Florida State's Summer Running Program

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Whether in the ACC or the entire NCAA Division I, Florida State's T&F athletes have left a permanent imprint on the backs of their opponents, as they continue racking up hardware. Back-to-back national titles for the men, a pair of 14th place national finishes by the women and the most combined points of any program in 2006 have confirmed the Seminoles' elite status. 

Once podium finishes and team victories die down, head coach Bob Braman has his athletes start their summer with some time off. "They need two weeks of absolutely nothing," he says. "Not even light running. Just two weeks of active rest."

Don't be confused. Active rest isn't hours in front of the tube watching Rob & Big reruns or playing Mario Kart. It's doing something constructive with your time. "Active rest should consist of doing things you shouldn't be doing during the season for fear of injury, like cycling, basketball and tennis," Braman says.

To help you transition back into your sport once the two-week recovery period is over, we got recommendations from Braman and Ken Harnden, the Seminoles' sprints, hurdles and relays coach.

Distance Runners
Because distance and cross country runners don't always need to be loading miles on their bodies, Braman uses a five-phase training system: Distance Re-Orientation, Base Building, Lactate Threshold, VO2 Max and Peaking.

"Each phase sets up the next energy system," Braman says. "You can't just start doing high mileage runs during the summer. Your body needs a chance to adapt to the stress you're going to place on it."

Following your active rest, you'll start the Distance Re-Orientation phase, two weeks of easy to moderate distance runs to get you back into a daily running routine. Then, for the majority of the summer, you'll be in the Base Building and Lactate Threshold phases. These are followed by another rest period when school starts. Below are explanations for the runs in the latter two phases, which are shown in the chart.

Easy Distance Run [EZD]: Aerobic running at a specified percentage of your event distance.

LT Transition Run: Alternate the following runs week to week: Fat Man Miles, Cruise Miles, Pick-Up runs and Modified Fartleks. All are done at or near LT Pace, but without the continuity of a true LT or Tempo Run [broken up with short jogs or floats]. These are not high-intensity workouts.

Steady State Run: Medium-paced Runs—slightly faster than EZDs but equal in length. Run just fast enough so you can't hold a conversation.

Light Speed Work: Also known as a repetition workout, introducing the speed element. These runs should be very controlled, done at your current mile race pace and performed barefoot on grass. Use half your interval distance as a rest.

Long Run: These are aerobic runs at distances significantly longer than goal race distance. Make sure they are controlled, and build up to longer distances gradually.

LT Threshold Runs: Alternate the following runs week to week: Tempo Runs, Alternate Miles and Extended Fartleks. Perform the Tempo Runs or moderations at LT pace. These are high-intensity runs, but not all-out. Ideal distance is four miles, but can be built up to be longer.

Races, Time Trials, Timed Efforts: By the time you get to these runs in the program, you may have started meets. However, if you haven't, run your race distance timed.

You've just finished months of competing. If the last thing on your mind is shaving precious tenths of seconds off next year's time, good. You should be spending the summer recovering with light training.

"I don't know if you can find a sprinter coming out of a season who was 100 percent healthy the whole year," Harnden says. "So during the summer, you need to concentrate on getting healthy and training to improve your weaknesses."

With this in mind, Harnden created an eight-week training plan for sprinters, to be started four weeks after the season ends. During the first two of those four weeks, do absolutely nothing. In the second two weeks, gradually build a base with cross-training activities.

Harnden laid out his plan to address the most common problems he has seen in young athletes. "Many sprinters coming out of high school have incredibly weak hip flexors, so they should work a lot of stadium stairs and hill runs to really activate that area," he says.

Coach Braman suggests that you email him [rbraman@fsu.edu] wih any questions or concerns about his summer training program.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock