My Training Plan [Part three]

As we enter the winter months I have revised my training schedule (seems as good an excuse as any!). I’ve also joined a gym which I hope will serve me well on the days none of us wish to venture outside.

Sunday: Long run (usually 60–90 minutes).

Monday: Rest, alternative training and/or easy run. If run, I will try to restrict this to 30 minutes as it’s more important to be fresh for tomorrow’s training.

Tuesday: Interval Training. A typical training session is as follows: 12 minute easy run to warm-up, followed by 12 x 1min interval (recovery also 1 min). Easy run warm-down several minutes.

Wednesday: Steady run (up to about 40 minutes).

Thursday: Tempo Run. There are many versions of the tempo run. This is mine: one mile warm-up followed by three miles at tempo pace (for me, this is 85-90% of my top speed for 5k), and then a few minutes jog to warm-down.

Friday: Rest or easy run. I will only run if I’m unable run on Saturday due to other commitments.

Saturday: Parkrun (if possible). I do not run at race-pace every week. Some weeks I will run easy or start easy before building up speed. If I train on Friday, this is a rest day.

In addition to the above, several times a week I will do stretching and strengthening exercises.

There has to be a degree of flexibility with every training plan. I don’t get too stressed if I can’t train as intended. It could be on a Tuesday that I feel tired, so I do a steady run instead and put the intervals back till Wednesday.

What I think is important though, is consistency over a given period. You know how it feels when training has been going well for a couple of months (or in some cases a lot longer). Physically you’re in a better shape to run well and mentally I think also: consistent training breeds confidence.

Happy Running

Matt

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Running Tips (Part Three)

17. Quality over Quantity “Quality counts, if you want to stay fast. Don’t do all your workouts in the comfort zone.” —Ken Sparks, Ph.D., top masters’ marathoner

18. All Considered… “Run your own race at an even pace. Consider the course, the temperature, the weather, and most importantly, your current level of fitness.” —Marty Liquori

19. A Short Memory for Failure “If you have a bad workout or run a bad race, allow yourself exactly 1 hour to stew about it—then move on.” —Steve Scott, coach and U.S. record holder in the mile

20. Improvement in Intervals “Expect to put in 6 to 10 successful track workouts before you begin to see some payoff in your races.” —Marc Bloom, runner/writer/coach

21. Speed Play “Fartlek training can help you build strength and endurance, learn race pace, and practice race tactics all in a single workout.” —Bill Dellinger, former University of Oregon coach and 1964 Olympic 5000 bronze medal winner

22. In your Own Time “The day after a hard workout, I always train alone. If you run with someone else, there can be a tendency to push harder than you should.” —Mark Allen, former Ironman champion

23. Just Routine “If one can stick to training throughout many long years, then willpower is no longer a problem. It’s raining? That doesn’t matter. I’m tired? That’s beside the point. It’s simply that I have to.” —Emil Zatopek.

Happy Running

Matt

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Daventry Parkrun No. 98

I certainly benefitted from the fresher conditions today. I felt I ran a consistent race with split times for each mile fairly even. Only seven seconds separated me from a new comeback pb.

As I’ve already mentioned, I have supplemented my five runs a week with 2 sessions on the bike. I feel better for the extra training but don’t welcome the idea of being out on the bike in colder weather, so I’ve decided to hit the gym over the winter months.

It can be hard to get out the door and run sometimes – especially in January which feels like a longer month, so having the option to train indoors seems a good idea. It also gives the opportunity to work on strength as well as cardiovascular fitness.

I prefer running/training off-road, so wetter, muddier conditions makes the task of speed work such as intervals much more difficult. Again, gym usage will make this more possible. I also want to see if improved conditioning from the strength training results in faster parkrun times. I do some strength exercises at home but this shouldn’t compare to what you can do in a gym.

My time for this parkrun was 24.03. No parkrun next Saturday as I’m on football duties, but the week after, I’m hoping to pay a long overdue visit to Northampton Parkrun. The course brings back memories as I often trained there when I lived in the town.

Happy running

Matt

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Daventry Parkrun No.93 & 94

Summer weather came late this year, but it’s certainly a lot warmer at start time on a Saturday than it was a few weeks ago. I’m still struggling to acclimatise, which in part, is denying me the opportunity to seriously challenge my comeback pb (still 23:57 from last year).

A few weeks ago I did get within 4 seconds of my best, but I took the decision, that even if I set a new mark, it was only going to represent a marginal improvement. For that reason, I have increased my training. I’m 4 weeks in and really enjoying the additional training; most of which is on the bike. My total cardio (from running) was 3-3.5 hours per week. This has now increased to 4-5 hours (running and bike).

There are 2 main areas I’m looking to improve with this extra training: aerobic fitness and weight loss. I have definitely lost a little more weight: time will tell if my fitness level has increased. Of course, there are also the benefits derived from cross-training, such as making the muscles stronger by exercising them in a different way.

I’m hoping to see the benefits of my new training regime in September and October. If it works it is something I’m prepared to stick with. My times for the 2 above parkruns were 24.31 and 24.27 respectively.

Happy Running

Matt

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My Training Week [Part 2]

Below is an article from some time ago. I took the decision a few weeks ago to increase my training in pursuit of faster times. I’ve highlighted the additional training in italics. It’s too early to tell whether the extra training has been beneficial but I’ll keep you posted.

Thought it would be a good idea to post my training on a typical week. I’m also interested in what you do? I speak to other runners all the time at parkrun events, and it’s nice to hear how they train; occasionally, I incorporate some of their ideas in to what I do.

Sunday: Long run (usually 50–70 minutes). PM: 30-40 mins on bike

Monday: Rest or alternative training (could be cycling, strength exercises or stretching). I’ve just started a 2-week training plan which allows me to run every other Monday, if I wish. Not usually more than 30 minutes at steady/ brisk pace. Now training on Mondays: Up to 40 mins running or 30-60 mins on bike.

Tuesday: Short Intervals (usually 8 by 30 seconds with 30 seconds recovery). With warm up/ warm down, this session usually lasts between 30-40 minutes.

Wednesday: Steady run (up to about 40 minutes). PM: 30-40 mins on bike

Thursday: Intervals (I vary this session. Intervals anything between 30 seconds and a minute and a half). The number of intervals is based on how long they are. So for a minute and a half, I might only do four. With warm up/ warm down, this session lasts up to 40 minutes.

Friday: Rest. Might do some stretching. I will sometimes train if I can’t run Saturday because of other commitments.

Saturday: Parkrun (if possible). I do not run at race-pace every week. Some weeks I will run easy or start easy before building up speed.

There has to be a degree of flexibility with every training plan. I don’t get too stressed if I can’t train as intended. It could be on a Tuesday that I feel tired, so I do a steady run instead and put the intervals back till Wednesday.

What I think is important though, is consistency over a given period. You know how it feels when training has been going well for a couple of months. Physically you’re in a better shape to run well and mentally I think also: consistent training breeds confidence.

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Running Tips (Part Two)

Welcome to part two of advice from the experts. I hope some of these tips prove interesting. I must admit there’s a few that have given me something to think about.

9.Staying Interested “A 40-minute run punctuated with a half-dozen 30-second pace pickups (not all-out sprints) can really jazz up an otherwise boring training run.” —Amby Burfoot, Runner’s World editor and 1968 Boston Marathon champ

10.Steady Progress “Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is doing the training that makes you gradually stronger.” —Keith Brantly, U.S. Olympic marathoner

11.Run/ train for fun “Do tough workouts that you enjoy. Mile repeats and quarters are more fun for me than fartlek. [“Fartlek” is Swedish for variable-paced, up-tempo running.] I feel better about my running when I do the workouts I enjoy and that I know I benefit from.” —Dan Cloeter, two-time Chicago Marathon winner

12.Stop the Clock “I don’t wear a watch during my long runs. That way I’m not tempted to compare my time from week to week.” —Lynn Jennings, three-time World Cross-Country champion

13.When Rest is Best “Back off at the first sign of injury. Three to 5 days off is better than missing a month or two. Take regular rest days.” —PattiSue Plumer, two-time U.S. Olympian

14.Uphill Battle “Hills are the only beneficial type of resistance training for a runner.” —Arthur Lydiard, Olympic coach from New Zealand

15.Finding your Rhythm “Running hills breaks up your rhythm and forces your muscles to adapt to new stresses. The result? You become stronger.” —Eamonn Coghlan, Irish Olympian and only 40-year-old to break 4 minutes in the mile

16.Race Pace “Three half-mile repeats on the track at 5-K race pace with a short recovery jog in between shouldn’t scare anyone away—and it will improve your speed.” —Frank Shorter

Happy Running

Matt

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Easy Run

In a recent post, ‘My Training Week’, you may have seen that on a typical week, I include a long run and a steady run. For me, these should be run at an easy pace for the following reasons:

Running too fast on ‘easy run’ days will eventually catch up with you. It will almost certainly lead to fatigue, which impacts on performance.

The ‘easy run’ is ideal for the day following a hard workout such as intervals. It allows you to continue training while recovery from the day before – and you still reap a multitude of benefits from this type of training.

Improved running economy, mitochondrial growth and slow-twitch muscle fibre development are amongst these benefits. And you can have these for running 60-90 seconds per kilometre slower than your race pace. You also place less stress on your body which helps prevent and avoid injury.

The term ‘junk miles’ is often used to describe an ‘easy run’ performed at an intensity which is too high. The miles are run too fast to recover for upcoming workouts and too slow to be a stimulus for threshold training.

This fully justifies us to slow down and enjoy this training, as opposed to running in every training session like our lives depend on it.

Happy Running

Matt

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