My killer mental and physical running training performance boosting technique
If you’re never heard of a Seven K SuperSet, don’t worry, this is a training activity that I created with the aim of improving your ability to mentally push yourself, improve your running technique, your speed and your endurance… all in one exercise.
What you’ll need
You’ll need a 7 km route and one of the many GPS apps that are available for iPhones and other tracking devices. Anything that will give record your stride length, cadence and speed is ideal. (This is the app I use.) If you don’t have a suitable GPS recording device, you’ll have to make do with a stopwatch.
It doesn’t matter if your route is flat or hilly, but ideally some undulations and small rises or pinches are great. (For anyone living in Canberra, either the path around Lake Tuggeranong or Lake Ginninderra are are both ideal 7 km loops.)
The Principle of This Training Process
The idea is to run around a 7 km route, which is half the distance of the City2Surf, as fast as you possibly can. However, you don’t just run flat out, there is a precise method to this madness.
Our aim is focus on varying aspects of your technique over each stage and at the same time push yourself mentally and physically over the 7 km course.
The Process in Three Stages
Begin with a 1 km warm up jog at about 75% effort. When you reach the 1 km mark, stop and pause your app (or your stopwatch). Take a minute or two to do some stretches, paying particular attention to quads, calves and hip flexors.
For the next 5 km we will be doing in bursts at speed, with a focus on different aspects of our running technique.
Pick a point ahead of you, about 400m ahead. It may be a tree, or a light pole or a bend in the path and set off at a fast pace. Build your speed until you are going at about 90-95% capacity and focus on your end point as if it is your finish line. Keep going and when you are getting close to the finish, shift your focus to a point further ahead, perhaps the next light pole or another bend in the path and push on faster to the second point. When you reach this point, pause the app (or clock) and catch your breath. Do some more stretches and then, when you are ready, restart the app and repeat the process.
Each time you do your speed session, focus on a different aspect of your running style. Your breathing rhythm, moving your arms for added power, lengthening your stride, adding more spring into your steps, engaging your glutes as you go uphill and so on.
Each time you change your focus, try to add the new technique to the last one so that each time you shift your focus, you increase your performance despite your body becoming physically exhausted.
This constant shifting of focus to different parts of your body will improve your running speed and technique. And shifting the focus of your end point for each speed session will give you practice at pushing yourself mentally and physically. We can always do a little better than we think we can.
Keep this up until you reach the 6 km mark. Have a good rest and stretch, then restart the app for the final kilometre.
Run the final 1 km at about 75% of your capacity
For the last kilometre, try to run at a steady pace putting together all of the techniques you have practiced over the last 5 km. You will find it difficult to run at a 75% effort because your body will be physically exhausted, nonetheless, persevere. It doesn’t matter if you do a slow jog, but make sure you keep going and keep your focus on your combination of techniques.
When you finish stop the app and have a look at your time for the 7 km. This will be a very fast time for you. In fact it will be the best you can do for 7 km if you could have put it all together without all the stopping.
Another thing you will notice is that even thought you were totally spent for the last kilometre, your final kilometre will most likely be faster than the first one. You will probably find that your stride length and possibly your cadence have improved.
Well done, now do some stretches, go have a shower and then admire your new personal best time for 7 km.