The first thing we should know about running series is when we should start training with them. After a time in which we only practice the long or medium distance race, we begin to stagnate and it is at that moment when we must begin to train the series.
Therefore, if we are starting running, it is still not the moment in which we should consider doing a series. However, if we have been running for more than a year on a regular basis every week and we seek to improve the times, it is time to start training with series. It is likely that after a year practicing running regularly, we feel more comfortable when we run, but if we do not introduce new challenges we can fall into stagnation, which will not improve our physical shape.
Enter rhythm changes first
Before starting the series, it is advisable to start the changes of rhythm. Besides being a good cardiovascular exercise, since changes in rhythm strengthen the heart, it also helps burn more fat and improve our personal brands, which is the main sporting goal. By playing with the changes of rhythm we will improve our resistance and also the speed.
For our body, changes in rhythm will mean less effort than the series, but greater than what we were doing, can be considered the intermediate step between both pieces of training. If we go 3 or 4 times a week to run, it is advisable that one of those days we dedicate it to the changes of rhythm. How to use them is something personal, but we could start with intervals of one kilometer, making the first kilometer make a smooth race and in the second we increase the intensity and so on. Physically, the changes of rhythm will bring us great physical improvement, it will help us to gain strength and muscular strength.
Once the changes in rhythm have been controlled and have helped us gain strength and power, the next step is to start with the series. In what consist of the series is to divide the training by distances and repetitions. For example, we could start with a series of 2 x 5 x 400. Or what is the same, perform two sets of five repetitions of 400 meters. That is, we would do five times in a row, with rest intervals, repetitions of 400 meters each and after completing all the repetitions, we would rest to start the second series.
The other important factor is the time we want to take to complete a repetition. For example, if we want to do 4 repetitions of 1 kilometer each with an average time of 4 minutes per kilometer, the ideal is to start at the first repetition with a rhythm of 4 minutes 15 or 20 seconds and finish the last two in 3 minutes 45 seconds or 40 seconds, approximately.
Obviously, the first thing we have to take into account in the series is the level of fitness we have. Probably, for many, it will be impossible to do a kilometer below four minutes. Therefore, we must set a realistic goal. If during our running outings we took 6 minutes per kilometer on average, we can not start training the series wanting to do 1000 meters in four minutes.
Combine short series and long series
When we start with the series, we should know is that it is not advisable to always make the same type of series. It is best to combine the short series with the long series. The short ones are those in which the repetitions are between 100 and 400 meters. While the long tend to be in the 500 and 3000 meters.
The short series will provide us with an improvement in speed and power, very favorable for the end of the race when we do a marathon. While the long series will help us to improve the resistance and the rhythms during the race.
The training with series what it does, basically, is to help us improve our brands during a race. Another of the tricks that are often used in this type of training to improve our stride and our speed is to make some series on the hill. They will bring us more resistance and will make us gain intensity in the race. Of course, it is not advisable to make very long series in slope, ideally, it is between 250 and 350 meters. Although the series in slope we must introduce them after to have trained during a time with normal series and to begin with slopes not very high. As our sport’s growth must be progressive to avoid injuries.
In summary, the series training will help us to gain speed and power, in the short series, and strength and muscular strength, in the long series. It is a type of training that we must adapt to our physical conditions and, as we improve the times we can set new goals. The best way to improve the series is to combine the long ones with the short ones and to vary the distance of each repetition. You can perfectly combine two sets of five repetitions of 100 meters with 3 sets of 4 repetitions and 800 meters. In the first, we will gain speed and power and in the second greater resistance.