Fitz’s Training Journal: August 9 – September 5, 2010

This month was up and down in terms of training volume and workouts. The beginning of the training block was my taper before the Sea Isle 10 Mile Run and then I took a full 7 days off. I did no running during this time.

I think it’s really important to take time off from running and not worry about training. It’s physically and mentally rejuvenating and the break allows your body to repair itself. Maybe most importantly, you’ll become excited about training again.

When I started running again after my week off, I was all jacked up to train. I planned my races, volume, and workouts for the next three months (just a rough outline – or else it would just be a cookie-cutter plan). Having a renewed outlook on your running and being reinvigorated to train are important for longevity in the sport.

I like to take a week off after most hard training blocks that end with a goal or peak race. More than a week is unnecessary for me because I don’t need that much time to recover mentally or physically. The only exception is if I run a marathon – I’ll take two weeks off after a race this long because it’s so physically damaging.

Here’s the summary:

8.9 – 8.15 – 45 miles with no long run. Saturday I raced the Sea Isle 10 Mile Run which didn’t go too well. The one workout I did before the race was a 3k at race pace + 2x600m + 4x200m – I ran 10:20, 1:51, 1:50, 34, then all 33’s. Instead of finishing the week with a long run I took Sunday off to begin my week of rest.

8.16 – 8.22 – Besides a slow 5 miles on Sunday, this week was devoted to recovery. My big goal was to sit on the couch and watch Family Guy as much as possible.

8.23 – 8.29 – My goals for my first week were to run about 75% of my previous peak mileage with one short tempo workout. I hit 65 miles and ran my tempo loop in Rock Creek Park twice for 15:57. There was a tree down on the trail so that slowed me down. Having a solid long run is important so I made sure I got in 16 miles on Saturday.

8.30 – 9.5 – 51 miles with a 17 mile long run. I ran a good hill workout on Monday: 6×75″ at about 10k pace on a winding uphill trail. I took Tuesday off to drink wine by our pool and spend time with my fiancée. Hey, running isn’t everything.  My left arch was also a little sore from Monday’s hill workout so I ran easy for three days. It’s better to not push the training at this time.

Now I’m back on track (ha!), feeling great, and really looking forward to a bunch of fall races. I have a few lined up: two 5k’s, an 8k, and a 10k so expect more race reports soon!

After a week off, your body doesn’t just lose a small amount of aerobic fitness – it starts to lose strength. I tend to feel really good after a week off so the potential of pushing myself to go too fast, too soon is very real for me. To prevent any small injuries, I make sure to be very consistent with my strength exercises and get right back to doing hill sprints every 4-6 days.

Staying healthy is about more than gradual increases in volume and intensity – it’s doing the muscular work to support your running.

The plan for the next couple weeks is an 8,000m road race on September 18 and then a 5k road race on October 2. The 8k is on a fast course while the 5k should be interesting: the first half is entirely downhill and then you turn around for a 100% uphill second half. All aboard the pain train!

More Thoughts on Minimalism

There’s been a really big interest in minimalism and minimalist running shoes lately (check out my interview with Runblogger’s Pete Larson). I’m not a 100% minimalist and I think it should be used as a tool for most runners, but I want to quickly note what I’m running in these days.

For about half of my mileage, I’m running in the ASICS DS-Trainers. They’re lightweight but give me enough support to run 2+ hours. For shorter runs or workouts, I’m using the Saucony Grid Fastwitch 4. This is my first time running in these and so far I like them – they’re light, fast, and have a low heel drop. But I can see them wearing out soon.

For upcoming road races, I just bought the ASICS Hyper Speed 4. I’ve had a pair in the past and as far as racing flats go, they’re awesome. Low to the ground, very minimal heel drop, and they’re very light. I am hoping to do a hill workout in them later this week.

For more details on my day to day training, check me out on Daily Mile.

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