As the old Chinese saying goes: “no matter how cold or hot it is, we should keep training always, then, your body could adapt to the weather in different seasons.” For marathon runners, winter is the best season to strengthen endurance and increase exercise load. While summer is the best season to enhance the intensity of exercise, strengthen athletes’ speed and anaerobic endurance.
For sure, the difficulty in summer training is higher than in other seasons, due to high temperatures. Therefore, formulating summer training plans scientifically, reasonably and strictly is need. It could be implementing them will directly determine the effect of summer training. So how can general marathon runners have a more scientific summer training?
#Body Adjustment is the Key
Athletes' competitive state is cyclical and will not always be at its peak. When the athlete’s body is in a high-intensity and a high-load training mode for a long time, it will inevitably cause physical and psychological fatigue. The human protective mechanism will participate in the training and competition process (that means the body refuses to continue participating in more high-intensity sports). When at this stage, it's time to adjust your body.
Therefore, whether you have had periodic training or you're right after a marathon, you must recover your body timely. It could prevent your body from being overly fatigued and affecting the next stage of training.
While, how long should this adjustment period take? For the professional marathon, after a high-intensity marathon, the adjustment cycle could be as long as one month or even longer. For example, world stars like Kipchoge only participate in 2 to 3 marathons a year.
According to the theory of excess recovery, only when a new load cycle is started at the stage of “excess recovery” (physical reserve exceeds the original level), it will continually increase the performance ability. If entering the next load cycle without recovering to the original level, it will cause insufficient recovery, and the competitive state and the training quality will decline.
Although the training and competition intensities for all general marathon runners are not as high as those professional athletes, they should plan the training adjustment for Toat least 2-3 weeks.
For sure, physical recovery training is not completely inactive, but cross-training methods with low intensity should the way to maintain a competitive state, such as jogging, swimming, beach running, cycling etc. The intensity of exercise during the adjustment period can be reduced to about 50% of the maximum intensity of the exercise period. It can not only reduce strain and mental fatigue caused by a single repetitive exercise, but also promote the balanced development of various physical fitness throughout the body, maintaining exercise regularity and athletic ability.
#Frequent Long-distances is not suitable
First of all, we should understand the characteristics and the guiding ideologies of summer training. High temperatures in summer and massive energy loss in the body will inevitably affect the quality of ultra-long distance training.
Therefore, summer training is not suitable for frequent ultra-long distances. On the contrary, under the high summer temperature, muscle elasticity and joint flexibility are strong. Compared to winter, high-intensity training is not easy to be injured. It’s the best season to develop marathon athletes' mid-distance (5000 meters, 10000 meters) ability and anaerobic capacity. The improvement of athletes' abilities in 5000 meters and 10000 meters running will certainly improve their levels of the marathon.
Secondly, the intensity of exercise in the first two weeks of the summer training cycle should not be too high. It should be done step-by-step and not rushing for success. It’s because, after a period of physical adjustment, both the athlete's specialized ability and the body's ability to withstand the large intensity of exercise will decline, which is requiring a process of adaptation.
Therefore, a lot of times when you just start to resume training, it will be very difficult to complete the same training plan as before. However, this is not a big problem. As long as the periodic system and consistent training are maintained, your competitive state will soon return to a normal level.
Generally, efficient periodic training is guaranteed for at least 4 weeks. From the 3rd to the 5th week, the athlete's competitive level will reach the best state, then it begins to decline. After the cycle training is over, you must arrange body adjustment training for about 10 days. The adjustment training should mainly be 12-14km slow pace jogging.
#Replenishing energy is important
As we all know, running in the summer consumes a lot of energy, and it’s difficult to ensure the quality of systematic training if we cannot replenish energy right the first time. We usually tend to eat cool foods in summer, but it will cause a bad appetite and even some gastrointestinal diseases. In order to avoid these situations as much as possible and do not affect the training, we have to do a few things:
Firstly, do not drink water immediately after training, especially cold water. Drinking water immediately after running will lower the blood concentration. If you drink too much water, your blood pressure decreases and your heart load increases. When people sweat during exercise, a large amount of salt in the body is lost. So drinking too much water immediately will dilute the salt, causing the body to have insufficient salt. In severe cases, it will cause "water intoxication."
Secondly, it is advisable to eat alkaline foods. When the human body fluids are slightly alkaline, health is maintained. After exercise, the sugar, fat and proteins in the body will be decomposed in a large amount. During the decomposition process, acidic substances such as lactic acid and phosphoric acid are produced. After exercise, we usually feel swelling and fatigue in our muscles and joints, which are caused by the stimulation of the decomposed acidic substances. Therefore, it is not advisable to eat acidic foods after exercise and eat some alkaline foods.
Of course, high-intensity exercise during summer training will lead to a large consumption and loss of muscle glycogen and electrolytes (Na+) in the body. The massive loss of muscle glycogen will promote the muscles to increase blood glucose intake, which causes the blood glucose to drop. At the same time, if not being supplemented in time, working muscles will become weak.
On the other hand, because more than 90% of the brain's energy supply comes from blood glucose, the drop in blood glucose will weaken the brain's ability to regulate exercise, which results in fatigue. In addition, excessive sweating during exercise causes the loss of water in the body, accompanied by massive loss of electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium. Which causes body fatigue and even cramps, then, is reducing exercise capacity.
Therefore, it is particularly important to stay hydrated timely during summer running. Also, this is not a simple hydration problem. It is best to drink sports drinks that contain sodium instead of pure water during summer running. You also need to pay attention to the methods of drinking water. The best way to drink water separates into three stages: before, during, and after exercises.
Before the exercise, you should replenish enough water; during the exercise, do not drink water until you are thirsty. On average, drinking water every 20 minutes and two or three small sips each time is enough. After the exercise, don’t drink too much water too quickly. A small amount of water intake many times can achieve a good absorption effect. In addition, the daily diet should pay attention to supplement electrolytes. Just remember that eat more fruits and drink more honey water.
#Five-week Training Program
Here are the suggest five-week training program for you in the summer:
Tuesday: Aerobic: 20 km
Thursday: Aerobic: 16 km + 400 m x 5 times, intermittent: 2 min/time
Saturday: Intermission: 1200 m x 8 times, intermission: 4 min/time
Sunday: Jogging: 20 km (dirt road, light cross-country, etc.)
Tuesday: Aerobic: 20 km
Thursday: Aerobic: 16 km + 400 m x 4 times, intermittent: 2 minutes/time
Saturday: Aerobic: 30 km
Sunday: Resting or jogging 16 km
Tuesday: Aerobic: 20 km
Thursday: Jogging: 16 km
Saturday: Intermittent: (800 m x 5 times) x 3 sections, intermittent: 10 min/section, 3min/time
Sunday: Jogging: 10 km (dirt road, light cross-country, etc.)
Tuesday: Aerobic: 20 km
Thursday: Aerobic: 16 km+200m x 6 times, intermittent: 2min/time
Saturday: Aerobic & Anaerobic: 25 km
Sunday: Resting or swimming 40 min
Tuesday: Jogging: 12 km
Thursday: Intermittent: 600m x 10 times, intermittent: 3min/time
Saturday: Testing: 10km
Sunday: Jogging: 20km
The effect of summer training is significant, but the training process is difficult, especially since the data of long-distance training is difficult to reach during the winter training period. The main reason for these is the many maladaptations brought by high temperatures to the body, but as long as the training plan is completed by the requirements, the effect can be significant.
Therefore, summer training does not have to pay special attention to the level of data in each training session, but should keep the training as systematic and consistent as possible. It is the key to training in the summer.