Time for the weekly update. I've had one of the best weeks of training I've ever put in. 141 miles, 2 solid workouts and a 20 mile long run. This week I'm also going to chat about mileage and how I think its something many runners need to take a closer look at.
As I type this I'm catching all the results from National Cross Country Championships which went down yesterday in BC, great to see some friends running well and tearing up the dirt. Crag Odermatt came 3rd overall in the masters division, Erin Burrett threw down in the senior women's race for a 7th place finish, I do believe that earns her a national team spot for NACAC. As well Matt Noseworthy ran a great race and placed 34th in the Jr men's division (dude is a stud and a big talent) and Jillian Foresey came second overall in the Jr. women. Way to go everyone!
Also, shout out to Reid who ran the Fukuoka Marathon this morning. He ran a stellar time of 2:11:24, when you think about the fact that he broke his collar bone at the end of the summer to have run that kind of time was awesome. He will take another crack at the Canadian record soon I'm sure.
Mileage/volume, how much do we need to maximize our running performances?
To me this is something that allot of people seem to have their own opinions on. How much should they run, how much cross training should they do, how much volume is enough for the given distance they wish to compete at? For me, I think if a runner is serious about running to their potential they have to put in allot of mileage. Granted we all have different time restraints and only have a certain amount that we can set aside for running. But the fact of the matter remains that if your goal race is anything from 1500m and up, to truly run well you need to put in the work and get the physiological benefits that come from higher volume training. This doesn't have to be fast running. Science says that working at a capacity of 75% of what your racing pace will be is plenty and benefits will be had spending time in this area.
I hear so many people talking about how mileage isn't everything and that at a certain point all that's happening is your running "junk miles". This really frustrates me, it's almost as bad as when I hear people saying that after September it's the "off season" until April. (I'll rant about that some other time lol). I'm not saying everyone needs to be running 2 hours a day, people have lots of things on their plate, they have families, demanding jobs, other hobbies, etc. But if you've been doing the same thing over and over and aren't getting better results why continue to do the same thing? Like Albert Einstein said "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" If you are in fact following a sound training protocol but you aren't improving I'm 95 percent confident that adding more volume will help you break through your plateau. The 10 percent rule is important to follow. (Increase your volume slowly adding only 10 percent each week)
There is a reason why top 1500m runners are running 100 miles (160ish km) per week. There are adaptation that happen physiologically from running that much volume. Look at the training of the worlds top marathon runners, it's not uncommon to see weeks of mileage in the 150's during their buildups. To me this seems like something that people really need to look at in their training and ask themselves are they running as much as they can to achieve their goals. If your just running for fun, then by all means run whenever you feel so inclined and enjoy yourself, but if your serious about performance and want to run fast times, the answer is simple, do your quality workouts and run allot.
I don't have the answers in terms of how much is enough, its going to vary from runner to runner, so do some research, check out your running logs and analyze your volume critically and honestly. The more you run, the better runner you will become!
I'll attach an excellent piece I recently read that a friend of mine, Graydon Snyder stumbled across. It talks about the benefits of high volume in endurance sports - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01184.x/full
I would love to hear what you all do in terms of mileage and what your "sweet spot" is in terms of managing your volume and quality workouts. We are all different, 100 miles a week isn't for everybody and that's fine. Some people can run incredibly well on very low volume, and others thrive when they are cranking out lots of time on the roads. I'm sure there is a different number out there for everyone that will work. I just want to get it out there that we don't need to be afraid of doing more. Track your training, analyze it scientifically, seek the counsel of those who have achieved success in the sport and see what you need to do to reach your goals. Comment and let me your your thoughts, tips, tricks, process!
This week of training.
As I mentioned, I had a great week of running. I got most of my easy runs in with Amanda (Wilkins). It's exciting to see her training progressing, she hit her highest week of volume last week running just about 60 miles (100km). I'm hoping by the time she goes to CIS indoor champs she is ready for a good 600m and 1000m. This coming week Kate and Peter will be back so I look forward to hitting some hard session with them. It really helps so much during this time of the year to have someone to meet for those hard grinding sessions.
15 miles - AM
5 miles - PM
13 miles - AM
7 miles - PM
Workout - 4 mile hard tempo @ 10km race pace (pace for a 31:45 10km). This went very well, I started conservative running the first mile in 5:10, came back with a 5:09, then started working hard and ran the next two in 5:03 and 5:04. The average for the 4 miles was 5:07 (31:50 10km pace). This was done on the Tupper Street loop. I feel that I'm in high 31 minute 10km shape if I had the right race with people to chase. But I need more work in the 5:05 pace zone for sure, after 5km I can tell I'm really working hard. This will improve once I lower my 5km PB as well. All in all great session.
8.5 miles with workout - AM
12.5 miles (very slow) - PM
10 miles - AM
10 miles - PM
12 miles - AM
8 miles - PM
Workout - 4X400m + 4 miles @ half marathon pace, then 10X10 second hill sprints. I had 2 minute active recoveries after the 400's, then a 3 minute standing break before the 4 mile tempo and then got into the hill sprints after I recovered fully. I went 68,65,66,63 for the 400's, and averaged 5:17/mile on my 4 mile tempo (goal half marathon pace is 5:19 but it was close enough) and then just focused on driving my legs and high knees on the hill sprints. I came away from the workout feeling really great and confident. I was sore the day after but it was one of my best ones this fall.
11 miles with workout - AM
9 miles - PM
Long Run - 20 miles @ 6:52 pace. This was possibly the hardest run of the week to get through. My legs felt so tired after the workout on Friday. I wanted to work the pace down as the run progressed but I just couldn't seem to get my legs going any faster. It took me a little under 2 hours and 20 minutes. I took a gel at 1 hour and another one at 90 minutes.
20 miles - AM
Off - PM
141 miles total for the week, one of my highest mileage weeks ever.
"That's all she wrote" for this week. It was a grind for sure but my energy levels stayed pretty high and I nailed the workouts. I'm going to drop my mileage back a bit next week and let the body absorb some of this training and volume. I still plan to get some good workouts in but hopefully average about 14-15 miles a day rather than 20. This should freshen the legs up and get me ready to roll again the following week. Next week I'll give my thoughts on the new Saucony Cortanas 3's and Mirage 3's as I've been rotating them for my easy and long runs. Hopefully we continue to get this glorious weather!
Thanks as always for tuning in,
See you next week, same time and place,