|With a dog sled and a pack of eager huskies, a whole new|
cross-training element could be added to your running this
time of year
Running has been going well since picking up with a true training plan a couple months ago. Right now my approach is to run a minimum of four days per week, maximum six, and as you might expect, things tend to average out to running five days per week. Sunday I view as the most significant run of the week, because that is when I do a run at my goal pace. Monday night or Tuesday morning I'll just do some miles, Wednesday night I'll do a longer run with hills (to the extent that I can find them in Columbus), Thursday night I'll do some more miles, and then Saturday I'll do a slow mid-range run as I look ahead to the pace run the next day to start the cycle over again. Friday is pretty much always going to be a day off, but Monday morning could involve a run if I really feel like it for some reason. Although I'm trying to stick to this schedule fairly regularly, at times there will be a day when a refresher is needed, so on those days I'll do some jump rope in lieu of a run.
Hal Higdon's training plans recommend running slower than your goal pace on the Sunday run (which is the day of the week when you end up doing your longest runs), but I've found that I have to actually train at my goal pace if I'm going to then run at the goal pace on the day of the race. Intuitively, my approach seems to make sense. I think Higdon's perspective is that your body naturally ramps up for the day of the race due to a trained ability to conserve energy for when it's needed, but whether it's because I don't get "amped" for the day of the race or something else, this doesn't seem to work for me. I'll feel most confident going into the day of the race believing I can run my goal pace if I've already run at that pace for significant distances in training. The principle of starting slow and picking up the pace as you go along is sound, but running a full minute and a half slower than your goal pace while you're training? Obviously Higdon is the expert (he's the one with the website about training plans, numerous books, and any number of disciples), but it's also important to customize with the things that work for you.