Mixing it up

As you already know, because I don’t talk about anything else (this is a running blog), I’m doing this marathon training thing. After debating between two training plans, I ended up going with one that was in the July 2013 issue of Runner’s World.

In the past I have always used the same format for my training plans which looked like this:

The training plan I’m currently following is different from anything I’ve ever done. It also changes a bit throughout the plan. The first four weeks are low mileage on four runs per week, the middle seven weeks build gradually with five runs per week, and the final 9 weeks are higher mileage on four runs per week. Here’s how the weeks break down:

Pretty snazzy illustrations, huh? So far the training has been going just fine. I’m currently in the midst of week 4. Some days it feels kind of weird to be running on a day I used to take a rest day or to cross train on a day that was usually a running day. But I think it’s good to mix things up.

Breaking out of your normal routine can spice things up, while helping you improve your fitness. I’ll be running more miles per week throughout training, which is also new to my usual running routine.

Varying your normal workout routine also keeps your body guessing. Our bodies like routine and like to adapt. By mixing up your normal routine you’re forcing your body to change. At least that’s what Jillian Michaels is always screaming about. I don’t want to plateau and have my workouts become ineffective. It’s also going to prevent boredom.

I have mentioned before that this 20 week training plan is the longest one I have ever followed. I think having a new pattern to follow, along with that pattern changing every few weeks, is going to help break up some of the monotony of training. I also threw in a few races along the way for fun and to help fight getting mentally burned out.

Hokie Half!!

How do you mix up your workout routine?

Do you have a standard format you always use when you’re training for a race?

Do you ever use races as training runs?

15 Comments

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  1. Workout routine? That is the key for me. If it gets routine, I get bored. I try to mix it up as much as I can.

    No training, just having fun.

    LUD.

    1. I hope I get to a point where I can just run for fun, but be in good enough shape to hop in a half marathon whenever I please.

  2. Great plan. I mix my runs up with easy/hard days. My general schedule (which I never follow correctly but I try!) goes like this over 7 days from Mon-Sun: Speed-Easy-Tempo-Rest-Long-Easy-Rest. I sneak in XT on rest days.
    Races are always fun to use as training runs! Just make sure it makes sense and don’t try to PR all of your races!

    1. That’s unusual (and by that I mean not traditional) that your long runs fall on Fridays.

      Personally I have no problem taking a race easy and not trying to PR. 😉

  3. Ohhh I like these plans! I definitely think it’s good to through in some variation! I didn’t know they were doing a 5k with the hokie half I may have to sign up!

    1. I didn’t either until you pointed it out. You definitely should! It’d be great to see you again!

  4. I actually really like routine, ha. I generally run on specific days (tu-th, sat, sun) and XT/rest on the other days (mon/fri). I build all of my training plans around that.

    I have a ton of races planned this fall that I am using as training races (except for MCM…which I still haven’t decided on) to keep me excited and motivated about it.

    I like that your’s switches up though! That will be really interesting to see how you like it when it changes!

    1. I like routine, too, as far as knowing in general what the week will hold. But I am also enjoying having a NEW routine to follow, after using the same structure for the past 5 1/2 years.

  5. As a coach, I do like seeing the running spread more evenly throughout the week, with rest days sprinkled between many runs, rather than reserved for day before/day after long run.

    I’ve used a few different training plans for various distances during my running career – but am partial to Jack Daniels, myself. These days it’s a bit easier for me to play with my plan, since working for myself means that my schedule has a lot more flexibility than it used to. For example, I went crazy and did my long run this morning (Friday). Friday is a light work day for me (while Sunday is not), so this works pretty well. Plus now, I can do some shorter runs with other folks this weekend, without obsessing over getting my long run done.

    I have used races as training runs – especially longer distances. Sometimes it’s worth the extra money for some cheering, snacks, and on-course water support! 18 miles doesn’t seem so bad when it’s a 3 mile warm-up, 13.1 mile race, and 1.9 mile cool down. 🙂

    1. Traditionally I’ve always used the “rest day on either side of the long run” pattern, so I’m looking forward to seeing how running easy runs on either side of my long run goes.

      As much as I love running, if I have to wait until Sunday to do my long run it kind of hangs over me the whole weekend. Given the option I’d definitely do it on Friday like you did this week! Plus like you said, now you get to do some shorter runs with other folks without having to continue on for another 10 miles once they’re done 🙂

  6. I can’t wait to read all about the Hokie Half! Wish I could do it this year, but we’ve got a local trail race that weekend and it’s our daughter’s fourth birthday!

    1. Maybe next year? Bean can run with us, and the way she’s starting out, she would probably beat me! 🙂

    2. Deb and I will run it this year and get the first year race kinks worked out so that you can come run next year! Surely Bean will be up to the half marathon distance by then 😉

  7. I can’t wait to run the Hokie Half! Bill and I are staying at the Inn at VT on Friday and Saturday! It’s going to be a blast!!!

    Sorry I didn’t answer any of your questions… I got too excited thinking about the Hokie Half!

    1. That will be fun! I don’t think I’ve ever actually stayed at the Inn before. I am excited, too! Can’t wait until September 15!

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