Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Steady State

Steady State running is going at a pace that is between 70-100% of aerobic capacity. This means that you are running faster than a slow jog, but not fast enough to go into an anaerobic state. Other ways to explain it are as fast as you can without feeling your tiredness or breathing increase as the run goes on and as fast as you can without your heart rate going up.

How to find your Steady State - Find a course/road were you can run out and back without a drastic change in terrain (for example, uphill most of the way out and downhill most of the way back). Go out for a 20 minute run at a comfortable pace.
Turn around and run the same course back trying to maintain the pace without any forced effort. If it takes you 25 minutes to come back, it shows you ran out too fast for your condition. If you are back in 15 minutes with out increasing your effort, you were not running fast enough to begin with. Keep trying this until you get the feel for your pace and are able to run out and back at the same pace for the 20 minutes. Once you have mastered your Steady State pace, increase the time and/or distance that you go out and try to maintain it on the way back without any forced effort.

There are many ideas of how fast Steady State workouts are run. The best way to run them is to go faster than your usual easy run pace to a point where you are working hard, but staying comfortable. If you are not ready to go by feel, a good way to start Steady State runs without going into an anaerobic state is to stay within the faster end of your current pace range.

Example: 16:00 3 mile runner has a pace range of 6:35 - 7:20 per mile (5:20 pace + 1:15 - 2:00). Start your Steady State run at 6:50 pace and keep that out and back. If it's too easy, move your way down to 6:35 pace, but stay comfortable. Eventually you will find your Steady State pace and will be able to run on feel without a watch.

The runner who keeps their speed within the maximum Steady State will gain the same general aerobic development in far less time than the runner who trains at below the maximum Steady State (the long slow distance principle).

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