On October 22nd, 2023, Samuel Barata participated in the Valencia Half Marathon with the aim of surpassing the time of 60:56. He completed the race in 59:40, breaking the Portuguese National Record by 1 minute and 16 seconds. Achieving this significant milestone was a monumental goal for him, yet it marks just one step on his journey towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

While Samuel's time is impressive, the story behind an athlete's success involves extensive preparation long before they step onto the starting line. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of his training regimen and his performance on race day.

Watch Used: COROS APEX 2 Pro

Analysis Tool: COROS Training Hub

Data Analyzed By: COROS Coaches

Training Prior to the Valencia Half Marathon

Prior to any significant competition, tailoring your training to suit the specific demands of that event is the most effective strategy, and this is a valuable lesson that all athletes can learn from Samuel. It is important to establish a strong fitness foundation and then fine-tune your training as the main event approaches. When examining Samuel's preparation for the Valencia Half Marathon, it's evident that he executed this approach well. Additionally, his training highlights the importance for all athletes to place a significant emphasis on Zone 1 and easy-paced running in their training routines.

Base Fitness

Samuel Barata's Base Fitness from May through his National Record performance.

COROS Education: Base Fitness measures your overall fitness on a 42-day rolling average.

Samuel's Base Fitness graph reveals several significant insight including:

  • At the start of summer (early June), Samuel deliberately reduced his training volume and intensity before gearing up for fall races, leading to a decrease in Base Fitness.
  • From August to October, Samuel raised his Base Fitness score by 86 points (from 89 to 175), indicating a consistent weekly increase of 7 points.
  • Samuel's shift towards more focused and intense training is evident in the graph, where the Intensity Trend (orange) consistently surpasses the Base Fitness (blue). His Intensity Trend changed from frequently negative to positive during his buildup phase.
  • It is important to note that Samuel did about a 5 day rest going into this race. This event served as part of his preparation for the Valencia Marathon in December, where he aims to meet the Olympic qualification standard for Paris 2024. This is the reason we don't observe a significant decline in his Base Fitness before the race.
If the Intensity Trend is positive, it means you are making progress and improving your fitness level over time. This is a good sign that your workouts are appropriately challenging!

Specific Training

A preview of one of Samuel's biggest training weeks.

Samuel's Weekly Training Structure:

  • Tuesday: Interval training with varying repeat lengths and rest intervals.
  • Thursday: Focused on threshold workouts.
  • Saturday: Dedicated to long runs, with his longest run being 34 kilometers (21 miles).
  • The other days of the week are reserved for easy-paced running, supporting ongoing aerobic development.

Time in Zones Chart

Analyzing Samuel's training regimen from August 6th to October 21st, leading up to the Valencia Half Marathon, this graph provides a distinct representation of his training approach. It is apparent that Samuel allocates a considerable portion of his training distance to Zone 1, which aligns with his Aerobic Endurance Zone.

Samuel's Pace Zone Distribution during his specific training phase from August to October 2023.

COROS Education: The Pace Zone Distribution graph breaks down your running volume into 5 pace zones to better monitor your sessions.

Considering the high volume of his training, maintaining a comfortable effort level within this zone is important. This observation highlights that even elite athletes, including the fastest ones, prioritize Zone 1 and Zone 2 training extensively. This focus remains consistent even though Samuel raced in Zone 3 for his National Record.

Race Day!

COROS Education: Activity metrics can be found on the Training Hub activity page for further analysis of any given session/race.

The Valencia Half Marathon was an amazing race for Samuel. Achieving the Portuguese National Record and breaking the 60 minute mark are both huge accomplishments. We will dive into three key takeaways from his race, including time in zones, pacing, and cadence.

Time in Zones

Samuel stayed in Zone 3 for 70% of his half marathon.

Despite the majority of Samuel's training occurring in Zone 1 and Zone 2, he managed to race in Zone 3 and Zone 4. Regular training at a moderate intensity enables him to build the endurance necessary to sustain a high effort for nearly 60 minutes. Excessive training in Zone 3 and Zone 4 places significant strain on the body, which explains the limited amount of his training sessions at these higher speeds.

Pacing and Cadence

Samuel's race day data.

The above image is a great representation of proper pacing. Although Samuel went out strong, he was able to maintain 2:45-2:51 per kilometer. Even when the race got hard towards the end, we can tell he maintained proper form because of his average cadence of 191. Focusing on a high cadence promotes greater efficiency and less strain overall on the muscular system.

How Samuel Uses His COROS Watch

Samuel said, "The COROS watch is an incredible part of my training and my main work tool." He regularly uses his watch to help monitor distance and speed, analyze his heart rate, and monitor his training load. Samuel also uses his watch to help him prioritize recovery.

Samuel's Future Running Goals

Samuel used to compete frequently on the track before spending more time focusing on road running. As mentioned, his big goal is to be present at the Paris 2024 Olympics Games in the Marathon. However he doesn't plan on slowing down any time soon as he has goals to best his 5,000 and 10,000 meter track races. Samuel enjoys training hard so he can show up to competitions fit, ready to find his limits. We look forward to seeing what he can do at the Valencia Marathon and are excited to watch him pursue his Olympic dream!