When to change your training’s Status Quo?
Have you ever finished a long run that lasted a few hours! And when you cross your imaginary finish line you felt that you had the strength to run more? Why were you doing your track repeats you felt that you could go faster? Or when you are on tempo training, you had this gut feeling that you can increase the rhythm for longer period something that was not scheduled on your plan? Have you felt that your hill repeats are not challenging anymore?
All the above feelings and signals are strong indications from your body that you reached a fitness level which for the sake of this article we call it Status Quo. You reach a Status quo which is an immediate result of your training.
One of my biggest fears and sources of anxiety when I first started running was when and how to upgrade my training program either in mileage or intensity without getting injuries. Let me tell you something and I am saying this from experience, training plan upgrading should be thoughtful and considered. You should experiment and be patient see what works and don’t work for you. DO not I repeat Do not blindly follow a training program that you find online or in a book, take the philosophy behind the program but never follow it to the letter. You are YOU, and you are unique, take the program and make it yours, do not let the program to make you it’s own to turn you into a stressful runner enslaved by his commands.
I used to do that when I first started running I would find a running training plan and follow it to the letter, the result was numerous injuries and added psychological stress and feelings or disappointment and let myself down. SO how do you upgrade your training program, well it’s quite elementary dear Watson as Sherlock homes will listen to your body, it is that easy.
When you just finished a long run in a nice relaxed tempo and with a beautiful form and as I mentioned at the start of the article you feel that you can run more then its time to upgrade your long run either run distance or intensity or both. When your hill repeats are starting to seem like a piece of cake then its time to upgrade, either find a hill that steeper or increase the intensity of the run, or add some weights to you.
Now all these theories I just said are beautiful and dandy but let me give you some numbers and practical tips.
1. Do not make more than two upgrades a week. I only do one update per week.
Usually, the first thing I improve when I feel its time it is my long run, and I will add more mileage.
2. Do not add more than 15 to 30 seconds onto an interval
3. Do not add more than 10% additional mileage to a long run each week, most of you must know it by now it is like a gold rule.
4. If you increase the number of Intervals, do the first ones with a slower tempo.
5. If you increase the speed, you run your intervals then decrease the number of the intervals and as you get fitter increase the number for the intervals back its original number. For example, if you had 12 repeats of 400 meters, and you decided you want to do them faster, then run faster six repeats instead of 12 and gradually build until you reach 12 or whatever your lucky number is.
6. When you just finished a training session as you felt safe and healthy and you feel like you can go forever, do not upgrade immediate, wait for a week and if next week you have the same input from your body then proceed to the update.
Now let’s see what kind of upgrades you can do.
1. You and increase the number of your weekly runs, if for example, you are running three times a week you can start running four times a week. This upgrade though should not be taken lightly and should be done after you 're 100% sure that your body is ready to accept the added physical stress and combined energy output that it will be asked for.
2. As I mentioned earlier, you can increase the steepness of a hill or the length the distance of a hill repeat.
3. You can increase the total time of a run, long run for example, if you were running for 2 hours every Sunday you can go for 2 hours and 12 minutes (apply the 10% increase rule)
4. You can increase the distance the length of each interval
5. You can increase the number of intervals repeats, or you can do the opposite reduce the number of interval repeats.
6. Increase the speed and the intensity of a specific run, either is hill repeat, track repeat, tempo run or long run.
I want to leave you with this today. Listen to your body, this fantastic machine that holds our soul; it is always speaking to us; we just need to relax and start listening to it. I know it’s not easy, I know I was oblivious to its callings a few years ago. Now I am more in tune with it, and the secret here is to start training your ego and your brain to be more sensitive to what your body is trying to tell you every second of your life.
I know a lot of you will say I am mad, but hey why don’t you try it and be crazy together.
Have a healthy and happy day.
My warmest Regards