Posted by: pointlenana | February 15, 2012

Weekly Rhythm

I had an awesome run home tonight – more on that in a bit. 

In my last post I talked about various paces I run.  Although people reasonably point out that runners do not have to lock themselves into a weekly schedule, like many I work off a weekly schedule.  Perhaps a 10 day rhythm would work better for me, but with work and life in general, it’s just easy to do it on a weekly basis. 

In a normal training week for me, I do two or three “quality” runs and two to four more “quantity” runs where I’m just getting miles in.  The quantity runs are at easy pace and typically last 30 to 60 minutes.  Those tend to be fun runs, although if I’m tired they don’t feel so fun, and the whole goal is just to get more miles in during the week and get my body used to lots of mileage. 

The quality runs are more interesting.  In a normal week, I do one long run (at easy pace) and one fast run either at interval pace (anaerobic) or tempo pace (barely aerobic).  My long runs are in the 17 to 22 mile range.  Sometimes I do the whole run at easy pace.  Sometimes I warm up and cool down and in between run 13-15 miles at my goal marathon pace.  Sometimes I bracket a long (10 mile) easy section with tempo intervals – I think those are the hardest runs and the ones that come closest to approximating the crummy feeling I have in the last miles of a marathon.  I’ve also played around with fast finish long runs, where I run easy for maybe 8-10 miles and then gradually accelerate to the point where I run the last miles at marathon pace.  Long runs can be killer or fun.  This past weekend Janet and I headed due south along Lake Washington, and did 21 miles roundtrip.  It’s amazing how far you can go on foot when you run in one direction.  That was a fun run although I think I bonked a couple miles from home and wasn’t sure I was going to make it.

For the fast runs, I usually do a total of 15-25 minutes of interval pace (with “rests” at easy pace between intervals) or 40-60 minutes total of tempo.  Tempo can be slightly faster intervals of 10 minutes, normal tempo pace for 20 minute intervals, or just one long 50 minute section of tempo pace where I run almost 7 miles with 2 mile warm ups and cool downs.  A tempo run like that takes me about 90 minutes and I cover about 11 miles.  It takes some discipline to cram that in during the work week, and I usually need to go to bed early that night after getting up early. 

When I was training for CIM in the fall, I had maybe 7 weeks where I did two fast workouts each week –  intervals and marathon pace one week and/or tempo and marathon pace.  I got away with that without injury but I’m not sure I could sustain that for long.  For this training cycle, I’m adding in a “medium long run” which in theory is 13-16 miles at easy pace.  In my case it’s closer to 17 because that’s how far it is when I run home from work.  After a few times where I barely made it home, tonight was the first time that I did it and felt good the whole way home. The first time I did it I was exhausted, the second time was one day after crashing my bike on ice and leaving a big hole and bruise in my hip, a couple weeks ago was better but hard, and tonight I felt like I had finally adapted.  That’s the thing about long runs – it can take 3-4 weeks before your body completes its adaptation.  Anyway, after running 21 on Saturday, 14 total on Sunday (11 in the morning, 3 in the evening), and doing some non-trivial strength training Sunday and this morning, I was very happy to do 17 tonight and feel good. 

With those 3 quality runs, I always leave at least one easy or rest day in between.  The long run counts as quality even if it’s at easy pace, just because it’s long.  So in my case the rhythm most weeks has been long run on Saturday, easy run(s) Sunday, no running Monday, medium long Tuesday, short easy on Wed, fast run Thur, rest on Friday.  I’ve found I need at least one day where I don’t do much at all, and that a second day that’s pretty easy and/or cross-training (I might ride home from work for 60-90 minutes) has helped eliminate some injuries. 

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