Friday, May 14, 2010

A simple plan for a simple man

I've devised a training plan to (hopefully) carry me through this busy period of wage-slavery and emerge from the darkness as (perhaps) a better runner than I am now. An admission here: I like backing sure things, and it wouldn't take much to improve from being a 24:02 5k runner!

My plan borrows from Yoshihisa Hosaka — the World's best M60 marathoner, who repeats the same training day ad infinitum. In my plan, I repeat the same two training days. The first day calls for a longish easy run — 90 minutes to an hour 45, which is around 14 to 16 kilometres at my pace. The second day is short — 7 or 8 ks, run as some sort of workout. This could be as simple as a sustained upper aerobic run, to as complicated as 8 x 400 metres with 200 metre jog recoveries preceded by a set of Pete Magill drills. I'll decide on the day what I think I need/can cope with/would enjoy.

Every eighth day will be a rest day. That bit is borrowed from the training of Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi. The diary will look something like: 16, 7, 14, 8, 16, 7, 16, Rest. What is the thought process behind my simple plan? Day one is for cardiovascular endurance but is gentle running, so easy on the legs. Day two is for running at efforts somewhat slower than (or faster than) 5k race-pace, and using race-pace form. I think this modest plan will help me hit a sweet spot of training that produces improvement. On the weekends I'll run on soft trails through local bushland with friends and curious kangaroos.

Three kangaroos watch us runWe often see kangaroos on runs around Canberra


Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Looks like a good plan to me. And fun...we don't get many kangaroos in Tokyo.

7:25 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

Running on soft trails with friends sounds good to me providing it's followed by coffee with friends!! That photo turned out pretty good!

7:56 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

That was such bad English but you know what I mean :)

7:56 pm  
Blogger jen said...

I really like the sound of that plan. Very logical but challenging. Good luck! Love the picture.

3:55 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

My own feeling is that first you need to start with a rest, maybe 2 weeks just jogging.
I think your plan should have one easy long run.
A stride session on grass[some times up and down gentle hills].
A progression run, starting at below marathon pace and increasing through 1/2, and up to 10k pace.
I think you should leave any sort of 5k type intervals out as I think it will just leave you over tired and take too long to recover.
on the other days just very easy running with one day off a week.
also you could have increasing mile weeks for 3 weeks, followed by a low mile week.
well thats just my thoughts :]

4:05 am  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

Too funny, I was thinking in miles and was about to post how tedious the plan seemed with all those long runs. :-) Sounds good as a basic plan and you can always adjust as it goes.

9:01 am  
Anonymous RJR said...

I like the idea of an 8 day schedule so that the weeks vary just a bit.

I don't think the kangaroos will help with the speed any, but that's still very cool.

9:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your plan is good but do not make all three of the work-out sessions hard. Maybe some of them could be something along the lines of an easy 5K warm up and then half a dozen short hill sprints – so short that they are fueled by alactic metabolism and replenished via myoglobin reserves, so that you do not generate any appreciable acidity in the muscles. The aim is to invigorate yourself, not exhaust yourself, while developing the strength required to run fast.

9:21 am  
Blogger Love2Run said...

Some good comments on your plan which I tend to agree with. I'm thinking the old "too much too soon" syndrome and perhaps the need for more rest but I'm sure you'll build up to this level. Seems like an impressive workload (and I'm not talking about the work you get paid for)! Good luck!

9:38 am  
Blogger Superflake said...

Could be like Baldrick. A cunning plan to get faster.

9:37 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Bob. We saw a bigger mob of kangaroos in the same spot yesterday.

Strewth, the coffee yesterday was especially good, and your English is better than my Dutch ;)

Thanks Jen.

Thanks Rick - that's logical, but perhaps a complicated plan... ;) I feel like I've had a good rest with quite a few weeks of low miles. I like the idea of the stride session.

Flo, yes, very funny. Glad I'm not an imperial American or it would be a LOT of mileage ;)

Robert, you should see the kangaroos when they take off and bound over fences.

Canute, that's good advice. I won't be making all three hard. And I like the idea of short hill sprints.

Mike thanks. I pay my commenters good Aussie dollars for their advice ;) Wish I could reverse the work workload and the fun workload!

Thanks Flake. Cunning with a stunning running result? Sorry about the Swans yesterday ;)

7:50 am  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

Sounds like a good plan. Will you do a weekly long run at all (e.g. 2-3 hrs)? Or will it be plain-vanilla Hosaka twice-a-day thing all the time.

11:05 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Hi Sling. Plain-vanilla, with 1:45ish the longest by time. That's about 'time on feet' time for the GC half anyway. So, I guess if I call that a 'long run', there are a few weekly long runs ;)

7:54 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

What Canute 1 says below is spot on. Wish I had his understanding of the issues. Well I do cause I read his blog but it's not the same ;)

"I suspect that the most important determinant of success in a training program is adjusting load and intensity to hit the sweet spot, where the amount of stress on the body is sufficient to promote fitness, but a little short of the level that leads to over-training, injury and eventually to ill-health."

I read Jack Daniels too recently on this topic and he basically says to experiement and find out what works for you.

I can recomend downhill running it worked wonders for me as I was able to get my body used to moving fast and not put too much stress on it, well when I do the same session 10X1K on the flat I can't run long or do much of anything the next day but a can if I do that session downhill and jog back up as a reasonable pace.

Ewen did you do high mileage when you got your PBs?

8:24 pm  
Blogger rinusrunning said...

Thats a good plan Ewen and nice to run whit the kangaroos!.
In Holland we can not run whit the kangaroos!.

12:41 am  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Sounds like it might be fruitful if you plan on racing anything up to a half.. I'd be doing 4x800m rather than 8x400m. a good quote from forrest gump movie is "variety is the spice of life". I think having 3 key sessions to work on is good, but remember to have good variations of similar sessions otherwise you may get pretty bored. rest days are very important to avoid burnout/overtraining. Crosstraining and periodization might be good too...
I was amazed to see about 40 western grey kangaroos , 2 rabbits and a bandicoot! on my long run this evening.

3:05 am  
Blogger Effin' J said...

I like the idea of deciding what you'll do based on how you feel on your harder workout days. I agree with others that you should keep some short strides scattered throughout your plan to maintain your turnover. I'm looking forward to seeing how this plan goes for you.

5:08 am  
Blogger jojo said...

it will be interesting to see how it goes MR

9:03 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Scott, I can do some downhill repeats on a part of the trail near home, so that's one session I'll bring into the mix.

No high mileage when I ran my PBs. I ran around 100 to 115 k weeks with two or three fairly serious speed sessions (speed was the weak part of my running). I would have liked to have tried 140 k weeks for 12 months, but we were working long hours and I couldn't have done it (and stayed healthy).

Thanks Rinus. Running with kangaroos is fun!

Jonathon, it could be 4 x 800 some days. Or 3 x 2000. Those sort of intervals would be at about 10k effort, so fairly aerobic.

Jaymee, thanks for that. The strides will be in there. You remind me that my turnover is bloody awful at the moment!

Thanks Jojo. I'm just glad I'm not racing you any time soon ;)

9:30 pm  
Blogger Yuri said...

Seems like a decent training plan but only recovering every 8 days seems like an overuse injury waiting to happen. Hopefully that's not the case. Keep us posted with how it goes.

Interval Running Man

12:22 am  
Blogger bill carter said...

Hi Ewen

It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into this new training plan and that makes for a much better likelihood for success. Like you, I have been searching for that holy grail of training that will lead to the next great PR. But I think you and I have both come to the realization that is different for every runner and probably different for each runner depending on where they are training wise.

Truly, best of luck to you going forward. I enjoy the cerebral nature of your blog and how it always gets me thinking.

5:46 am  
Blogger Ali said...

I like the simple plan. I think I need to simplify

10:51 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Yuri, my problem is that I have a history of running PBs or running well when I haven't been taking rest days. Although I have very few genes for running fast, I have durable genes ;) I'll keep you posted.

Bill, I came to that realisation (that any method of training needs to be individualised) some time ago. Even with perfectly individualised training it's still hard to string together weeks and months of a plan when work and life issues intervene. If only we could live the life of a professional runner! Thanks for reading.

Thanks Ali. You need a plan that rhymes with "simple girl." ;)

8:43 pm  
Blogger Carla said...

hi. first off- and hope you don't mind- none of my initial comments have to do w/your post (left those for the end). so, here goes (deep breath)..i'm the annoying wench who's posted some critical comments recently on runwestchester blog. i noticed you'd called me out on some things i'd said, but i didn't respond there b/c didn't want to create a sideshow. re the nyc marathon's a lottery system for most to get in, and i'm of the less cynical opinion (from the folks i know who've tossed in their hats) that most are quite dedicated and really want the opportunity to race. i just took issue w/jg's oft-stated comments of late that "one shouldn't 'run' a race," and yet this is what he's debating (after 3 years of holding a spot, one yr understandably b/c of injury). anyway. sue me, but i also think his posts seem rather grumpy lately...i know i often participate in races for a variety of objectives- in some cases to try for a pr, but in others (recently), i've been doing them as speedwork for a marathon (naughty woman). i just feel it's a little drastic to judge people solely based on their time in every race w/o respect to their effort (eg, a tough course), or purpose, or current physical condition. honestly, i wouldn't give a rat's behind whether someone 'ran' or 'raced' nyc- just got annoyed that if there was a distinction being made, then it should be followed.

re your plan- sounds great to me (and i love that it's in km! i'm a scientist- some of us actually reckon measurements that way here, too!). i'm also quite envious of your trail pics...they remind me of west coast trails in the us.

one other thing (finally, right?)- i seem to remember reading a comment of yours that you'd been into racing bikes. just curious- what was your horse? (i live vicariously thru moto-gp'ers).

5:01 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Hi Carla. I don't mind at all. Must say, I don't remember you as being annoying on RunWestchester. There are no problems getting into races here (except for Six Foot and a few obscure ultras), so the lottery system for NYC is a curiosity. From afar, I'd hope that 'charity' runners aren't taking spots from qualified runners at NYC (and Boston). I don't mind if those qualified runners decide to 'run' or 'race' their marathon.

At times I've been accused of being a grumpy old man, so maybe that qualifies me to judge JG's grumpiness, perhaps if I get to meet him when we visit NYC next year.

Thanks re the plan - it's going OK so far. I ran a few trails in Oregon and they were almost as good as ours ;)

That's right about bikes. I never raced road bikes myself. Did a few enduro races, that's all. I'm just a racing fan - mainly of the Aussie riders - starting with the likes of Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan and Garry McCoy to Casey Stoner these days. My own bike is a GSX1400, which I don't think was ever sold in the US.

8:53 pm  
Blogger Carla said...

well, i don't know you, but you seem pretty low on the grumpiness scale to me- your comments usually make me laugh :)

i bet races over there are fun- imagine you have a good balance btwn recreational and competitive spirit. i do think the overcrowding in big city races here has created a lot of tension, especially resentment toward slower folk. a lightning rod on the subject was last year's times article "plodders have their place, but is it in a marathon?" i worry that people may get discouraged reading these things (i know i do), and get turned off by the sport (i know i won't- been at it too long. but i do avoid most big races). one casualty of the whole thing, imo, is that charity runners have also been stigmatized as 'slow;' the thoughts being that they couldn't get into a given race any other way, or that they're not competing seriously. it's one of the reasons i think fundraising and racing should be separate. as far as races w/qualifying times (boston), i agree w/you that priority should be given to those who make the cutoff (whether by effort or talent)- that's the point, isn't it? don't know if you heard about this, but there was a prank earlier this year where some people put up a spoof baa website w/new 'qualifying' times posted. it caused quite a tizzy, and its share of collective panic attacks. but, i think the point was that even boston is becoming an overcrowded event. i've been wondering lately if one solution to all the tension might be for major cities to sponsor a series of races (from 5 to 30k?) with associated qualifying times. i think it would go over well in a place like ny that has a lot of very driven people (i know i wouldn't qualify for most or any of the events, but that's fwm).

re, bikes...i'm definitely a sportbike-kind-of-gal, but sadly don't own one right now. my height (153 cm- lol) does impose some limitations as well. i've never had the nerve, reflexes (or death wish?) to even think about racing, but enjoy watching. what are some of australia's more famous raceways? be fun to look up some videos. oh- and i did finally notice your blog address!

6:14 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

I think humour helps in a sport as painful as running! I can be grumpy when work or injuries stop me from running, which thankfully is not often.

I remember a story about "plodders" and marathons in Running Times. If I were a newcomer to running, saw marathons as the holy grail and ran one, I think I'd be turned off the sport by how hard marathons are. My advice to new competitive runners (plodders and talented alike) is to become the best runner you can possibly be at short distances before considering a marathon. This will take quite a few years!

I like sportbikes too, but don't fit them (too tall). I like running, and racing bikes is likely to produce accidents which would stop me from running. The best track is Phillip Island - I've seen a couple of GP races there. It's a great track!

7:18 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Ewen grumpy? Ewen only pretends to be grumpy. He doesn't even mind missing the 4x800m we have been doing each Thursday. It's northside; the traffic to get there would make anyone grumpy. 24:02 is beatable; I can keep up with Ewen in training on a good day but I managed a 20:23 5k today feeling quite grumpy at the start. Go Ewen!

11:00 pm  
Blogger Carla said...

lol, speedygeoff. but if only 4 x 800's, i'd probly skip it, too...

12:41 am  

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