The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    So, you want to run and be strong programming.

    Starting this Wednesday I'll be incorporating Alex Viada's running program into my programming. I've tried something like this in the past, but I did it wrong and killed my legs, so I'm hoping this will workout much better. I've already been doing the Ultimate Athlete Program, which is a Westside Variant, but I would like Alex's thoughts on the volume on the Accessory and Assistance section. I may have to cut down on the sets.

    Schedule:
    Monday:
    1. ME Upper.
    2. Accessory Exercises.
    3. Assistance Exercises.
    4. 1-2 mile recovery run.

    Tuesday:
    1. Rest
    or
    2. Skills Practice.
    3. Olympic Weightlifting Practice.

    Wednesday:
    1. ME Lower.
    2. Accessory Exercises.
    3. Assistance Exercises.
    4. Speed intervals.

    Thursday:
    1. Skills Practice.
    2. Core Circuit.
    3. MetCon.

    Friday:
    1. DE Upper.
    2. Accessory Exercises.
    3. Assistance Exercises.
    4. 1-1.5 mile pace run.

    Saturday:
    1. DE Lower.
    2. Accessory Exercises.
    3. Assistance Exercises.

    Sunday:
    1. 30-60 minute long slow run.

    Alex, would you change anything? My goal is to compete in powerlifting and we have a PT Test coming up at work, which is based on the 400 meter track, so I need to keep up my conditioning. I'd also like to do a 5K run.

    I have the programming at www.spdcrossfit.com if anyone is interested in checking it out.
    Last edited by Paulo_Santos; 07-02-2013 at 03:40 PM.

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  3. #2
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    Hi Paulo,

    So this looks very solid to me, I'd just have a few questions/comments regarding specifics:

    1) The accessory/assistance exercises in this program are actually one of the most difficult components to dial in- determining precisely what work is the most beneficial (and isn't simply adding in volume) is a big challenge. A large part of selecting this is in being honest with your strengths and weaknesses- where do you fail on the major lifts, what muscle groups are adequately developed, etc. This is especially true for your speed work- if you're already highly explosive, due to a CrossFit/Oly lifting background, you may be better served replacing some of the speed day accessory work with pure hypertrophy work, or eliminating it entirely in the interest of keeping volume as low as possible.

    2) For the PT test, what are the exact tests? The interval and "race pace" work should be, again, specifically tailored to push you JUST hard enough to reach your goals there. It's just as critical knowing when to back off and realize that a 6:00 mile may be all you need, so putting in the extra effort and training to drop that to a 5:45 will simply limit your ability to reach your strength goals. (I have a lot of my athletes go into "consolidation" phases on either strength or endurance if they reach their goals early there, and focus on their weaker disciplines at that point. Yes, of course, the goal is always to exceed their initial targets, but we always try to avoid having people simply favor whatever it is they happen to be making progress in). So long story short- the exact nature of the PT test will determine pacing and distances run, while your overall running tendencies should determine intervals. (Are you a late bloomer/negative split runner in races, or do you go out too fast and pop?)
    "Except Belial. He knows everything. This isn't a sarcastic attack, either. He really knows everything." -----Organichu
    "Alex is all knowing and perfect"-----Jane (loosely paraphrased)
    -515/745/700 bench/deadlift/squat
    Current mile time: 4:23
    Marathons: 3
    Century races: 3
    Ironmans: 1
    Ultramarathons: 1
    Current supps: http://www.atlargenutrition.com/prod...covery/results

  4. #3
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    Alex, thanks for the reply. I'm actually not that worried about the PT Test because it is just one lap around the track with 6 stations where you have to perform different tasks. I'm running about a 6 minute mile, so I'm not concerned with it. My two goals are to keep getting strong (I have a second powerlifting comp in August), and I want to start getting ready for a 5K Run.

    So I have lowered the sets in the assistance section to 2 sets for now to see how I recover. Is this the right thing to do? My other question is about the runs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

    Monday: if I run a 6 minute mile, how fast should me recovery run be? I ran it yesterday and ran it in 09:47 which was very easy. Should I run it faster?

    Wednesday: What sort of intervals should I do?

    Friday: How far should I run the race pace run?

    Sunday: is 30-60 minutes slow run good?

    I think that what I need help with for now. Again, my goals are to get strong as I can and get better at the 5K. My actual weakness in the running is that I gas out after 1.5 miles. I tend to keep a steady pace and go all out at the end.

  5. #4
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    So I have lowered the sets in the assistance section to 2 sets for now to see how I recover. Is this the right thing to do? I'd definitely say so, yes. This will require a bit of tweaking here or there- you know your specific weaknesses in the lifts more than I would, so the exact accessories are of course up to you. For most of my guys, 2 sets of one major accessory (multi-joint, highly specific... arched back good mornings for the squat, RDLs or rack pulls for the deadlift, floor press for the bench), and 2-3 sets of a secondary accessory (more isolation for weak prime movers or lighter weight alternate ROM lifts- JM presses or skulls for bench, shrugs or high bar ATG paused squats for squats and deads), is more than enough. My other question is about the runs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

    Monday: if I run a 6 minute mile, how fast should me recovery run be? I ran it yesterday and ran it in 09:47 which was very easy. Should I run it faster? An 8:30 to 10:00 is fine- this is really just to get the legs moving and help prevent tightness. There's limited training effect from this, and I've actually found recovery runs to be more useful in getting the body recovered for LIFTING rather than running. My heart rate rarely gets over 110-120 on recovery runs.

    Wednesday: What sort of intervals should I do? For a 5k, given your tendency to go out too hard, I'd suggest a combination of both longer and much shorter intervals to better train your particular speed. I like the 200/800/200 compound sets, which are a little unusual, and you're actually targeting your FASTER pace on the 800s. In other words, if you're running a 6:00 mile, but your target 5k race pace is a 20:30 (about a 6:30-6:40 pace), your 200 intervals should target about a 6 minute pace (44 seconds), and the 800's should target a 5:45 (2 minutes 51 seconds per 800). In this case, you have plenty of speed, as a shorter distance runner, but it's your sustained endurance over time and pacing consistency that's killing you. The workout would be 200/800/200 with 0:30-1:00 in between intervals, for 3-4 rounds total (depending on how you're feeling), and 2:00 in between rounds. There are quite a few runners who'd be pounding 200/300/400 ladders and so forth, but this would really crush your lifting recovery.

    Friday: How far should I run the race pace run? A gradual increase is the goal, but I'd start around 33% of race distance and slowly work your way up to 75% of race distance about two weeks before your target race. You don't want to make it too short, but if you start hitting your full race distance at target pace during training, then chances are you're setting your race goals too low!

    Sunday: is 30-60 minutes slow run good? Absolutely- in fact I'd suggest 45 minutes to 1:15. And really DO keep these slow- this is pure aerobic base building- your legs should not be burning, your lungs should not be aching... this is all about getting your heart rate up to 130-140 at the highest and cruising.
    "Except Belial. He knows everything. This isn't a sarcastic attack, either. He really knows everything." -----Organichu
    "Alex is all knowing and perfect"-----Jane (loosely paraphrased)
    -515/745/700 bench/deadlift/squat
    Current mile time: 4:23
    Marathons: 3
    Century races: 3
    Ironmans: 1
    Ultramarathons: 1
    Current supps: http://www.atlargenutrition.com/prod...covery/results

  6. #5
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    Awesome.

    I like the idea of the 200-800-200's. I never thought about doing that. I just checked and I run the 200's around 35 seconds and the 800's in 2:45, but I'll definitely have to build up to 3-4 rounds.

    So for the Pace Run, I was thinking of starting out with a 1 mile run, then going to 1.5, 2, 2.5, etc. How does that sound?
    Last edited by Paulo_Santos; 07-04-2013 at 02:58 PM.

  7. #6
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    That sounds solid to me (on the pace runs), the whole thing should, essentially, be a 75% effort, so you MIGHT need to start a bit longer than a mile.

    For the 200's- it's a bit of a mental switch to go from "sprinting" 200's to "running" 200's. Believe me, I hate it. But go out too fast on these, and you nuke the entire concept of pacing practice! (What IS your 5k goal, btw?)
    "Except Belial. He knows everything. This isn't a sarcastic attack, either. He really knows everything." -----Organichu
    "Alex is all knowing and perfect"-----Jane (loosely paraphrased)
    -515/745/700 bench/deadlift/squat
    Current mile time: 4:23
    Marathons: 3
    Century races: 3
    Ironmans: 1
    Ultramarathons: 1
    Current supps: http://www.atlargenutrition.com/prod...covery/results

  8. #7
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.V View Post
    That sounds solid to me (on the pace runs), the whole thing should, essentially, be a 75% effort, so you MIGHT need to start a bit longer than a mile.

    For the 200's- it's a bit of a mental switch to go from "sprinting" 200's to "running" 200's. Believe me, I hate it. But go out too fast on these, and you nuke the entire concept of pacing practice! (What IS your 5k goal, btw?)
    My best ever 5K was 18:40 something. I'd like to get under 20 minutes again. Last year I was very close when I was playing soccer, but I stopped running and started focusing on strength. I don't know where I'm at now.

    I'll definitely practice the 200's next Wednesday. I'll actually do the 200-800-200 and see how I do.
    Last edited by Paulo_Santos; 07-04-2013 at 09:40 PM.

  9. #8
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    Great, keep me posted! Yes, I'd definitely use an 18:00 5k as the basic goal this time out, but as a stretch goal, hey, who knows?

    btw- there might be some runners who consider it heresy to run a 200 and NOT sprint it- even 10k runners often make their 200 meter repeats into sprints. For you, though (and any other non-100% runner), the cost/benefit just isn't there. There are plenty of other ways you develop your leg power and LT.
    Last edited by Alex.V; 07-05-2013 at 07:53 AM.
    "Except Belial. He knows everything. This isn't a sarcastic attack, either. He really knows everything." -----Organichu
    "Alex is all knowing and perfect"-----Jane (loosely paraphrased)
    -515/745/700 bench/deadlift/squat
    Current mile time: 4:23
    Marathons: 3
    Century races: 3
    Ironmans: 1
    Ultramarathons: 1
    Current supps: http://www.atlargenutrition.com/prod...covery/results

  10. #9
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    So when you say run the 200, not sprint it, you mean not go all out?

  11. #10
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    So far, I did the slow run on Sunday and the ME Upper/1 mile recovery run on Monday. I need to pace myself better on the slow run. I have a lot of hills where I live and I have to work up to it. Tomorrow I'm doing the ME Lower/Intervals. Hopefully my legs will be fully recovered.

  12. #11
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulo_Santos View Post
    So far, I did the slow run on Sunday and the ME Upper/1 mile recovery run on Monday. I need to pace myself better on the slow run. I have a lot of hills where I live and I have to work up to it. Tomorrow I'm doing the ME Lower/Intervals. Hopefully my legs will be fully recovered.
    How was your pacing and heart rate on the slow run?
    "Except Belial. He knows everything. This isn't a sarcastic attack, either. He really knows everything." -----Organichu
    "Alex is all knowing and perfect"-----Jane (loosely paraphrased)
    -515/745/700 bench/deadlift/squat
    Current mile time: 4:23
    Marathons: 3
    Century races: 3
    Ironmans: 1
    Ultramarathons: 1
    Current supps: http://www.atlargenutrition.com/prod...covery/results

  13. #12
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.V View Post
    How was your pacing and heart rate on the slow run?
    I ran it a little too fast on parts of it.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    I did the 200/800/200 today and man, I suck. It was all downhill after the 1st 200. LOL.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    I'm just finishing up my second week of this programming and my body is finally adapting and I'm not as sore as when I first started. I'm totally loving this and I'll continue this for a while.

  16. #15
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    I think I'm on my 5th week and my weight has actually gone up along with my lifts, so I'm happy. My running is getting better and better, but still wanna get faster. The last couple of weeks I've added some more volume in my accessory/assistance and it hasn't hurt. I think the reason is that I've kept my nutrition in check.

    As far as nutrition, I've been following the Paleo Diet, but post workout I have protein and a lot of carbs (lots of them and some are not exactly Paleo approved).

    Thanks for all your help Alex.

  17. #16
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    Paulo, apologies, I rarely check in here any more but I am VERY glad to hear it! What's your speed work looking like? Might want to consider implementing a few variable distance threshold runs in the mix.
    "Except Belial. He knows everything. This isn't a sarcastic attack, either. He really knows everything." -----Organichu
    "Alex is all knowing and perfect"-----Jane (loosely paraphrased)
    -515/745/700 bench/deadlift/squat
    Current mile time: 4:23
    Marathons: 3
    Century races: 3
    Ironmans: 1
    Ultramarathons: 1
    Current supps: http://www.atlargenutrition.com/prod...covery/results

  18. #17
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.V View Post
    Paulo, apologies, I rarely check in here any more but I am VERY glad to hear it! What's your speed work looking like? Might want to consider implementing a few variable distance threshold runs in the mix.
    Thanks Alex. For my recovery run, I've been doing just 1 mile recovery run at around 10 minutes. On the speed intervals, I've been doing 200/800/200 like you recommended, 8x100, 6x200,4x400. Next week I'll do the 2x800. I've been keeping these low volume for right now until I build up for it. For the 1-3 mile pace runs, I've only done 1 mile because I want to get it back under 6 minutes. My 1 mile runs have been 7 minutes, 6:47, 6:32,6:30, and I just did it today in 6:19, so I'm almost there. A couple more weeks and I'll add another lap. For the long slow runs, I've been doing 30-45 minutes.

    I did add an extra rest day mainly because of my work schedule, but it is also going to help with my recovery. And I've kept the Westside program the same like Rick Scarpulla taught me. The volume is pretty high, but it isn't affecting me yet, so I'll stick with it. Matter of fact, I'm feeling stronger.

  19. #18
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    Just an update. Still going strong. Got a PR on the Sumo Deadlift the other day where I finally got 405#. I got my mile down to 06:12 minutes, so I'm almost at my goal of 06:00 minutes. I weighed myself this morning and I weighed 175, which is the heaviest I've been in a while. I don't think I've gained much fat, but my wife says my shoulders and chest have bulked up, which is what I wanted.

  20. #19
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    Still doing this. My running is getting better and better, while my strength is also improving. Just did 295# Box Squat + Chains. Upper body was going good until I injured my elbow. Weight is around 170 and I'm slowly trying to bulk up (1/2# per week).

  21. #20
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    Just an update. Recovery has definitely been the hardest thing on this program, especially my legs. For me, the second Lower Body Day was too much and totally unnecessary with all the running. And now I understand where Alex meant by reducing the volume in the assistance exercises. I was definitely overdoing it. So for the next 9 weeks, I'll be tweaking the program and I'll post an update when I'm done.

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