Fitz’s Training Journal: January 2011

Every month on Strength Running I give an overview of my monthly training. Unlike a lot of other running sites out there, I walk the walk and am frequently in a high-volume training cycle.

If you want to see what my day to day training looks like, you can friend me on Daily Mile.

My theme for January was BASE: focus on mileage, long runs, and 1-2 very easy workouts per week. I ran 298 miles in December and I wanted to be above that in January. Even though I took two days off (I took a weekend off to spend time with my college friends), my total January mileage was 313, or about 10 miles per day on average.

Two months of strong base mileage have set me up for a great February. I won’t run that much more in February, but my goals are roughly 80-85 miles per week with a reintroduction of harder workouts. To be able to do this, I need to make sure core work and strength exercises are really consistent. I can’t let my engine get larger while my body gets weaker.

Experimenting with New Trainers

January was a month of experimentation as I tested two new shoe models: the ASICS Sky Speeds and the Saucony Kinvaras. I generally alternate shoes every other run, but make sure to wear the Sky Speeds for longer runs as they offer a little more support. I had previously worn the Speedstars and the DS-Trainers so this was an easy transition for me – they’re very similar to the Sky Speeds.

The Kinvaras are becoming one of my favorite shoes of all time. If you like a soft sole then this is your shoe. My only complaint is that the inner part of the upper where you insert the laces near your ankle is very stiff and it angles inwards near the tongue. It digs into my inner left ankle – probably because I over-pronate – but I changed the lacing so this isn’t an issue anymore.

The Sky Speeds dig into my right ankle on the outside, the opposite side of the Kinvaras. This has never happened with any other shoe but it’s gotten progressively better as I break them in. I may buy them again but I’m leaning toward the DS-Trainers. If anybody has suggestions on a shoe that is similar to these in the 8-10 oz. range, I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments.

Let’s take a look at this months highlights:

I ran consistent long runs every week, with one 17 miler and four 18 milers. Next week I’m increasing my long run to 19 miles. My total volume in January was 313 miles in 29 days of running.

My workouts were fairly easy by design and included 20 second to 1 minute fartleks or surges during the end of my runs. I also ran a 9 mile rhythm run in 58 minutes. Thanks to Greg Strosaker for the inspiration to do this workout! I did a few short tempo runs of 10 minutes sprinkled through my medium-long runs and long runs.

I’ve been doing these short tempo’s at the end of a 13 mile or 18 mile run. Running faster at the end of a longer run can give you an increased aerobic stimulus. I’m at the point in my running career when a 15-20 minute tempo isn’t doing much for my fitness, so I need to take the next logical step: doing it later in a run and lengthening its duration. I’ll be working on increasing their length this month.

Aside from my personal running, things are going very well here on Strength Running. I created two new coaching plans for runners who want a lot of customization and I’d love to hear what you think. There are several big things coming up in February and March, so stay tuned for more updates!

I also just started reading Matt Fitzgerald’sĀ Brain Training for Runners: A Revolutionary New Training System to Improve Endurance, Speed, Health, and Results. Matt Fitzgerald is fast becoming one of my favorite running authors and I now read most of his articles on Competitor. I’ll do a book review when I’m finished to sum up the important lessons.

I’m hoping to build on a fantastic January and keep the momentum going. How did your month go? How can I help?

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  1. Thanks for the mention Fitz, glad you nailed the rhythm run, I really enjoyed the one I did in December (and I love getting a 9 miler under an hour!). As for my month, well, you know how that is going. Enjoying reading about your start to the year and some of the content you’ve put up here, and also incorporating your lunges into my warm-up routine, thanks for the tip on that.

    • My pleasure Greg. I hope the rehab is going well – it can be a slow process, but I think you learn a lot from injuries so that could be your silver lining.

  2. I had a good month too. I feel like I put in some good solid runs and while the 1/2 marathon I did wasn’t a PR, I still consider it a victory since it was only 2 min slower than my other 1/2 which was flat and this one had lots & lots of climbing in it. šŸ™‚

    I really enjoy Matt Fitzgerald’s articles on Competitor too. I think he’s like you in that he’s more about running by feel and not being a slave to the heart rate monitor/garmin. I haven’t read that book but I have read his “Run – The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel” and I want to pick up his Race Weight Quick Start Guide. I look forward to reading your review.

    • It’s hard to compare a flat race with a hilly race, especially over 13.1 miles. You’d be surprised at how much the hills take out of you.

  3. holy moly, and I was all proud of my 122 miles last month šŸ™‚ That was my highest volume month EVA!!

  4. I love bodybuilding and gaining my muscles. Thank you for this interesting post !


  1. […] was continuing my January theme of building a strong base, while adding in harder workouts that approximate the pace I’ll need to run to reach my goals […]