Train like a racehorse

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14/01/2003 at 00:40
There are some fascinating threads in this forum on the rights and the wrongs of established routines. I haven't been running long so can't really pass any opinions on these but I do know a bit about horseracing.

Very few horses require exactly the same programme to reach racing fitness. Some can be got fit with steady uphill canters. Some on a couple of gallops a week. Others - sometimes called 'gross', can take seriously punishing amounts of work, and might still need a couple of races to reach their peak.

The real skill of a racehorse trainer is finding out exactly the right routine for each horse - too little work and they run out of steam on the racecourse. Too much and they're over the top having 'left their race on the gallops'. There is also the talent of 'letting them down' after each race then building them up again again to maintain their fitness, soundness and mental enthusiasm for a full racing season. Many now swim as part of their schedule. I've known some which herded sheep on the hills and stayed fit (especially mentally) just on that.

One horse might relish working competitively with other horses while another will refuse to even trot if another horse is near him and must be worked alone.

I think there's a reasonable chance that humans are the same. While some general training rules might apply to all, each runner needs to find just what is right for him or her. And the mental aspect, especially keeping yourself 'sweet' on training, may well be as important as the physical. Happy running. (And neigh slacking!)
14/01/2003 at 00:49
Hi Joemac,

I agree with what you say. I believe we all need differing training in order to get by.

Personally, I train once on a monday and then once at the weekend, and get by with times like 37:57 for 10km and 1:26 for h/m, so it is fine for me. However I do know of runners that train 6 times per week in order to get the same results, its certainly interesting.

As I believe half the battle is mental, then I feel the benefit of turning up at races and feeling completely fresh and ready for the event.

Best Wishes, NN
14/01/2003 at 08:38
You've got it spot on. You have to find what's right for you. Don't ignore advice and certainly try different approaches otherwise you will never find out what really works for you. Just don't get hung up on huge mileages and technical patter unless you find out that's what you really need.It's a simple game that only needs common sense.
14/01/2003 at 08:52
Thanks for the advice. I'm going out to herd some sheep now.
14/01/2003 at 09:29
Humph3. Haven't you been warned off that one?
14/01/2003 at 09:54
Nice analogy Joemac, makes sense.

NN - do you really only run twice a week?? Amazing results, and turns some theories upside down to say the least!
14/01/2003 at 09:54
They haven't brought charges yet.

I insist that I was only with those sheep as I was doing some research on the subject....
14/01/2003 at 10:40
Humph3, good one mate :)

Laura L, yes the weekend run is usually a race, and the monday session is a track 5km speed inverval session, normally no other training than that.

Regards, NN
14/01/2003 at 10:53
NN - Did you do a bit more to get to this level though ?

Your 2 runs a week just sound like they maintain you ?
14/01/2003 at 11:32
Hi csc, No I havent done more previously, I am going to start doing more soon I think though.

I am definitely still improving with this training, for example I got a PB in September of 39:15 for 10km, then in October got it down to 38:44, then in November down to 37:57. I put it down to the fact that my training is at race pace or higher, I only go out for a slower then race pace run if there are others to run with for the social aspects.

I also did a run on new years eve and got 38:13, had it not been for a recurring hip problem at the 7km point (damned x-country races) then I would have beetered my pb then also.

Regards, NN
14/01/2003 at 11:37
Wow !

I tend to agree that your fast times must come from your high paces on your training runs. Last year most of my runs were 6 milers flat out (oh and some distance work for FLM) and I got down to 1.26 for the Half, from my first attempt of 1.40.

I know I don't do as many miles as the schedules say, but I'm quite happy with the less is more theory.

But as they say - everyone is different !
14/01/2003 at 18:21
Donkey's years ago and in a different sport there were quite a number of people who did some basic training then entered as many races as they could. They raced themselves fit. A similar thing seems to be happening here.
The problem was that for several weeks they fell apart before the finish but got nearer to it each time. When finally they made it they turned in some stunning results.
14/01/2003 at 19:08
NN-have I ever told you I hate you!!!!!

Twice a week-you B@st@rd
14/01/2003 at 19:35
Hi JJ, thats the way I look at it too, at first I couldnt manage the entire distance, but gradually by the end of the year was just getting it right, long may it continue.

Legless, yes I know you do, hehehe :)
14/01/2003 at 23:17
JJ, That sounds like a good way to reach a goal time for a distance. For example, I want to do under 40 minutes for 10K, so, after warming up, if I run at the necessary pace, (6:26 / mile) until I can't sustain that pace any more, I should be training myself to run at that pace, and I'll have a way of measuring how far I am from being able to achieve that goal.
I suppose I could rest, or run slowly for a while after reaching my limit, then start off again at the target pace. It sounds like interval training, but with the intervals set by results, not planned in advance.
Does this make any sense, and will it work?
14/01/2003 at 23:21
I try and try and TRY
I train 5x week ,and i think im getting slower

14/01/2003 at 23:21
I can see it being a way to self-motivated speed sessions
15/01/2003 at 00:32
Hi guys and gals, I train at 5% above race pace, this means that when I get to a race I am always running slower than in training, and therefore it seems easier, it may sound silly but it works for me.

You cant expect to reach your goal distance at this pace, but the energy that you save when running slower in race means that you can keep your race pace for longer!

Best Wishes, NN
15/01/2003 at 01:22

How long have you been running?

Also I reckon people are a over reacting a little - those times are respectable, good for the amount of training, but not exactly remarkable. Most fit males should be able to crack 1.30 off a couple of days training a week over time - Natty obviously has a bit of talent but there was a guy that ran sub 1.20 with no training on here a month or so ago.
15/01/2003 at 08:00
Hi popsider, since April 01. I agree with you on your points also and remember that guy that you mention, a 1:20 off no training did make me jealous, but only cos I havent done it yet :)

Regards, NN
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