurance is over six seconds at near maximum intensity, but less than 15 seconds. Long speed endurance is between 12 and 20 seconds, and what you’re looking at is a greater stress on the central nervous system relative to neural fatigue, but you’re also looking at metabolic fatigue and accumulation of metabolic by-products. People used to think: ‘lactic acid? You don’t get lactic acid when you run the 100m.’
Elio Locatelli, when he was the head coach in Italy, took blood readings from the 100m runners at their national championships. First year, he didn’t wait long enough; second year I said ‘they don’t have the same ability to get lactic acid out of their cells, you gotta wait longer [before taking the blood readings]‘ and what he found was 16-millimole lactic acid levels at the end of a 100m. This is what you’d expect from a 400m runner in training, so you’ve got to be able to train that ability in 100m runners; 60-metre runners, not as much, but 100m runners, for sure.
Once you get over 20 seconds, you start driving the lactic acid up, and that’s what people call special endurance one. The key component is: because you are loading the lactic acid system up when you’re doing speed endurance, it’s not just a neurological phenomenon – repeated exposure to lactic acid throughout the entire year destroys the aerobic enzymes inside your mitochondria, full stop, you get that low PH. So, it’s particularly important for 400m runners who go through an indoor season; I feel that based on the research, somewhere between 7 and 10 weeks before the major championship, in your late special preparation and pre-competition, that’s all you really need to fool with relative to lactic acid tolerance, special endurance and even speed endurance.
Our Weekly Recovery & Regeneration Coaches & Therapist Zoom Call
As most of you know from my newsletter, I belong to this “Recovery & Regeneration” group for Coaches & Therapists. It started off from the NACACTFCA Puerto Rico conference in March 2020 that ended up being a Virtual conference due to the pandemic.
We meet Every Monday at 8:45am Pacific Time, 11:45am Eastern Time, 4:45pm UK time, etc and lasts 75 minutes. (The time & date has changed already, and it might change again in May 2021. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details, everyone is welcome to join. There is no cost.)
We had the pleasure of having Loren on several calls now, and I took the opportunity to ask him about the RBR article.
Remember, this is what Loren prescribes, which work for his program, but may not work for your program. Your needs are different, and your athletes are a different caliber, and have a different training age.
Just like some Coaches start Speed & Acceleration Development training in January (or Spring!), and some start on Day 1 in September (or October). What works for him may not work for you. And vice-versa.
Here is the segment on the Weekly Zoom call. I hope this explains the logic & science behind his program. Enjoy.