Monday, February 27, 2017

Training log - Week ending 2/26/17

This week was 61 miles of running,  15 "miles" of pool-running, and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.

The week started with a reversal in fortunes.  No....literally.

When my team does our track workouts, we generally do the hard running in lane 1 counterclockwise (like nearly everyone else), and then do our recoveries in lanes 5-7 clockwise.  It's been that way for years, and just become part of the rhythm of the track.

However, my coach decided to reverse our recoveries, so that we jog those in the same direction as the hard stuff - counter clockwise (still in lanes 5-7, though).  It's a switch that shouldn't make that much of a difference, but actually changes things dramatically.

For one thing, the recovery time between each repeat is much reduced, even though we're still covering the same distance.  That's because, when we recover by jogging the opposite direction, there's a pause after the recovery as we wait for a gap to clear in lane 1 before starting the next repeat (our track is pretty crowded in the mornings).  When jogging in the same direction, we can note gaps in lane 1 and "merge" into the traffic before starting the next repeat with a running start.    So no pause.

It's a substantial difference - a 400m recovery takes about 3:0x when done counter-clockwise, due to the pause before starting the next lap.  When we jog clockwise, the 400m recovery takes about 2:3x. So...about 30 seconds difference.

As I noted above, we also end up starting each rep with a "running start", rather than gathering at the line and starting from a standstill.  I actually much prefer the running start - I find it's much easier on my body.  And, since I'm often slow off of the line, a traditional standing start usually has me dropped by my group in the first 50 meters, before catching up over the rest of the rep.  When we do a rolling start, I'm able to stick with the group easily.

I was concerned that doing so much running in one direction would be hard on my body, but that doesn't seem to be the case - I think any additional stress from turning in one direction is outweighed by the reduction from not having to sprint off of the line.

The one downside of this same-direction-recovery?  It actually affects our team dynamic slightly.  I train with a large group of runners of diverse paces who do the same workout at different speeds.  One of my favorite things about my team (among many) is the connection and dynamic and support that we have between runners of different paces - we're not just a collection of pace cliques, where the 2:50 marathoners and the 3:40 marathoners never mix.  And part of that is that we regularly cheer each on during the workouts.

It's easy to support each other when we're recovering in a different direction from the workout - the recovering runners face those in lane 1, so we see our teammates coming and cheer them as they go. When we're all running in the same direction, with the interval runners passing the recovering runners from behind, there's not that same chance to cheer.  And something is lost, I think.

But, with everything, there is no perfect solution.  And apparently same direction recoveries work better for sharing the track.  As well as feeling so much easier on my body, due to the rolling start.


My workouts went well for the most part.  The one slight disappointment was Friday's tempo, when I went out slightly aggressively for a 5 mile tempo.  My error was compounded by temperatures 30 degrees warmer than what we've been training in, and I reluctantly pulled the plug at 4 miles rather than dig myself into a hole. Ah well.  I was due for a meh workout.  And the fact remains that my "dropped out early at four miles" tempo was a workout I would have been very happy with as a standalone 4 mile tempo just a few weeks back.  So that's nice.  And better to make the "go out too aggressive" mistake in a tempo than a race.


Monday: In the morning, yoga and 6 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

: In the morning, 11.5 miles including a workout of 1600, 5x800 in 6:11, 2:57, 2:57, 2:57, 2:56, 2:54.  Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam roller at night.

Wednesday:  In the morning, 7 miles (9:14) to yoga, yoga, and then another 5.5 miles (8:54), followed by drills and strides.  Foam rolling at night.

Thursday: In the morning, upper body weights/core and 9 "miles" pool-running.  Foam rolling at night.

Friday: In the morning, 11 miles including a 4 mile tempo in 26:04 (6:31/6:29/6:32/6:32).  Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming.  Foam rolling in the afternoon.

Saturday:  In the morning, 10 miles very easy (8:39) with drills and strides.  Late that morning I did upper body weights plus core and injury prevention work.  Foam rolling in the evening.

Sunday: In the morning, 16 miles progressive, split as first 5 at 9:07, next 5 at 7:58, last 6 at 7:00.  Followed with injury prevention work and 1000 yards recovery swimming.   Foam rolling in the evening.


  1. I agree that this is a better approach to the track. I run my workouts alone or with Greg and I just run in the same direction the whole time- up to as much as 32 laps! Not having to change directions keeps things fluid and I agree with you that the shorter "proper" recovery time really does end up making a difference. Glad to see things going well for you. The Sunday progression looks really strong.

  2. Interesting how the track direction changed the workouts. I've always recovered in the same direction on the track because our tracks are usually crowded with several groups, but I can definitely see the appeal of changing directions.

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  4. So I went to the track tonight. Last week I did a workout and did all the runs (work portion and recovery portion) in the same direction. Tonight, inspired by your post, I did all my recovery running in the clockwise direction out in lane 4. I have to say, I prefer the alternating direction. I ran 14ish miles on the track but it didn't feel that long because every mile I was going the other way. I just ran a little extra on the recovery so I could turn around and still get a running start.