Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stuck In A Rut?

Are you logging lots of miles but not seeing any improvement in speed or endurance? Come to find out it's not really the quantity of miles you log but the quality that count. If you're running the same 4-6 miles every day at the same pace, day-after-day, month-after-month, you're not challenging your body. It's acclimated to this pace and distance. Kind of similar to lifting weights in the gym. If you do the same routine over and over, you begin to plateau and see no change. You have to keep your muscles guessing what's coming next. Same thing occurs in running. Dare I say it....try running less but make the runs you do count.

Here's a sample week:
Monday: easy 4-6 mile run
Tuesday: speedwork—track repeats or fartleks (about 3 miles total)
chill or crosstrain
Thursday: tempo run (begin run with a slow 10-minute warmup; then run at least 25 minutes at just below race-pace speed; finish with a 10-minute cooldown)
Friday: easy 4-6 mile run
Saturday: long run (8-11 miles) at an easy pace (note: if you're training for a marathon, your long runs will increase in length and go beyond 11 miles)
Sunday: chill or crosstrain

Feel free to modify the schedule to fit your needs. Many runners do their long runs on Sunday. That's fine. Just try to alternate easier days with the challenging days. I used a similar schedule to the one above and finally achieved a sub 20-minute 5K and a 1:30 half marathon. Everybody's different and results will vary, but the bottom line is, if you focus your runs (each one having a specific goal) you'll definitely see good results. Give it a try!


Running Through Life said...

I just came across your Blog and think it's great. Ironically, I was having this issue of doing the same runs over & over again and was wondering how to break out of it. I am going to try your advice, I hope it works for me.


RunnerDude said...

Awesome! Let me know how it goes!

Anonymous said...

What about the running the exact same long route every time? Is that bad for you? ;)

Will said...

The Blueliners believe it is ok to run the same long route every Saturday, as long as you don't run with the same person each time! Since I've been hurt, I just try to find somebody I can keep up with. As long as I get my Cinnamon Crunch bagel afterwards, I'm happy with the same route. Just ask Les what happens to those who suggest an alternative location!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Dena! If you're not training for anything in particular and you're varying your weekly runs, it's probably fine for your long run to be consistent in length. but hey if you're feeling good, go for more! However, if you're training for a marathon, you'll need to vary the length of your long runs. Most plans have you increase your long run by a couple of miles each week. Then you'll drop back to a shorter distance, then back up again, eventually getting you to 20 or more. This helps build your endurance.

RunnerDude said...

Hello oh Wise Will. Yep, best not play with the routine of a group, especially the BlueLiners—distance, route, or post run meal location. LOL! However, you can do whatever you want during the week, my man....well as long as you've finished your "honey-do" list. :-)