Saturday, January 24, 2009

The 11:39 Plan

Thanks all for your suggestions, encouragement, and stirring (Scott and wannabecoach), over the ruminations in my last post. It's time to type up my training plan for racing 3000 metres in 11:39.

Being a creature of habit — work, play, running with people, solitary runs in the bush — I've decided to go with a weekly plan. One of my sisters (the good-looking one with the American accent) gave me some books for Christmas. The one that I'm reading now is "Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach" by Brad Hudson. I'm not sure that I'll exactly follow one of Hudson's Adaptive Running plans, but there are some good ideas in the book that I hope to use, such as short hill sprints and peaking by increasing the amount of running at or near race-pace.

My weekly plan is also inspired by Constantina Tomescu-Dita's one-week plan which she repeats year-round with, according to Running Times, only slight variations for the season and distance from a goal race. As Canute and Mike have pointed out, consistency is one of my strong points, so I hope to retain that consistency and gradually tweak some of the training sessions. Following is a draft of my training plan, and I'm open to suggestions, even if you say "throw it in the bin and take up lawn bowls".

Monday - 16k with the Speedygeese (optional 4k at tempo or upper aerobic pace) - aerobic support
Tuesday - 10-12k from Calwell including steep hill sprints, and/or 'sprints' on the track (optional short easy run in the morning)
Wednesday - 14-16k flat, easy - aerobic support
Thursday - Short race (400, 800, 1500 or 3000), OR 10-12k at Calwell including drills
Friday - 12-16k easy (perhaps in two runs) - aerobic support
Saturday - Intervals at 3k race-pace (such as 3 x 1000 metres)
Sunday - 14-20k easy (perhaps in two runs) - aerobic support


Blogger Superflake said...

You can do it. I reckon faster. 11:30 for you and I'll buy the beers after Canberra.

11:20 pm  
Anonymous Julie said...

I know nothing about training for shorter distances, so I won't comment on that. But it's good to have a goal and a plan. And now you have both.

I will offer that my partner, Jonathan, also a fast 50+ runner, has incorporated the short hill sprints described in Hudson's book and is running injury free for the first time in about two years.

1:55 am  
Blogger Mike said...

Hi Ewen - I like the framework of the plan. A few comments that you can take for whatever little they're worth:

1. With that much quality I think you might need to schedule in some off days here and there. One every other week or something.

2. In addition to that, you might want to schedule a down week every month or so. I'm finding personally that after about three tough weeks, my body recharges if I take one down week. For me the down week would mean adding one off day, and taking one tough quality day (say your intervals) and reducing the intensity to Tempo pace intervals (like my 5 x 1000m at tempo pace)

3. I wouldn't do short fast intervals and hills in the same week - that's tough on the legs.

4. I'm sure you're going to do this anyway, but on the long and short interval days - come up w/ a few different workouts that might target something slightly different. This helps alleviate any boredom, and also it gives you something to look forward to each workout.

For example if your long interval day is the 3 x 1000 on week #1, and the next week that workout is 800m - mile - 800m (same pace) and the next week it's 1500m - 1000m - 800m (or whatever) by the time you go back to the 3 x 1000 it's 3-weeks later and you'll be able to test your performance against last time. This way, you're always geared up to do these workouts as you'll always be testing your progress against 3-weeks ago.

Also, having longer intervals like 1500m and a mile will force you to hold pace a little longer adding something extra to the core 1000m repeats. (make sure you adjust your rest for the longer repeats!)

Regardless of how you do it, I think sticking to a consistent schedule where you hit a long run, and long intervals in addition to a hill or speed day, and you're well on your way.

Make sure you ramp into it slowly. Have it take a month or so to get completely up to speed. Going straight into something like that could completely shock your body.

3:12 am  
Blogger jojo said...

are there any rest days? maybe my coach isnt as ean as i first thought!!!! BTW-dont get too speedy in the itll make my chasing too hard :)

7:25 am  
Blogger Runner Susan said...

You can't go wrong with a one week plan. That's like genius talk.

P.S. I think Mike has a crush on you. Seriously, I've never had a comment that long.

8:27 am  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Ewen and I ARE going to move to 5 x 1k at tempo pace, for a short time this year. We were talking about it only yesterday...

12:02 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Flake, I'll buy the beers when you break 3 hours.

Julie, to be mentioned in the same breath as Jonathan as "also a fast 50+ runner" made me smile. Your partner is exceedingly fast, whereas I'm barely fast. I hope to run just 3k at his blindingly quick marathon pace.

Jo, your coach isn't mean at all. Highly tuned athletes such as yourself may need rest days. For myself, I find a day of easy running is often better than a rest day. However, if I knew I was going to be running 5 x 1k, I might take a rest day!

That's funny Susan. Mike's just offering helpful advice. If you want, I'll prepare a 1000 word comment for your next post about superstar rolling or where to buy bargain shoes.

12:31 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

I feel a little upset everytime I read training plans that require 15km+ runs for a 3-5km PB! What am I going to train for if I don't want to run more than 12k?! 500m? Good luck with the training plan. You will get a break through!

1:54 pm  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

Since Monday is virtually a long run, I would split Tues & wed session in two runs. This will be easier on the body.

Another thing that you might consider is what Brad Hudson called 'add-ons'. After a tempo run, add 3-4 x 200m. This helps you to run fast while tired.

7:26 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

Good luck with that plan. Must be time to put another six pack up. I'll take the Black caps by 3 games to 2.

8:45 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

Just as long as you stick to your Wed run and don't get so fast that you sack me as Wed's running partner!!

10:05 pm  
Blogger Jason said...

In my opinion I really like the plan.

The aerobic base is covered, looking very adequate and far from over done.

Power, exagerated technique in hill work and top end speed is addressed.

Specific race pace work, looks good and is further supported by the faster, by sustained work of track racing.

The plan looks very doable, with the challenge being working at the paces required. With consistency being your strong point, I would say this should get the results you are hoping for. It looks quite similar to the type of programming that Peter Coe would prescribe based on some of his published works, about multipace training.

11:17 am  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

I would second Mike's recommendations, especially about taking days off. In fact, I think it is imperative to take one day off a week. For anyone, especially masters runners and Especially over-50 masters runners. All of my injuries the past 15 years (I'm 61) have been from overuse/lack of rest, and all of my good times (like a 1:23 half at age 60) have been after long periods of non-injury. I would go so far as to say that with no rest days, you WILL get injured. To run well, you have to give your body frequent chances to recover.
By the way, I am in the same club as Steve from Tokyo, but found your blog by a different route (from Sky's blog).
Bob from Tokyo

11:31 am  
OpenID canute1 said...

I like the balance of easy aerobic sessions and speed work. It is a fairly demanding schedule but you demonstrated last October that you can cope with a heavy training load. At that stage it was high volume with a moderate amount of high intensity work; this plan is medium volume with a fairly large amount of high intensity work. Perhaps you should formally write into the plan now that if you feel jaded for more than two consecutive days you will replace the next high intensity session with an easy session or a rest

10:28 am  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

That plan looks good. Those hill sprints might be the ticket too.

I was reading that Lydiard like to focus his runners on doing hills and they had a few fast 3Ks in them. He also reckoned the hill training was the reason he never had an athlete that had achilles or hamstring problems.

11:11 am  
Blogger Rob said...

I agree Scott, and Eagle would too. Hill work really is the key.

10:29 pm  
Anonymous ihatetoast said...

i think you should visit that sister right now. i hear it's positively balmy in MN now. and you need to say you've run in -16 weather.

oh oh oh, make that a goal.

that and run in a skirt.

9:15 am  
OpenID owlblog said...

Ewen re comment on my blog - I'm not running 6ft now. I am not prepared enough. I've been interested in reading Hudson (tried to order the book from Dymocks but they'd sold out :( )

7:13 am  
Blogger Robert Song said...

Send me your snail mail address and I'll send you a CD copy of My Mix.

Mail me at

Twittering. So that is what has happened to Tesso. I just thought she was slack like me.

12:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote ... "Following is a draft of my training plan, and I'm open to suggestions, even if you say "throw it in the bin and take up lawn bowls"."

Please tell me why it is that LAWN BOWLS is always referred to in some derogatory way by people who have obviously never tried the sport! What is wrong with lawn bowls as a form of exercise. You come out on the green with me and put in a one hour practice session and see how much you sweat up.

4:46 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

It's the hats

9:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wannabecoach said;

Ewen is not biased against lawn bowls although he does believe the RSPCA should investigate a game where the target is a defenceless little white kitty.

10:29 am  

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