My Legs Are Fucking Sore!
Before you call me crazy, here me out as to why I think MLAFS might possibly be one of the most beneficial type of training runs a triathlete can do.
Great Mental Training:
When you run with sore legs, something happens to the mind. Something takes over. You go into another place. Is this a mechanism to protect you from the pain? Possibly. For me, I find that I go into an almost trance like state. I will be running along, and then I will suddenly realize I don’t hardly remember the last mile or two. MLAFS are great at training your mind to “go into that other place.” This will come in handy on race day.
Great Physical Training:
MLAFS train your legs and the muscles to function even though they are sore. There is something much different about running on sore legs, and continuing to run when they are sore. Training the muscles to move the legs when they are sore will be a huge benefit on race day. I can almost guarantee you first time triathletes that your legs will very sore at about 1/2 way through the run portion of your race.
“I do bricks – isn’t that the same?”
Not in my opinion. First, many triathletes do their bricks at about a 10% (or less) ratio. Meaning, they run about 10% of the distance they rode your bike. Say you did a 50 mile / 5 mile bike run brick workout. Most triathletes find that it takes 2-3 miles for their legs to get into run mode. This leaves you 2-3 miles of actual running. In my opinion, this does not come close to simulating the feeling your legs will have on race day. On race day, you will run faster than you run in training. Even if you don’t plan to. You will burn more energy, and you will be more sore.
The Run distance of both the half and full Ironman triathlon is 23% of the bike distance. Brick workouts get you used to what it feels like to run immediately after biking, but they don’t simulate a real world race feeling. MLAFS, I have found, are the closest thing to what the run portion of an Ironman feels like. I believe they will more accurately prepare you for what your legs are probably going to feel like on race day.
MLAFS will pay off on race day when you are at mile 18 and your legs hurt so bad you don’t think you can run any further. Your mind and body go into autopilot mode, and you will keep running.
When to schedule an MLAFS run:
The day after a long bike run brick, when you know your legs are going to be sore. Or, do an MLAFS run when you are supposed to have a day off from running, and then take the next day off to recover.
I do not think you should do this every week. Maybe every 2-3 weeks.
If you really want to be prepared on race day, I say HTFU* and throw some MLAFS into your training.
*Avoid injury. Know your body, and know how much you can HTFU while running.
What say you triathletes and triathlon coaches? Do you Agree or Disagree that MLAFS should be a regular part of training?