Stay In Motion

August 26, 2011

People inmotion stay in motion.
Law ofinertia, right? I learned that in high school science.
I have atendency to train for one or two big races a year and then just go intono-man’s land with running once the race is over. I love it, but after trainingfor a big race, I always need a break. My intention is always to keep myrunning up after the race, but (often without a plan) I get lax about it veryquickly.
And thathappens every. single. time.
So, I was onthe plane to Charlotte, headed right into the path of Hurricane Irene andreading the backlog of my Running Times magazine and there is an article thatreally struck a chord with me. It’s about running an endless season: not training for a specific race, but being raceready all year long.
So, ifyou’re like me, what I’m about to share with you is how to make a paradigmshift in your training mentality and give you a way to put that into action.Effective immediately.
Thecomponents to the “stay in motion”plan are (in no particular order):
  •  Intervals– also known as speedwork, up to 6 miles of high intensity intervals; milerepeats at 5k–10k effort with recovery jogs in between; 800m repeats at a 5keffort with recovery jogs in between; 100m sprints; fartleks of any shape, sizeor flavor. Whatever kind of interval is singing to you on a given day, but keepswitching it up to keep your body continuously improving.
  • Frequentweekend races, or VO2Max runs (high intensity) – this is a sustained,unbroken efforts at 85-95% of your current best 5k effort, or a 5k or 10k race.The adrenaline associated with racing more often than not, causes you tosustain a more intense pace than you would on any normal run-of-the-mill runday. If you’re not racing, this might be a shorter, faster tempo run anywherefrom 20-40 minutes long.
  • Easy runs– slower, more relaxed runs anywhere from 30 – 60+ minutes that will make upthe bulk of your weekly mileage.
  • Midweeklonger anaerobic runs – the second longest run of the week, at a moderateeffort. I’d recommend running with a running group or a fast running partner orrunning hills for this one. Just so you don’t get sucked into letting this fallinto the “easy run” category.
  • Weekendlong runs when not racing – this is your long, slow distance run whenyou’re not otherwise occupied with a race. Roughly at the same effort as youreasy runs, just over a longer distance, just keep this run mellow.
  • A truerecovery day –the most important part of the stay in motion plan. Even ifyou do a short run-walk, walk, easy bike ride, hike, etc., our strength coachin college used to call this “active rest”.  Take this day for yourself (I use it to get mylife back in order, cook, clean…) Something to get a bit of blood flow to yourmuscles on your recovery day is good, stretching is great, smiling is a must.
  • Stridesand accelerations – 50-150m hard efforts, but done without too muchstraining. I like to throw 4 or 5 of these “strides” in at the end of my easyruns to help teach myself to kick into gear at the end of a race.
  • Cross-training– this is the second most important component of this plan. Give yourself abreak from pounding the pavement, but stay active and get your heart pumping. Iregularly practice yoga as a form of cross training and try to use my NikeTraining Camp app for body weight circuits as often as possible. Whatever worksfor you.

There are acouple of other important parts of this plan. One is f.l.e.x.i.b.i.l.i.t.y. I think I mention this every single time Ido a post about my workout schedule, but I can’t stress it enough. You canalways plan a plan, but you can neverplan results. Sometimes you just don’t feel like working out, sometimes yourcommute to or from work takes WAY longer than you expected it to. Whatever it is,take it one breath at a time and just beflexible.
The secondimportant part of this a bi- tri- or quad-weekly week of lower mileage.Especially if you’re a new or injury prone runner. I found this chartin a different Running Times magazine that suggests how often to have a down week:

Your “score”is how often to take an easy week. So if you fall into the first category, youshould make every other week and easy week. If you are in the second category,you should make third week and easyweek, and so on and so forth.
I, for one,am going to start with an easy week every other week, to avoid burn out andinjury. So, when most training plans go through a 7-day cycle, my stay inmotion plan will be more of a 10-14 day cycle. Here is an example of a two weekrotation:
Then youjust start over again at week one. For me, Tuesdays and Thursdays are my “datenight” runs with Brandon. Since he’s the expert in all things speedy, he isgoing to orchestrate our speedwork.

{Aside:I am so lucky that he’s willing to stay with me when we run. Honestly, he is SOFAST.}
The coolthing about this plan is, theoretically you should be able to continuously improveif you approach this properly in terms of intensity. You can keep a comparison ofyour race times and use any good running website (Runner’s World Smart Coach or Greg McMillan’space calculator) so you can determine what your workout paces should be. Bycontinuing to work out at the correct effort you for now, as your race times drop, you’ll start training at fasterspeeds. So essentially, fitness will come to you rather than forcing workoutsto make races happen.
Oh, and onemore thing. Say you want to lay it all out for a certain race, you can tailoryour workouts to be more event specific for a few months (plus a taper period!!) and you should be goodto go!
How do you stay fit, even when you’re nottraining for a race??

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