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Advice and ponderings for swimrunners, swimmers and runners. Where focus goes energy flows.

November 12, 2023 | Tom Jenkinson

A Week with Jakob Ingebrigtsen

I saw a recent post on Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s base training weekly schedule. Is there anything you can take from Jakob’s training and apply to us mere mortals? His paces are fast but if you convert them into duration and intensity they become more “normal”.

My regular Track Session With Ängby Runners

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday he did a morning and evening session of 10k at his Z1-2 intensity which is 3:45 to 3:50 minutes per km. Sounds fast, but in effect, he’s just doing two 40-minute easy runs.

Thoughts: Easy running volume is the key to any aerobic adaptive progression. Splitting into two sessions makes recovery easier and can be good to fit into the working day. For me, this would be the same duration but at a 5:00-minute-per-km pace for the same intensity.

On Tuesday he did a morning interval session of 5 x 6 mins at less than 2 mmol lactate so 30 minutes at target intensity (high Z2 in a five zone model). In the evening he did 10 to 12 x 1000m keeping the lactate level <3.5mmol. So another session of 30 minutes at target intensity this time Z3.

On Thursday morning he repeated the Tuesday morning session of 5 x 6 mins at <2mmol (30 mins at high Z2 intensity) and the afternoon was a different format 20 x 400 but at the same intensity as the Tuesday evening session <3.5mmol (20 mins in Z3).

Thoughts: Jakob describes these sessions as threshold sessions but you will note that the first (and even the second) is at a lower mmol than the classic lab standard of threshold of 4 mmol. I know that for me 2 mmol is around 4:15/km tempo whereas 4 mmol is around 3:52/km so this gives me a guideline for intensity – comfortably hard! The key to extracting maximum benefit whilst reducing recovery debt. As I’m not an elite athlete I’d also stick to a single session, although the idea of trying a double is enticing, albeit I’d probably make them shorter.

On Saturday he did a tough morning session of 20 x 200m hill repeats at 8 to 10 mmol (20 minutes accumulated at Z5 intensity). In the evening he did what he termed “easy threshold work” which was 40 mins at high Z2 <2 mmol lactate.

Thoughts: The AM session is the only “hard” session > threshold of the week. Hill repeats give the added benefit of additional strength work and promote great running form/economy so he’s getting double bang for his training buck. Note to self – do more hill reps. Also if I do that in the morning there definitely won’t be a PM session!

On Sunday he did a single easy Z1-2 long run of 20km – his 3:45 to 3:50 pace puts this at about 75 minutes of running.

Thoughts: 20km is only about 11% of his weekly volume. IMHO the long run shouldn’t be more than 20% of weekly volume as either 1) you won’t have the endurance to hold good running form, and/or 2) you won’t recover enough to get the most out of the other days. So, if you want to earn a longer run make sure you are getting those easy weekday runs in. For me (I don’t do ultras) 75 to 90 mins is perfect… longer and the benefits curve starts trailing off.

In Summary:

  • Monday = Easy distance runs 2 × 40 mins

  • Tuesday = Double controlled tempo/threshold day totaling 60 minutes at target intensity across the two sessions

  • Tuesday = Easy distance runs 2 × 40 mins

  • Thursday = Double controlled tempo/threshold day totaling 50 minutes at target intensity across the two sessions

  • Friday = Easy distance runs 2 × 40 mins

  • Saturday = High intensity hill repeats 20mins + “easy threshold” 40mins

  • Sunday = Long run 75 mins

Conclusion: Consistency is key. Week-in/week-out training gives results (hero sessions rarely do). Double sessions allow for higher weekly volume whilst managing recovery debt. Four easy days, two controlled threshold days (probably slower than you currently do when you think “threshold” and much closer to his marathon race pace than his 60-minute race pace), and one hard hill session. That’s a recipe that would work for many of us!

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