Monday, January 19, 2015

Training log - Week ending 1/18/15

This week was 66 miles of running, 4 "miles" of pool-running and 4000 yards of swimming  -- training log is here.

Another week in the books.  I'm starting to feel a lot stronger and fitter, which is nice.

I think this improved sense of fitness relates to how I've been approaching this spring.  More specifically, one of my big goals right now is to keep the pace of my workouts under control to the point where I feel like I'm slacking off.  It's a leap of faith, but it seems to be working well for me - I'm seeing gains from week to week.

As background for why I'm "blowing off" my workouts - I've kept my training log since I first started running back in 2007.  With a record that long, I can browse back through it and identify trends.  There are a few things that seem to be correlated with my best fitness at the 5K-half distance: 

1) consistent weekly mileage in the low to mid 60s;
2) regular long runs of 16-17 miles (just slightly over 2 hours), run as a progression;
3) focusing more on the volume of my workouts than the speed - eight to ten 800m repeats at a controlled pace do more for me then six repeats at lung searing effort.
4) running my workouts at about 75% effort - trying to stay relaxed and resisting the temptation to dig deep or try to hang onto a pack.
5) racing at 95% effort, rather than giving it my all.

[what's correlated with failure/injury? Short hard running (mile races, 200s), slacking off on yoga/crosstraining, lack of a weekly long run, balls to wall track workouts, low weekly mileage, back to back days of hard running, aggressive plyometrics, stress at work, lack of sleep, not eating protein post workout]

The first two are easy; the third is a bit harder, in part because the final two points are very challenging for me.  I tend to be a "give it everything you got every single time" type person, which makes it very hard to keep the brakes on.  Especially when my teammates are digging deep - I feel like I'm abandoning them.  But running my workouts hard seems to fry me - it's too much stress for me to recover from before the next workout, and so I dig myself into a hole, and don't improve.

I can see how other runners who are more explosive or younger can see greater gains from working hard in their training and being willing to hurt a bit.  But for me, the optimal workout effort is where I feel sheepish because I'm not working anywhere near as hard as I could, or as others are.  And that's the effort I'm really trying to target the next few weeks.


Monday:   Yoga, some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work, and 4 "miles" easy pool-running; foam rolling at night.

Tuesday:  11.5 miles, including 8 hill repeats, followed by some injury prevention work and 1200 yards easy swimming.  Sports massage in afternoon.
Wednesday: 10.5 miles very easy (9:09), followed by a yoga class. Foam rolling in afternoon.

Thursday:   4 miles very easy (9:03), followed by a yoga class.  Later, another 4 miles very easy (8:39), and some upperbody strengthwork and injury prevention work,.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday:  10 miles, including a cruise interval workout of 2x3200+1600 (~5 minutes jogging rest between each).  Splits were 13:16 (6:40/6:36); 13:06 (6:37/6:29); and 6:17.   Followed with some injury prevention work and 1700 yards easy swimming.    Foam rolling at night.

Saturday:   10 miles easy (8:27), followed by  upper body strengthwork/injury prevention work.  Foam rolling at night.

Sunday:  16 miles mostly easy, but with the last 4.5 at 7:32 pace.  Then bolted home for hot shower (it was 35 degrees and steady rain, and I stupidly ran in a long sleeve t-shirt and shorts under the assumption that the rain would be clearing soon - it didn't).  In the afternoon did some injury prevention work, a yoga class, and 1100 yards easy swimming.  Foam rolling at night.


  1. That is a nice running archive to look back on for trends. I haven't been running nearly as long, but I have started keeping better records of my training. I've only been running a couple years so I am still figuring out what does and doesn't work for me.

  2. "[what's correlated with failure/injury? Short hard running (mile races, 200s), slacking off on yoga/crosstraining, lack of a weekly long run, balls to wall track workouts, low weekly mileage, back to back days of hard running, aggressive plyometrics, stress at work, lack of sleep, not eating protein post workout]"

    Obviously the "do" and "don't" lists are different for everybody (no matter what form of yoga I try, it aggravates my SI joint, so enough of that for me), but there are some people I'd love to force to read this list because most of it is likely fairly universal. It is difficult to be disciplined and do track/tempo workouts at the "right" level rather than trying to "win" every workout, and I know many who have difficulty achieving this - enough that I am pretty sure it takes more discipline to go at ~80% than all out. Sounds like you are having success with it right now, and you are being a very smart athlete by reviewing old training logs to help you find what helps you train and race most effectively.

  3. These are really interesting observations and a great analysis of your past training. Sometimes it can be SO HARD to back off the pace of a workout, especially since you are feeling so fit and strong. Kudos to you for reining it in, and feeling in control!

  4. Like you, lots of plyometrics and short, fast speed work lands me injured every time. I've never considered things like sleep and protein intake; maybe I should. I always get enough sleep to feel rested and not tired (6-7 hours) thanks to my cushy life (ie, no kids!) and my habit for heavy sleeping; I eat plenty, but sometimes protein takes a back seat in the morning. It's worth considering.

  5. Protein intake post workout is like, a miracle. Staying off the sugar and making sure I take in protein after means I am almost NEVER sore, even after long, tough efforts.

  6. Curious -- what do you typically eat post-workout? I often find that I'm not hungry for an hour or so after a run. I'm looking for simple, portable, tasty ideas.

    And I'm not anywhere near your level in terms of mileage and speed, but last year, when I started backing off the hard running and doing the vast majority of my runs at an easy pace, I got fitter. I used to do my "easy" runs at an 8:30 pace and now I do them between 9:30-10:00, and my race times have remained the same, but I find that I can run higher mileage and more days in a row.

    1. I carry hard boiled eggs with me, and eat those, plus sports drink. Try to eat the egg immediately post hard workout - sometimes I can't get the yolk down, but I can always handle at least the whites.