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  • Coach Jacob Puzey

Peak Run Performance Philosophy

Updated: Mar 24

Running is one of the most basic human activities. While it is not easy, it is and should be simple. Training, therefore, should be comprehensible.


COLLABORATIVE, COMPREHENSIBLE COACHING


Communication is at the core of what we do. You know yourself better than anyone. Together with your personal knowledge and regular input and our collective experience, we can tailor training specific to you, your life, and your goals.

Coach Jacob Puzey with Alejandro Cisneros and Jose Macias


Our goal is to literally speak the same language. Our team of coaches, health professionals, and nutritionists are not just accomplished runners, we are multilingual men and women, who juggle our own training with the needs of providing for ourselves and our families. We know what it is like to be busy, so we try not to complicate training with unnecessary jargon or senseless pseudo-science. We have spent our lives learning the nuances of running so that you don’t have to fuss about the details.


We approach running from a holistic perspective, blending both the science and the art of running to tailor training to you rather than imposing a one-size-fits all program upon you. We’ve spent enough time in places where foreign powers have imposed their language, laws, and culture upon others to understand that simply doesn’t work. Over decades of running, studying, and coaching we've learned that "there are many roads that lead to Rome." Our objective is to meet you where you are and work with you by applying timeless training principles to help you progress at a sustainable rate toward your goals.


LONGEVITIY AND SUSTAINABILITY


Our goal is to help each Peak Run Performance athlete develop a lifestyle that enables them to become a lifelong runner. When we design training, we think long term.

“Not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the steady dedication of a lifetime.”
– Adlai Stevenson

For more details about how we strive to help Peak Run Performance athletes develop a sustainable lifestyle as runners, please read The Steady Dedication of a Lifetime.


GRADUAL AND INCREMENTAL GROWTH


It takes most athletes several years of consistent training to reach their full potential at a particular distance or discipline. Considering the vast array of distances, surfaces, and disciplines that running encompasses, running truly has the potential to be a lifelong pursuit.


The key to success is consistency; consistently building upon the gains you make by finding a balance between optimal stress and optimal rest.

Our training is designed so that each activity (including recovery) builds upon the other.


LEARNING TO RUN BY FEEL


The goal of training is to prepare your body and mind for the demands of your goal race. Our tailored training plans are designed to help you gain the confidence and competence you need to meet the challenges of your goal race.


One of the keys to becoming a better runner is learning to run by feel – learning what particular efforts feel like so that when it comes time to perform you can control your emotions and anxiety and execute the race you have prepared to run.


For more information about running by feel, please read Running by Effort.


ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF ENDURANCE TRAINING


Within each training plan, we will work on each of the essential elements of training prioritizing the elements specific to your goal race duration, distance, and surface.



EFFORT & TRAINING ZONES


We design your training using a color-coded system to help you understand the purpose of each activity, how it fits in with the rest of the activities in the plan, how it should feel, and how it relates to the effort and feel of your goal race.


SAMPLE COLOR-CODED 4 WEEK TRAINING BLOCK IN FINAL SURGE


PEAK RUN PERFORMANCE TRAINING CONTINUUM

AEROBIC activities serve a variety of purposes from RECOVERY to building ENDURANCE and STAMINA. Aerobic simply means "with oxygen." Aerobic activities are those in which the body is able to access the amount of oxygen needed to continue to perform the activity. Aerobic activities, therefore, should not lead to wheezing or loss of breath.


Aerobic activities should make up the majority (up to 80%) of all training for endurance – from RECOVERY to THRESHOLD efforts. Aerobic activities should feel "comfortable" to "comfortably hard."


For more information about aerobic activities, please read Easy Runs, Long Runs, and Cut Down Runs.


The point at which an activity goes from aerobic to anaerobic is often referred to as the THRESHOLD. Threshold effort is often defined as the effort one could sustain for one hour or one hour race pace/effort. Depending on the distance, surface, and fitness of the person that pace/effort could translate to anywhere from 5K to Half Marathon pace/effort. Because time is the fixed variable, we use the one hour mark to determine THRESHOLD pace/effort. Training at or just below THRESHOLD is essential to improving STAMINA and ENDURANCE. Threshold efforts should feel "comfortably hard."


If you use the TALK TEST to gauge your effort, you should be able to verbally communicate while performing aerobic activities.


We color-code aerobic activities within our training plans in shades of green for RECOVERY, blue for fully oxygenated efforts like EASY & LONG RUNS, purple for efforts approaching the two hour race pace/effort like CUT DOWN and STEADY STATE RUNS, and red for efforts at the red line/one hour race pace/effort or THRESHOLD (TEMPO RUNS, TEMPO/CRUISE INTERVALS).


ANAEROBIC activities play an important role in developing STRENGTH, SPEED, and EFFICIENCY. Unlike, aerobic activities, anaerobic activities require more oxygen than the body can replenish while in motion. Anaerobic literally means, "without oxygen." Anaerobic activities are, therefore, shorter and faster than aerobic activities and require longer recovery intervals between efforts.


ANAEROBIC activities consist of efforts harder than one hour race pace/effort, or THRESHOLD pace/effort, including STRIDES, HILL REPEATS, HILL STRIDES/SPRINTS, STRENGTH or RESISTANCE TRAINING, traditional SPEED workouts/VO2 Max Intervals, most FARTLEK RUNS and other activities that increase your heart and breathing rate above THRESHOLD.


We color-code anaerobic activities within our training plans in shades of orange for STRENGTH (HILLS, STRENGTH or RESISTANCE TRAINING, muscular endurance cross training like MTB), yellow for SPEED (STRIDES, FARTLEKS, VO2 MAX WORKOUTS, etc.) and gray for SPRINT.


Training in each of these effort level/training zones will help you become a more complete runner by preparing your body and mind for the challenges you will encounter on race day.



MINIMUM EFFECTIVE DOSE


We draw upon time-tested principles when designing training to balance volume and intensity, stress and rest so that our athletes are prepared mentally and physically when they arrive at their goal races. We refer to this practice as the minimum effective dose. By doing what is necessary to gain fitness and confidence while also respecting the body's breaking points and need to rest to absorb the training, we are able to continue to train consistently and make incremental gains toward long-term objectives.


LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS


In economics, the"law of diminishing returns" is defined as "the point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested." The same principle applies to running. After a certain point, doing too much volume or intensity too often will eventually lead to reduced gains relative to effort and/or time invested.


For example, it is not necessary for an aspiring marathoner to run a full marathon every day or week in training in order to prepare for an upcoming marathon. In fact, most coaches and athletes recognize such training would be unsustainable for most athletes. But for some reason, when some aspire to run an ultramarathon they think they need to run an ultramarathon every day or week in training. Why?


LAW OF SPECIFICITY


While simulating race-like conditions is an important aspect of the law of specificity, it has its limits. Those who try to simulate goal pace or goal distance too often in practice usually break themselves mentally and/or physically long before the event for which they are preparing.


We understand the need to feel confident and competent at the goal distance or duration of an upcoming challenge, but there are physiological limits that when crossed will likely lead to diminishing returns rather than the desired gains.


Thank you for entrusting us with the design of your training and the application of these time-tested principles.

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