Why buy this plan?
When first starting running, you’ll focus on gradually adapting your body to the demands of running. Your targets will most likely be durations “run for 5 minutes then walk for 5 minutes”, or distances “run 1 mile”.
With experience, your targets will become pace-based (combining duration and distance) or Heart Rate-based, but they’ll most likely be calculated using population averages (e.g. Jack Daniels’ VDOT Running Calculator) rather than based on your own running data.
It’s possible to use your running data to set targets specific to you, using data from your workouts rather than relying on averages calculated over hundreds of runners.
Which is where I’d like Targets based on My Data can help – you provide me with your workout (FIT) files; in return you get personalised training targets based on key physiological principles, and using industry-leading WKO5 software, an in-depth analysis of your running fitness and training load going beyond the data analysis and recommendations available from most online tools.
Critical Power / Critical Speed (CP/CS)
Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is a metric developed by Andrew Coggan PhD, and is “the highest power that a runner can maintain in a quasi-steady state without fatiguing, where the duration may range from 30-70 minutes, depending on the individual” (Palladino).
Critical Power (CP) is conceptually the same as FTP; Critical Speed (CS) is a similar metric but uses your highest on-the-flat speed.
All are representations of the intensity above which you will begin to fatigue much more quickly, an intensity that can be determined using a few maximum effort runs without the need for specialised equipment, and an intensity that can be improved with training.
In brief, we can track your fitness as your fitness improves.
Training targets based on your fitness
CP/CS is a measure of your current metabolic fitness and can be used as a basis for your training targets so that your training will be based on your actual fitness, rather than an assumed fitness or an aspirational goal.
For all but the most intense workouts, we’ll base your targets on a percentage of CP/CS (e.g. long slow runs at 80-85% CP/CS), and we’ll plan the mix of intensities to match your training goals.
And CP/CS can be improved with training. This means that as you get fitter and your CP/CS improves, you can use the same percentage targets but will be training at a higher intensity due to your increased fitness.
In brief, your training will always be based on your fitness, and your workout intensities will increase to match your improving fitness.
Reduce the risk over-training
Running stimulates your body to improve but this comes at a cost – fatigue. With sufficient recovery and the right targets, your body will recover from the fatigue and will “super-compensate”, building an increased ability to run further and/or faster.
It’s possible to track this using a Stress Score (SS) calculated from your workout intensities and durations and to use the stress scores to calculate your overall training load. Your training load gives an insight into whether you’re training too hard or too easy and whether you’re increasing your training too quickly or too slowly.
These calculations can’t take everything into account (for example your diet, your sleep, whether anything stressful is happening in your life), but they do provide sufficient information for planning and to highlight if you may be over-training or risking injury.
In brief, we can use your workout data to plan, monitor, and adjust your training load.
Realistic Race Day targets
You want to perform at your best on race day, whether you’re competing for the win or whether you’re aiming for a new Personal Best. Using your training load and your CP/CS, we can set you up for the best chance of success.
As Race Day approaches, we can use your training load to optimize your taper, delivering you to the start line with fresh legs, ready to run.
And we can use your CP/CS (your current fitness) along with your training history to set your Race Day targets, helping you avoid starting out too fast or finishing too slow.
In brief, we can “tune” your prep and your race so that all you need to do is run.
Running with a Power Meter
This plan is based on Critical Power or Critical Speed – measures of the intensity above which you’ll begin to fatigue much more quickly. But is there any difference between the two, and is one better than the other?
Power is a measure of your running intensity or effort, and aligns to grade and wind – higher power uphill/into the wind, and lower power downhill/with the wind behind you. Speed is a measure of the result of your running intensity, and works the opposite way – lower speed uphill/into the wind, and higher speed downhill/with the wind behind you.
This means that when running to targets, you can compare your second-by-second running power to your target without further conversion; for your speed to be comparable to your target it needs to be adjusted to match the grade and/or wind conditions, something that running watches cannot do second-to-second – which means you’ll need to use average speeds instead.
I’ve been running using a power meter since September 2014 and my experience is that for any runner doing more than running just for enjoyment, the benefits of a power meter far outweigh the initial investment. I’d 100% recommend running with power (and the Stryd power meter).
For more about power, try the 5-Minute Guide to Running with Power.