You will see progressions of the artery sessions during 2020, so it is imperative you are not only familiar with the sessions themselves but what the goals are for each session and why we are asking you to do them a certain way during each phase. Now that we have had open coach forums on all the Build Phase Artery Sessions and you have seen them in the Baseline Plan, here is a refresher of some key takeaways to keep in mind for the next time you execute them during the Build Phase. Your goal is to evolve as an athlete so you grow in confidence and understanding of the “why” and purpose of each session.
- Aim for heart rate and effort over pace on these sessions always. Pace is deceptive and the associated effort with pace can vary wildly day-to-day.
- If you do not have hills, run on a treadmill on an incline as we are not asking you to simply run as hard as possible to mimic the effects. You are performing the Z4 repeats on a hill for a reason - to allow for your effort to increase, your form to come front and center with a drive off the back leg, and less pounding on the body with a great cardiovascular return.
- Use the downhill as a chance to run with very quick footspeed and to recover.
- The aim is to ride low, low cadence at a moderate Z3 effort, however, if you are struggling to hit 60-50-40 RPM start with a higher cadence and then work it down over the session. You might do the next artery bike at 70-60-50 RPM. As the year continues and you build strength endurance, you will develop the muscle resilience to hit lower RPM work.
- Just as with the artery run, the focus is on the effort, not the watts you are churning out. Focus on pushing to the desired effort rather than being hindered by metrics like a specific target watt. Over time, this, too, will develop.
- When hitting low RPM, keep the upper body quiet and supple, arms relaxed, and the pedal strokes smooth. Aim to hit the full range of the pedal stroke. Do not simply mash the pedals at the low RPM.
- The artery swims are all about pacing. You go out too fast and you will not see the delta we are aiming for over the four sets of 5 swims. We aim to make a clear distinction between the first set and the last set. Success is pacing well enough you go faster each set, you do not blow up, and you have enough gas to really push it last 5 swims.
- Hint: If you had to take extra rest between the swims, or extra rest between sets....this means you paced this poorly, and overshot what sustainable pace was.
- Remember, most athletes drop pace in a linear manner without clear “gears” - the key is to go easy enough the first five you have room to drop pace. Whether that is by 1 seconds or 5 seconds, the goal of this session is to teach you how to find different efforts than “hard” and “easy.” We would rather see you hit much better pacing the next time around than to see you drop time overall.