Oregon Circuits – Give Track Sessions A Kick! #RunFormFriday

Track Sessions – Why?

Lots of athletes get out and do track sessions – for various reasons. Some do it for speed, some do it for technique, some for power; some just for the ability to run with others! All of the above are certainly applicable, but some track sessions such as Oregon Circuits can do all in one go!

Oregon Circuit training sessions are track sessions with a difference. Taking their name from the University of Oregon where they were apparently first conceived, these sessions entail a measured balance of speed running combined with targeted strength exercises. The benefits are multiple, as you will see below.

 

What’s The Benefit To My Body?

By working on circuit activities and running between each station, you mix endurance work with resistance work and so tone and strengthen your muscles whilst getting a double whammy of aerobic and anaerobic activity. You keep your heart rate fairly high throughout and so get a good conditioning session for the heart. The session tends can be done and dusted in a short space of time because it gives such good return for your effort.

Track Sessions

Track sessions are a great way to improve your running, Oregon Circuits are a supercharged version!

By working on circuit activities and running between each station, you mix endurance work with resistance work. This will strengthen your muscles whilst giving a double whammy of aerobic and anaerobic activity. You keep your heart rate fairly high throughout and so get a good conditioning session for the heart. The session tends can be done and dusted in a short space of time because it gives such good return for your effort.

The way that you order the exercises to be performed depends on what you want to get out of the session.  The Oregon Circuit is sometimes performed with leg-only exercises; other times it has two or three stations for legs, core and upper body. The stations can be grouped with the leg exercises being performed consecutively before the core exercises and finally the upper body. However, the benefit of splitting the workout so that you alternate between different areas is that the heart has to work harder to move the blood from one area of the body to another. As a result the cardiovascular workout is enhanced.

The most important coaching point in terms of pace and effort is that while the runs should be at ‘race pace’, these should feel like the recovery in terms of effort from the challenging nature of the exercises.

 

Example Sessions

4 x 8min blocks of work (2mins recovery)

Warm-Up
Block 1 (8mins no-rest):
– Sumo Squats x 20
– Run 300m @ race pace
– Plank Jacks x 20
– Run 300m @ race pace
– Repeat…
2min Walking Recovery
Block 2 (8mins no-rest):
– Lateral Lunge x 15 each leg
– Run 300m @ race pace
– Mountain Climber Press-Up x 12 each leg
– Run 300m @ race pace
– Repeat…
2min Walking Recovery
Block 3 (8mins no-rest):
– High Step-Up x 15 each leg
– Run 300m @ race pace
– Single Leg Deadlift x 15 each leg
– Run 300m @ race pace
– Repeat…
2min Walking Recovery
Block 4 (8mins no-rest):
– Single Leg Glute Bridge x 15 each leg
– Run 300m @ race pace
– 4-point Donkey Kicks x 15 each leg
– Run 300m @ race pace
– Repeat…
Cool Down

Of course your sessions don’t have to be that complex! You could do something far more simple if you’re on your own or you want to get something in quickly!

Simple session:

100 @ race pace, 10 squats
2×90 @ race pace, 10 squats
3×80 @ race pace, 10 squats
4×70 @ race pace, 10 squats
etc etc.

To be honest, I believe it’s the basic combination of strength and tempo running that provides the benefit, not the specifics in terms of sets and reps. I think we often look to make training more complicated than it needs to be.

These sessions are intense and should be performed once a week at most. I’m yet to find another running workout that builds strength-endurance and resilience as effectively, not even hill reps, another favourite workout of mine.

Running fatigued is the biggest benefit of these sessions. With the correct cues in mind, every run rep can be very focused on technique. Not only this, but with well chosen strength exercises, you get a degree of transfer of muscle activation between the exercise and the run rep.

Send us a message or leave a comment and let us know if you have any questions! We all have our own thoughts on the matter, and we all have something different that suits us. Let us know if you do these – or give it a go this week!

See what’s up next week for our #RunFormFriday tip! For more in depth understanding on how to put this into practise, get in touch and we’ll see how we can help!

 

Most of the info/text for this came from fantastic coach/writer/physio James Dunne at Kinetic Revolution –

Oregon Circuit Workouts: Big Bang for Your Training Buck!