My previous training basically had two speeds: slow and fast. That’s not a bad thing, but more serious runners have much more precise training plans. I was introduced to the Daniels Forumla by my buddies in the Northport Running Club and quickly read the book.
As my New York City Marathon training plan (which I will post soon) is based on alot of the principles in the book, I figured a seperate, brief overview would be a good idea.
Warning: The book is not a “easy” or “fun” read. It is extremely detailed and scientific and has the vibe of a text book. The book, however, is full of great information and really helps you understand your body and running.
The quick overview of the Daniels Formula is that it revolves around an invented VDOT score for every runner. VDOT is basically a more elaborate VO2Max. With the result of a recent competition, a runner can find his or her VDOT value and determine an “equivalent performance” at a different race distance. Given that runners with identical V̇O2max values may have differences in running economy/efficiency, biomechanics, and mental toughness, Daniels concludes that VDOT is, due to this holistic view, a better value from which to assess fitness and determine training paces.
Also, workouts are broken into four main categories: Easy (E), Marathon (M), Interval (I), and Threshold (T). Based on your VDOT score, Daniels provides percentages and paces for your training schedules.
Easy (E) Pace – At 65-79% of maximum heart rate (HRmax), this non-straining intensity is used for recovery runs, warm-up, cool-down and long runs. The primary purpose is to build a base for more intense workouts by strengthening the heart and increasing the muscles’ ability to use oxygen, and to recover between hard workouts. Daniels recommends that most training miles are performed in E pace. Typical E runs include continuous runs up to about an hour.
Marathon (M) Pace – At 80-90% HRmax, this intensity is primarily aimed towards runners training for the marathon. The pace is one at which the runner hopes to complete. The pace can be included in other programs for a more intense workout, especially if the runner feels fresh and there is enough time to recover afterwards. M-runs are performed as continuous runs up to several hours, or as long interval training.
Threshold (T) Pace – At 88-92% HRmax, this intensity is aimed to raise the lactate threshold. The runner should be able to sustain this pace for up to 60 minutes during racing. Daniels describe this intensity as “comfortably hard”. In elite runners, the pace matches the half marathon one, while less trained runners will run at around 10k pace. Daniels points out the importance of keeping the given pace to reap the benefits of the training. T runs are typically performed as continuous “tempo” runs for 20 minutes or more, or as “cruise” interval training with 3 to 10 of 3 to 15 minutes long work bouts, having 20%-25% rest intervals in between. No more than 10% of the weekly miles should be run in T pace.
Interval (I) Pace – Intensity at 98-100 % HRmax. This intensity stresses the VO2max to raise the maximum oxygen uptake capacity. Since the pace is very intense, it can only be sustained for up to 12 minutes during racing. To cope with the intensity, and to train for longer periods of time, this training is performed as interval training, hence the name. The interval between each work bout should be a little less than the time of the work bout. For example, an I session can be 6 x 800 m at I pace with intervals as long as the time a 400 m recovery jog takes. At most 8% of the weekly training miles should be I pace.
That’s all there is to it! I am already seeing great progress and highly recommend this book for the more serious runner.