Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Training Plan: What Counts as Speed?

My new training plan (from last blog post) is going well. Sort of anyway. I have a slight left calf strain so I have not instituted the "hard" workouts yet. But the rhythm of the week suits me. Mon-Wed-Fri are gym days for cross training and/or weights. Maybe hill walking on a treadmill. Nothing running-related or too hard. No pounding on the body. Although, the weights are actually pretty hard. I probably need to adjust and do more repetitions with less weight. My intent is to develop a bit of strength and endurance through the various weight machines. Supposedly a good way to keep injuries at bay. We'll see. In addition to my left calf, I noticed my right knee is achy with the weights. It doesn't hurt when I run, but if I do leg extensions or try to balance on that one leg/knee, it hurts. I HOPE that strengthening the quads (especially the inner/outer ones) will help stabilize the knee and keep things under control. I've only been doing this for a week, so I should let my muscles adapt and not judge anything too soon. Extra bonus in all of this "free" time from running, but more time at the gym, is that my wife joins me for the gym workouts (she's not a runner). Fun having your spouse along for "training"--and she encourages me to try different equipment and activities (and isn't afraid to ask the gym owner/personal trainer for advise and guidance).

So, the new plan has lots of potential. Eventually, my calf will settle down and I'll start real speed sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My notion of "speed" work are a combination of the following:
  • Steady tempo run at about 80-85% HRR for 20-30 minutes
  • Tempo intervals of 5 minutes each at about 85% HRR, with 2 minute jog intervals
  • Progression run starting at 9:00 pace and ending at 7:00 pace
  • Fartlek run with "random" injections of speed in an otherwise easy paced run
  • Track workout of 400m/800m repeats (might do this on treadmill too)
  • Long hill repeats (trails or treadmill) with jogging rest periods 
Most of these speed days will be a total workout of 4-7 miles, maybe 50% of the run pushed "hard." Very doable. I'll still monitor the HR and keep it all under control (less than 170 max, about 86% HRR). If things are going well after a few weeks, I might push to 175 max (~89% HRR). Higher heart rates are pushing VO2max--useful, but risky too.

The Saturday (or Sunday) long run will range from 12-20 miles. Sometimes on hilly trails, other times on smooth bike paths. I can see occasionally pushing the long run into "tempoish" territory. The other weekend run will be short and easy. Total of 4 runs per week, three hard, one easy. Sounds too simple. Hope this works!  It should help me focus through the winter and also provide me with a nice mix of speed, stamina, and endurance heading into spring.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. Go for a run and appreciate your health and fitness.

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