Sunday, June 10, 2007

Just a thought about training

I've been thinking about a possible different approach to training, given my current pace and how many acutal hours I spend running.

Now if you look at any basic training program, you'll likely see something like "5 miles easy." Whatever you want to call this workout, junk miles, recovery run, whatever, the intention is for an easy day to run from anywhere from 30-60 minutes at an easy, conversational pace. Now for your average 10 minute miler, you're talking 50 minutes to do this workout. Just about right, huh? But for me, I'm well over an hour on this workout. I think this is way too long for an easy recovery run.

So, what's the answer? How can I normalize a published training program to fit my slower pace? What if transform the program from distance to time? Then, instead of doing the 1 hour plus run, I just run easy for 50 minutes. And since my effort at 14:00 pace should be the same as the 10 minute miler, we're in effect getting the exact same workout.

So, a sample workout week with targeted distances would be:

The same workout by time would be:

Of course, if you're training for a marathon, your long run would need to stay the same. After all, you're still going to have to get used to being on your feet for the duration of the race, even at your slower pace.

Anyway, I've been thinking that this approach is sort of an equalizer for folks like me who see training programs with weekly mileage int the 30's, 40's, and even 50's. Even at my pace, this makes even an intermediate program manageable for us speed challenged.

8 comments:

J~Mom said...

Interesting thoughts, Vic. I think you are right about switching things up for time. The way I trained for my half was my weekly runs were always for time and then my long slow run was distance. I will check back to see what the others say but I think it's doable!

Anonymous said...

Great plan. I myself run time for my summer weekday runs.I always shoot for 40min to an hour depending on the workout,hills,tempo,interval etc. Just remember the best plan for you is the one that you will implement and stick with. I myself have had to learn to self pace a workout for the week not just the day. You have to leave somthing in the bank for tommorow. Sweat equity, thats my two cents worth. Matt W.....

Steve Bezner said...

Maybe I'm too legalistic, but I'd stick with the mileage. If necessary, decrease the mileage, but don't mask it with a different measuring stick.

I do agree with Matt to find a plan that will stick.

David said...

I do not think you are masking anything as long as you are being consistent and true to your goals. Suppose you and I had the same weekly mileage goals (30 miles). And suppose I average an 8min/mile and you avg a 12 min/mile. That means you will be out in the heat for 2 additional hours than me this week. In this heat and humidity, I am sure that makes a difference...

The important thing is to stay motivated and to win the small victories along the way, regardless of how you choose to package them...

Pony and Petey said...

For what it's worth, Helen Grant runs for time on her easy runs... doesn't even keep track of mile splits, just start and finish time. It has certainly been good for her!

I agree with David...whatever suits you the best, helps you the most, is the plan that you are most likely to follow through to completion...that's the one I'd do!

Thanks for sharing in detail...it causes me to think about my training plan and see if I need to make any adjustments.

jamoosh said...

My two yards...

I'm not sure what is legal or illegal, but I agree with running for time during the week and running for mileage during your long run. This ironically is the way Houston Fit does it and we get several hndred virgin and experienced marathoners to the start line every year.

In the end, it really comes down to what your schedule will allow and the best plan for you.

TX Runner Girl said...

I think running for time is the way to go, but I'm no expert. It's funny, because when running with some buds a couple of weeks ago this topic came up. A friend went to a seminar that recommended running for time. The reasoning was that running a 10-miler midweek could take a back of the pack runner a couple of hours, but a faster runner could knock it out in much less time. The "experts" felt that that running for that long mid-week could really cause some wear and tear on the body in the long run.

I say do what works best for you! I tend to run for time because it's what fits best into my schedule. Something else may work best for you.

Anonymous said...

just for reference I've used time exclusively while training for my first 6-or-so marathons. Had some success including Boston. Haven't seen better results using mileage instead recently but enjoy it because it allows me to train with others. Suggest doing what works best for you.