Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bob and Janene Recovery Days

I run most days. Unless I'm exceedingly tired or don't have the time (I'm an afternoon runner). I like running! I've always thought that rest days are overrated — have so since around 1984. Prior to then I'd always taken Friday off (we raced Saturdays) but when I switched to running seven days a week my running suddenly improved. My 5k race times went from 19 minutes down to low 18s, then high 17s. I thought that running every day had made me faster. Well, it sort of had. Really it was the consistently higher weekly volume — my aerobic ability had improved. By running on Fridays I'd added an extra 15k per week — 100k instead of 85. "Miles make champions" Arthur Lydiard had said, and while 60 miles a week was nowhere near Arthur's recommended 100, at the time it was suiting me quite well.

It's now 2013 and I'm a (slightly) older runner and (reluctantly) happy to take a rest day if I feel I need one. However I'm not quite sure that one day off does me any good! My running on the day that follows a rest day often feels creaky and rusty. So how about two consecutive days off? I'd read Janene's blog post where she reported having two days off followed by a day of easy jogging and strides. The next morning she raced 5k in 23:16, 67 seconds faster than what she'd managed 4 weeks earlier. Wow! In my training week of 11 to 17 February I took two days off and followed up with a weekend of 'good' training — 20k on the Saturday and 19k (including 1k intervals) on Sunday. That week I still ran 76 kilometres.

I think this method of training may work quite well. Days off (or very easy jogging/cross-training days) followed by 'hardish' days. These days would contain a decent number of kilometres (15 or more) — in that way, the weekly volume I need in order to be strong aerobically could be managed. I'm taking this idea from Bob's recent training. He's been running 4 days a week (3 days off) while still running around 80k per week. Yes, that's averaging 20k on his running days (which are all 'hard') — he runs interval sessions, hill repeats, tempo runs and long runs. He's also 65 years old and training to run a 3:04 marathon at Boston!

 Think outside the bubble to improve your running. Geoff and myself looking suitably stunned following Cookie's fun-run win this morning.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Still learning

Well, that was an interesting week of training. Learned a couple of things — yes, after more than 30 years of running, I'm still learning. Had a 5k race on Tuesday, which I ended up running at 'tempo' effort. That day followed a big Monday — a tempo effort 10k 'mountain' race in the morning and 8.4k of jogging at Speedygeese training in the afternoon. The day prior to that I'd run an interval session at Stromlo, which followed a 5k 'tempo' Parkrun on the Saturday. Four hard days in a row. Am I crazy, or what?!

I rested Wednesday, 'enjoyed' an ordinary run Thursday on the grass track, a great easy run Friday (it was cool), struggled on Saturday's long (13k) run and was looking forward to the Speedygeese interval session at Stromlo this morning (another cool day). During the warm-up I plodded around at 6:25 per km pace, legs as tight as piano wires (the thick ones). Man, I was not looking forward to this! Even contemplated continuing to jog around rather than attempt something which resembled fast running. We (two girls, three boys) lined up at the top of the hill for our session of 3 x 1000 metres (700m jog back the short way recoveries). I thought "I'll start easy and see how I go."

For the first one I finished a few steps ahead of Miranda in 4:38. The rolling downhill (with some flats and ups) on the lovely spongy grass seemed to coax some life back into the legs. I ran the next kilometres in 4:15 and 4:10, followed by an unscheduled 'bonus' one in 4:29. As I jogged a slow warm-down with Geoff, Andy, Miranda and Kylie I was thinking to myself "that turned out amazingly well!" I'd completed the session more or less as planned in spite of tight legs. It was a 'gift run', as was my easy run on Friday — a day which I'd almost taken as another rest day. This week I've learned two things: interval sessions can turn out well even if the warm-up is shite, and don't do four hard training days in a row.

Kylie leads the way on the Stromlo warm-up

Keen spectators ready to observe the first 'down' of our 1k intervals