To move forward you sometimes have to take a step back. For a long time I’ve changed plans but only papered over the cracks. This has seen some short term gains but long term nothing has really improved over the past few years and ever since April last year, I’ve been rudderless. I’ve tried coaches both online and offline. Listened to older more experienced runners but as I always had one foot on the racing pedal, I could never actually commit to any proper training plan. Since I’ve started all my training has worked round which race(s) I have coming up. This has always been a problem that I’ve ignored for far too many years, till recently it has gotten to the point where everything has come to a head and I’ve finally done the right thing and stopped.
If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done
Now I have cleared the rest of the year of any races, not only can I now enjoy just running for pure enjoyment (& fitness) but I can also build a proper winter base, so should I decided come 2019 to pick a race, I will have 3 months of autumn/winter training under my belt. Plus going forward should I decided to race again. Races would fall into one of two categories, They would either be my A race and I will do a plan that focused on that distance with that race at the end of said plan. Or, the race would be a short distance as a tune up race for my target A race.
Any race I would do going forward would be for a specific reason. For too long I’ve done too many races for the wrong reasons and as a result my long term goals have suffered.
I also think a lot of what’s gone wrong/not worked is over racing. Now racing every week might suit those who are younger, or don’t chase times and are content just to get round rather then like me who has done anything which has given me a finish time flat out. For first few years I was on a upward trajectory. I’ve now found that I have leveled off and my best times at the moment seem to be in the lower 17 minutes for 5k and sub 36 for 10k, if I train and target those distances. My thinking is if I want to get faster, I need to train specifically for a distance and have one goal at a time. This is something my long suffering wife has been saying to me but I’m a stubborn old fool who has to learn things the hard way…………….
So to the new plan. First there is no races at all on the horizon. Made a promise/commitment that I will not race again in 2018 and I will see how I feel in 2019. I will then sit down with my wife and decide which distance will get my focus and set an 8 to 16 week plan (depending on distance). Till then it’s about going back to square one. My wife is not a runner, but she knows me better than I know myself.
This is a 5 week month which is perfect for what I’ve planned for this month. I have set a simple week that I am repeating all month. This month there is no speed work, only one steady run on a Wednesday, then rest is running to feel, learning to enjoy the run and no pushing heart rate up. As weather is turning I have to be mindful of my chest, so the treadmill will be a regular training tool. This year I’ve found that the treadmill is fantastic for tempo, long reps and focused sessions. Especially as round here it’s very hilly.
When I created the plan I wanted a proper rest day, so that meant not getting up early, no work and a full day with family. So Saturday is now my permanent rest day. I have sandwiched that between a medium long run on a Friday and my long run on Sunday.
This is how every week in October looks:
- Monday: AM 3 miles | PM 6 miles
- Tuesday: AM 3 miles | PM 6 miles
- Wednesday: 6 miles steady
- Thursday: AM 3 miles | PM 6 miles
- Friday: 10 miles
- Saturday: REST
- Sunday: 13 miles
This will give me 56 miles for the week, for a long time I have neglected the long run. So month one is 13 miles every Sunday. The weekday runs are all easy so heart rate kept under 75% and then my steady run no higher then 80%. For those who work on pace, it roughly means anything over 7:00 minute per mile for easy runs, depending on conditions, profile etc. For a steady run it means around 6:50 to 7:00 minute pace. Again I have to take it to account conditions, hills, weather etc. I find pace can differ inside on treadmill as well. 5 weeks of this should lay a good foundation. At the time of writing this I’ve really enjoyed the runs. The pressure has gone from my running and that is a massive difference.
Should things go to plan, the aim in November is to add to the overall mileage, increase the distance on my long runs, as well as re-adding speed work. This time speed sessions will be different. I can no longer do track sessions, it’s a 180 minute round trip (on a good day) and with work and family life its not possible to fit in. However, having not really done track sessions since last year, I’ve found other sessions to work on speed.
In November, the following will be added:
- Tuesday’s: Interval sessions, these will be on the treadmill starting at 1k reps and going up to 3k. These will be at different race paces. With jog recoveries varying between 60s up to 2:00.
- Thursday’s: Tempo/Progression sessions, being able to sustain paces in races have always been an issue so these sessions will be a way of working on sustaining paces for longer.
- Friday’s/Sunday’s: Friday’s will stay at 10 miles and Sunday’s increasing to 15 miles. Some of these will be done on the treadmill. I also aim to every other week do one session with some structure. For example one week I will do a 10 mile at a consistent steady pace. Or another I might do a Sunday run with a certain about at a target pace.
I have a rough idea regarding December but what the plan will depend on how October goes, should I feel I’m not ready to implement the plan for November. I will continue with Octobers plan for another month. However, should things go smooth then I will implement Novembers plan and see how my mind/body react to the plan before I set December’s plan in stone.
Should you see anything be it on my plan, training posts or Strava stating a specific pace be it marathon pace, half marathon pace, 10 mile pace etc. These are simply training paces for my reference only, it does not mean I have a race lined up at a certain distance, before some of you start reading between the lines.
With my training I’m thinking of weekly posts. More for my own personal sanity and getting down on paper how I feel while it’s still fresh in my mind.