I received the following question from a high school coach via email.
“I was watching the video on Aerobic Work Warm Up and I want to make sure that I got this correct. You would use this warm up for a workout that was sub lactate threshold but faster than an easy run? For example a tempo workout or cruise miles?”
Good question…and the short answer is yes. The long answer is that I use this warm-up for a variety of workouts, everything from running that is well below lactate threshold to short VO2 pace repeats. Why? And isn’t this warm-up hard? Let me explain.
The Aerobic Work WU does two important things for me as a coach: it forces the athlete to get their body ready for a quality day, yet because it’s challenging I rarely have someone run the first 200m, 400m or 600m of the threshold work too hard. The warm-up does not have a high neuromuscular demand (unlike a Competition WU for 1,500m) but it is whole body and it is going to recruit more motor units than just and easy aerobic run and 2-3 “strides” at LT pace. So, this warm-up ensures they’re ready…and part of being ready for any track work, be it slower running (sub lactate threshold running) or faster running (VO2 pace) is to make sure that you don’t blow up the workout by running the first 10% of the workout too hard. This WU is challenging, even for people like Sara and Renee, fit athletes who’ve been doing it for months, yet it’s not so challenging that they can run the workout as assigned. Also, I should add that this is a great example of a concept that Mike Smith shared with me years ago.
Mike believes the warm-up is a place where you can ask athletes to do more work. Early in a season the work – in this case, the warm-up – will be challenging and fatiguing, but eventually it will be reasonable. As with tomatoes, they may even learn to like it! Good coaches ask athletes to run a weekly or monthly volume that they’ve never done before because the coach knows that over time the athlete will be able to handle that volume of running. The Aerobic Work WU is no different.
Feel free to ask questions below and thanks to Jim for the original email question.