Friday, August 22, 2014

Season-Based Running Plan

I'm trying to think about longer training cycles for my running. I'd like to believe it's because I'm growing wiser, but I think it's because I'm getting older and can't train hard year round! Anyway, I need to cycle through hard/easy days and weeks, but also hard/easy running seasons. I thought of a simple training cycle tied to the natural seasons. It should work well for a typical running and racing cycle too. Here's my plan.

I will cycle through 3-month training cycles. Easy three months, then hard three months. Repeat. My plan is to start (or end) the year with a three month winter training block (December-January-February) that focuses on lots of easy, aerobic training with no speed work. There can be some racing, but those races will be complements to the core aerobic training, not key high-profile races. Then I move into a harder training cycle for three months (March-April-May) which includes speed work and races. Some of these races will be key ones for the year. Then I return to a recovery period of another three months of easy aerobic running (June-July-August). Again, there can be a couple of races, but nothing of significance. Finally, the year has its final hard three month cycle (September-October-November) of hard training and racing. Lots of good fall races that can be pushed hard!

This overall yearly plan allows me to race and train hard, then recover (mentally and physically). The two easier periods (winter and summer) support strong recovery and rest, with a build up of a solid aerobic foundation. Then spring and fall are the hard racing periods that draw on the foundation that was developed in the previous cycle. Hopefully my aging body can handle, and even enjoy, a three month hard period. By cycling through these 3-month macro-stages I hope to race well, but also recover and stay healthy and injury-free. I envision the three month easy periods to be Maffetone style pure aerobic running. Might be a good time to push total mileage. The harder periods will shift into tempo and progression runs, fartleks, and speedy intervals. Still some easy runs each week, but the focus is on developing speed and sharpening my race abilities. Total mileage might be lower, but efforts higher.

Well, that's my simple yearly plan. Any thoughts? Do you organize your running into larger cycles?


janak said...

Whatever happened to "Run for fun and health"?

Body is not a digital machine to precisely measure and control!

Chris Ⓥ said...

OK, Mr. Heart Rate Monitor!

Agreed, I track, measure, and report too much running data...but some planning of a race season with GENERAL emphasis in certain areas (speed, recovery, distance, etc) is a good idea. You're right that running needs to remain fun. Maybe planning, assessments, and evaluation make my running more fun!