I’ve always had coaches who are very deliberate with their training, knowing the why to every aspect of every thing we do. So with the knowledge that I’ve been really fortunate to have great coaching, I thought I’d take a few minutes and explain what a week of our training looks like in case there are runners out there without the benefit of the structure that I’ve always had. What’s important to realize is that there’s no magical workout an athlete can do to get better over night. Running is much more about a consistent, methodical approach and it requires a lot of trust in your training regimen. Here is what a typical spring week looks like for me:
Monday – Track work. This is our main focus at this time of the year. Depending on the week and what event we are training for this can be repetitions of anything from miles to 1000m to 300m or most often a combination of distances with varying rest. Most of these repetitions are paced at or under goal race pace. Coach Gary likes to keep these workouts consistent over a 4 to 6 week period where from week to week the paces get faster and the rest gets shorter. Definitely my favorite day of the week.
Tuesday - Two runs and a lift. One of my biggest focuses for this season has been getting stronger overall. Last year I was hampered during the most important time of the year by back and hip issues, which was probably something I’d been holding off in the previous years. I’d often find ways to compensate my weaknesses and I’m only now starting to realize how much more powerful the body can be if its properly activated and strengthened. This is a busy day but I usually leave the weight room feeling invigorated and surprisingly better than when I walked in. Addressing strength issues and muscle imbalances is key to becoming a more efficient and injury-free runner.
Wednesday – Reduced long run. Over the years I’ve found that I prefer to do a single run as opposed to two when possible, it may just be me but it takes a few miles before this old steam engine gets in a good rhythm so I like to make the most out of it. Plus, running a little longer encourages me to take the time to drive to places like Tuxedo, easily the most beautiful run in the area.
Thursday – Threshold Ks or Miles. This is what Coach Gary calls a maintenance session. It’s not glamorous or gut-wrenching, but it’s probably the most important thing to keep in place all year. Ignoring threshold training can really weaken your stamina and when you’re focused on being ready for a Championship final a day or two after a prelim, you’ll want to have plenty of strength built up. In the fall we use the golf course quite a bit for these sessions but in the spring we just loop around the grass track.
Friday – Two sessons and a lift. Same as Tuesday but I usually like to go a little harder on this day as it’s after my two hardest sessions and I know I’ve got an easy day coming up soon.
Saturday – Long progressive run. We have several great locations where we do our long runs, lately my favorite has been “Ridge Run” down in Sumter, SC. This is a long drive but it’s well worth it. The run consists of over 14 miles of smooth gravel roads, most of which is covered by a canopy, keeping you away from the swarming South Carolina humidity. This is our third “session” of the week. I use quotations because the run tends to depend a lot on how the week has been going, and this run is a workout where you really have to listen to your body. Most of the time I end up feeling pretty good and will use the last 3rd of the run to progress down to around 5:15 at the fastest, but if I’m a little run down I’ll be sure not to run with Tanner. It’s nice to hit some hills at that pace as it’s a great time to make some solid strength gains when your body is fatigued.
Sunday – Easy recovery, sometimes this can be as little as 5 miles on the grass loops. You’ll find Cory out here every Sunday and pretty much most other days as well.
Well that’s a typical week for me, most of the time the whole group is doing the same thing but with race schedules and training for different events that’s not always the case. Hopefully you can see how this week is nothing special, but when compiled over the course of weeks and months the training effect starts to take hold and you see results. If there any runners who would like a bit of guidance for this type of thing, Furman Elite members are happy to answer your questions. You can contact me with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.