Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Current Training Plan

  This is an outline of my training schedule for the near future.  Basically until I get really fit or come up with a goal race.  This is a base phase or general fitness schedule.  This is not targeting racing well.  It is targeting improving my overall fitness.  It isn't too different from good half marathon specific training but I'm not doing it with a specific half marathon race in mind though I will likely run the New Bedford Half Marathon in March as well as the Jones 10 mile in February and a 15k in early April.

  This schedule is designed around four main goals.  In no order to return general aerobic fitness, to improve lactic threshold, to improve muscular power and efficiency, and to touch on every major training speed and effort in each two week cycle.  The workouts I selected were selected based on two main criteria.  First did they accomplish the training goal and second they had to work with the training resources and limitations I have currently.  Ie, I need to be able to do them without a track, in a New England winter, and in the dark as 11 out of 13 of my runs each week from early November until March are generally run in the dark.

  I like repeating a similar or even identical micro cycle a few times through a phase of training.  Partially because I can gauge how my body is progressing but also I'm just a very habital person who if I didn't give a damn about performance would probably do the same double every day over the same routes at the same effort. I like what I'm doing to be a bit mindless so I can focus entirely on doing it well.  Or at least that is the excuse I give myself.  

  Without further B.S. here is the schedule

For both week one and two I do an easy morning run, almost always 4 miles because of time constraints, Monday through Saturday.  On Saturday the run maybe done as the afternoon session and it maybe longer.

Week 1

Monday in the afternoon I'll do 10 miles at a steady effort- generally between 6:00 and 7:00 per mile, depending on conditions and how I'm feeling.  This is a fairly hilly run as there are a lot of hills around here.  After the run I'll do either Squats, dead lifts or box jumps.  The run is for recovery and general aerobic fitness, the exercises are for range of motion in my hips, power in my ankles and glutes and to increase strength as a means of increasing efficiency.

Tuesday in the afternoon I'll do a Mona Fartlek ( This is most importantly a bounce threshold or alternation session.  I would actually prefer to do Aussie quarters, ( right now to be able to focus on specific paces but with no indoor track option that isn't happening.  The secondary focus of this session is to touch on a bunch of quicker paces 5k down to perhaps mile.   After this session I'll do either squats, deadlifts, or box jumps.

Wednesday in the afternoon I'll do a medium long run.  Right now that is only 12 miles I'll build it up to 16, I should go up to 18 but frankly 18 miles after work in the dark is a tall order particularly when sandwiched between two workout days. Physiologically this workout is for basic aerobic fitness and there is a time on the feet efficiency training effect for the leg muscles but for me it is much more plainly about building up my ability to run longer without coordination problems.  Finally you guessed it I plan on doing either squats, deadlifts or box jumps after the run.

Thursday in the afternoon, short hill sprints- max effort very short, 10 seconds give or take. I'd prefer to keep with the 100's and the like but without a track that isn't an option and I don't have much for flat areas with good footing so short hills it is.  To be honest as a general rule I like short hills better anyway but right now I want to focus on my form on the flat so I'm sorry to lose that.  These are obviously a muscular exercise though they do also help increase the stroke volume of the heart.  I will start the winter only doing about 10 of these but I'll increase that by 2 or 3 sprints each time.  In the past I have done 30 or more sprints though I doubt I'll get to that many.  It will be key for me to keep good form on these which is a struggle for me on hills but I have been improving so hopefully it will be good practice. squats, deadlifts or box jumps after

Friday 10 miles, same as Monday.

Saturday 4x2 miles at Half marathon pace. with 3min recoveries with drills.  This is for lactate threshold and muscular endurance at speed.  The drills help with the latter and with improving form.

Sunday Long run- I'm around 13/14 miles now will try to push out to 20 to 22.  Long run is for basic aerobic fitness, efficiency and muscular endurance. I may do squats, deadlifts or box jumps after this.

Week 2

Monday same as last week

Tuesday 3 mile tempo, half marathon to marathon pace, 10x30 second hill repeats at a good effort, but not max, focus on form putting weight of stride on glutes and quads. Try not to hunch at shoulders. This is for lactate threshold and muscular power and efficiency.

Wednesday same as last week

Thursday 6 x mile at 10k pace with 2 to 3 mins recovery with drills- bit of threshold, lot of muscular efficiency and muscular endurance.

Friday same as last week

Saturday 20 to 30 x 20 second sprints fartlek style, meaning I'll just put them in on a run where the footing looks good. Full recovery.  This is for muscular efficiency and endurance.  Though it is also good for stroke volume but not as good as the hills.

Sunday fundamental tempo run in the 5:25 to 5:50 per mile range over rolling hills.  Hopefully as the coordination improves I'll be able to increase the volume on these.  This is my single favorite type of workout.  I have since beginning the form work I have been able to to up to 22 miles like this but only on soft surfaces.  So on the road I've been stuck in the 12 to 15 mile range on a good day.  I'm going to start in the 9 mile range and try to build up.  I may play with stopping for drills and continuing on in an attempt to 'teach' the body to hold the form that doesn't lead to coordination issues.  This is for aerobic fitness.  Sessions like this can lead to huge jumps in general aerobic fitness as well as your threshold.  I actually don't know exactly why perhaps it is simply that it is an under trained area or it is that threshold is impacted well by not going over it but by testing it from below.  I can tell you that these workouts changed my life as such for me I simply believe in them as an article of faith.  Also as I mentioned I love doing them.  Running for a long time at a quick pace is to me the single most enjoyable training experience.

Odds and Ends

 In weeks that I race I'll just drop the hard effort from the weekend.  If I race on a Sunday I'll skip the long run as well.  I'm planning a few races over the winter.  A 5k on the 1st.  A 5 mile, a 10 mile and a track 5k in February and a half marathon in March.  Hopefully by that point the winter is coming to an end and I'm getting fit and I'll be able to move onto a new training program with more specific goals. 


Matthew TK Brooks said...


Great stuff as always. Would this cycle be doable for someone of lesser fitness than you? Of course adjust the paces and what not.


Nate Jenkins said...

Matthew, I guess that depends on what you mean by lesser fitness. If you mean lesser race fitness but with a good solid training fitness that would allow you to run around 100 miles a week with 2 to 4 hard efforts a week then of course you could follow this. However this is a pretty heavy training load so if you haven't got a background for that then it is a fools errand.
I would suggest that if you have 4 to 5 years consistent training under your belt then doing a program like this but drop the overall volume by losing some or all of the morning runs and by reducing the volume of the regular/easy pm runs and even the medium long run you can make this more achievable.
Pace adjustment is important in customizing a schedule to your needs but it is just as important to look at the recovery between sessions and make sure that you are going to be able to recover from and absorb the workouts which are the main focus of the cycle.
So I could see a lot of people being able to follow this schedule with a total volume of about 60 or 70 miles a week. However if you are used to and able to recover on a double day with about 12 to 16 miles volume then this would work with no changes to the overall volume.

Matthew TK Brooks said...

Nate. Thank you for the great advice. Over the past 3 to 5 years I have felt comfortable with my miles ranging from 80 to 100 per week. I think with this the difficulty will be with the 4 workouts as I am used to 2 to 3 per week. The third workout was usually shorter and not as intense...more moderate in nature. I also have no problem with doing doubles 2-3x per week. I don't have really anything planned right now as my mindset is very much like yours - just building a solid fitness base. I have signed up for a half in march but nothing else. I have some in mind but not official yet. How do you come up with your paces ? Do you use a Canova approach when calculating them or do you use something else ? thanks again. !

Nate Jenkins said...

Matthew- You could easily stretch this cycle to 3 weeks or 18 days to spread out the workouts. No point in doing the workout if you aren't going to aborb it.

I do most workouts now by feel. That said I'm still lining them up with the Canova approach. I tend to slow them down a bit less than the 5% he does because I'm a pure endurance animal so I slow down more like 3% as the distance doubles. Which isn't that unusual. You can look at your PR's from the mile to the marathon to find about what your slow down % should be. Sometimes it is easier to look at it in terms of how may seconds per K you slow down.

So for example my 1500m/mile PBs on the track are 3:56/4:13 which is about 2:37 per K. MY 3k is 8:08 or 2:43 per k- So a 6 second slow down there as we double the distance. 3k to 5k isn't really double so you would expect it to be a bit less, no suprise at 13:56 (2:47 per k) it is about 4 seconds slow down. Now to 10k I would expect a slow down to 2:53 a k or 28:50 but my pb is only 29:32ish but keep in mind the other times are track and the 10k is a road course that runs about, you guessed it 40 seconds slower than a track race.

Anyway you get the point. Just don't use PB's that are skewed. I.E. I don't use my 10 mile time, It was set when I wasn't fit on a tough course. I don't use my downhill mile or 5k times. They weren't a measure of fitness.

So currently I just ran a 15:25. I'm guessing I lost 10 seconds to wind vs perfect conditions. So lets say date 5k pace is 3:03 per K. So I should probably slow my mile reps, which are at 10k pace, to 3:09 per k (5:04) which is 31:30. Now based off my 10k in FL I'm thinking I'm a bit faster then that on the track for a 5k but not much. For the 2 mile reps and the 3 mile tempo those are at Half marathon pace, aka threshold. So we slow another 6 seconds per K, 3:15 per K, or 5:13 per mile. So about right. I may have been a shade quick last time out considering the loop wasn't totally flat. Though again looking at the 5k this past weekend vs. the 10k in FL I may be under achieveing a bit at 5k which isn't surprising given I'm not doing much in the way of 5k pace or anaerobic training.


Jim said...

Hi Nate,

A few questions...

-How long did you run "easy" until you started this cycle?
- How many times did you initially think you were going to go through the cycle?
- What race did you eventually have in mind for you peak after this base phase?

Nate Jenkins said...

I started walk/jogging in early to mid August, give or take. I was running about 30 miles a week by mid September. I was pretty much stuck there 30 to 50 miles a week with some strides and some light tempo work until the very end of November beginning of December. This post was written at the end of December so I had about 4 weeks of solid volume, 80 to 100 mile a week range.

I didn't have a number of times through in my mind when I started my plan was to rotate through until I reached a reasonable level of fitness, say mid 14's for 5k? Give or take. I would also have stopped if I got stagnant and stopped improving which I would have expected to happen around that same fitness level but the body is always changing and I could have been wrong about that.

I didn't have a race in mind. 99% of the time I create a schedule I pick a race and then work backwards to where I am and create my training based on that time frame but I was so incredibly unfit that I just wanted to get in shape before even starting that process.

Jim said...

I really like the idea of the 2 week cycle, but as a newer student to the sport, I am having trouble finding the right beginning to my plan.

I ran Boston, took about 10 days off, then about two weeks of easy running. Now my "peak race" is a 10k 14 weeks out, but will also be running 2-3 races a month until then, some very soon. I am fit to do some quality work, but most plans for the masses start with 6-8 weeks of pretty easy fartlek and moderate progression runs before the quality picks up. I guess where I am struggling is I know I can handle some more quality than basic intro workouts, but am unsure of how to blend into the specific phase.

I have been studying Hudson's methodologies very closely, and I know you are a student of Canova, as is he. 14 weeks is way too long to do spec work.

If you would plan a season out using Daniels plan, a 14 week 10k plan would have 3-4 "phase 2" weeks where you focus on mile pace work and tempo which makes sense to me. However, I was drawn to Hudson because I feel race specific training makes much more sense then just cycling intervals.

I was just curious about your thoughts on a summer block that will carry on for 14 weeks. Is setting up an early two week cycle and then getting specific ~6 weeks out the way to go?

Nate Jenkins said...

Particularly as a newer runner but really for anyone 14 weeks is way to long for specific workouts.
It is easy to see how specific work relates to racing well and so it is tempting to do a lot of it but real improvement is found in the work that builds the general qualities needed to run fast and then you just polish that off with race specific work.
As a newer runner I would be far more tempted to tell you to do little or no specific work then I would be to tell you to do more of it.
I would also shy away from 2 week repeated cycles for someone with less experience. I can see the draw it is simple and you can see improvement but the draw back is to do it right requires a good sense of and very good control over subtle differences in effort. So I wouldn't have anyone who isn't a really experienced runner do something like this cycle or the Aussie system without having a coach to watch over them and guide them.
I guess my best advice would be to find a good coach, which isn't free, but a good coach will be worth their weight in gold. There are plenty available, including Hudson if he isn't full up.
Now if that isn't something you are able or willing to do then my advice would be to beg, borrow or steal a copy of Joe Vigil's "Road to the Top" this is the simplest and most complete easy to follow book on world class training. It was written 25 years ago so some small gains and innovations have come down since but unless you are stuck at 2:08 and really think you should be running 2:06 in the marathon I don't see it as an issue at all.
Globally speaking I would suggest looking at it like this. If you have 14 weeks to your goal race and you have already recovered from your previous race and you have built back up to 75% or more of your normal training volume then I would set aside 1 to 2 weeks for a taper and recovery before the race, leaving 12 weeks of hard training. 4 weeks of that should be focused on race specific prep, if the goal race is 10k or shorter there should be some races mixed in here to get race tough and sharp. 2 to 4 weeks should be spent on 'special training' workouts that dance around the specific stuff, a bit faster and a bit slower. These workouts are a transition from the very general 'base' workouts to the very specific race paced work to come. That leaves 4 to 6 weeks of 'base'. During that time you should be doing fundamental tempo's - slower longer tempos, latic threshold tempos(be very careful to not go too hard on these, better to be 20 seconds per mile too slow than 2 seconds per mile too fast). Muscular work/ form work like 100 meter reps with full recovery, short hills, or even longer reps done without going anaerobic and with VERY long recoveries. Finally some long runs.
Hope that helps.

Jim said...

Thanks, Nate. I actually have been running pretty consistently for 7 years, including 9 marathons, the most recent of which was spent at 100 mpw+ for 9 weeks before a taper. I feel like I have a pretty good system down for the marathon segment, but worked with a coach for 4 years and now am venturing off on my own for the first time with summer racing.

I have quite a bit of experience and really enjoy the theory behind it. When I said I am a new student, I was just referring to my first time on my own, but bad wording, my bad. I have Vigil's book already, but I purchased it during my marathon segment and only browsed a few sections and actually forgot I had it. I am going to start on it right now.