Just thought I'd share a little case study from one of our running/cycling athletes, Dean, about how to implement the training fundamental of progressive overload.  For any program to produce improved performance, progressive overload, needs to play a key part.  Essentially progressive overload means gradually and consistently increasing the intensity of your program.  This can be done in a number of ways and just depends on the type of athlete, their goals and current fitness levels as to how you do this.

In the case of Dean, he is currently training for his A race being a marathon.  As we are a long way out from race day we are currently working on his speed and more exactly his speed endurance.  And we're doing this by using 400m intervals.  Now this is nothing new but have a look at how we have progressed these.  Prior to coming into this part of his training Deano was capable enough to do 12 reps of 400s so the challenge was now to step this up.  When building these sessions I consider how much of session distance is at 'speed' pace.  For 12x400s it's 4.8k which is suitable for most 5k-21k runners.  But at Deans level he has demonstrated the ability to tolerate more speed k's.  So now the goal is to double this target and aim to build him up to speed sessions with 10k of speed.  So you'll see below we've stepped up over a number of weeks from 17 reps (6.8k) to 20 reps (8k) and 23 reps (9.2k) x 400s.  

And you'll see I've included the detail of the session plan where he is running these at 3:30s.  Bear in mind this is for someone whose goal marathon pace will be about 4:10-4:15min/km.  

As he 'graduates' past these 400s we'll progress him into longer intervals gradually dropping pace down to goal race pace as the race gets closer.
So with whatever discipline you are trying to improve at have a think about what your current fitness level is and then put together a plan that GRADUALLY and CONSISTENTLY applies this fundamental in order to stretch your current boundaries and become a fitter and stronger athlete.

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