Is a 10 Day Training Cycle Right For You? The Pros and Cons of Longer Running Cycles

Almost everyone operates their life on a 7-day life cycle with work during the weekdays and personal time on the weekend. We also schedule our running on this cycle… but are longer cycles like the 10 day training cycle better?

10 Day Training Cycle

Most runners haven’t given much thought to the duration of their training cycles. We typically think of training cycles as essentially “seasons” that are 10-20 weeks in length.

But today, we’re talking about the pattern of your running. Most of us follow a 7-day training cycle (often called a microcycle) that includes one long run, 1-2 faster workouts, and several easy runs. You may also include weightlifting, cross-training, or drills in your weekly cycle as well.

There is a very good reason why most of us follow a weekly pattern: that’s how the rest of our lives are structured! We have weekly appointments and responsibilities, favor the routine of running long on the same day every week, and look forward to the consistent pattern.

But some runners are interested in more complex training patterns (and there are some good reasons to consider them) that are simply longer. Whether that’s a 10 day training cycle, 14 day cycle, or Paula Radcliffe’s 8 day cycle, you must know the benefits and drawbacks of these approaches.

I recently wrote a piece for Runner’s World on whether a 10 day training cycle is right for you. I wanted to go deeper on this topic, so I reached out to coach Mario Fraioli for a deep dive on longer microcycles.

Mario Fraioli on 10 Day Training Cycles

Mario Fraioli

Photo Credit: Matt Wright

Mario Fraioli is a coach to numerous professional runners, host of The Morning Shakeout Podcast, a 2:27 marathoner and 4:09 miler, and publisher of The Morning Shakeout Newsletter.

He’s a leading voice in the running community, a former college competitor to me in the New England region, and someone I’m fortunate enough to call a friend. He’s joining us today for a deep-dive on longer training cycles.

We’re going into detail on:

  • The nuances of longer training cycles
  • The goals they aim to accomplish
  • The practical difficulties of longer cycles
  • Why most everyone sticks with a 7-day cycle
  • The #1 skill you must learn if you adopt a longer training cycle

Subscribe to the podcast in Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio, or Google Play.

Links & Resources:

If you prefer video, check out a summary of our conversation here:

Thank you Elemental Labs

A big thanks to Elemental Labs for their support of this episode! They make electrolyte drinks for athletes and low-carb folks with no sugar, artificial ingredients, or colors.

Elemental Labs’ products have some of the highest sodium concentrations that you can find. Anybody who runs a lot knows that sodium, as well as other electrolytes like magnesium and potassium, are essential to our performance and how we feel throughout the day.

The citrus flavor has quickly become my favorite. I’m drinking one a day now to help me get enough fluids in our dry Colorado air. It’s tasty and delicious and I find that I’m not peeing every 45 minutes throughout the day, which might be an indication I wasn’t eating enough sodium.

There’s now mounting evidence that higher sodium intake levels are not unhealthy – and athletes need substantially more than your typical sedentary person. Of course, ask your doctor if you’re worried. But for those athletes running outside in the heat, an electrolyte replacement makes a lot of sense.

They just released their first new flavor of 2021, their most requested flavor, watermelon salt. So check out Elemental Labs to try their new flavor and get your hydration optimized.

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