Wednesday, October 10, 2007


The last couple days I decided my foot was ready to be out of the dreaded boot/immobilizer thingy, so I pranced around all day in stiff-soled mountain-biking shoes. But, by the end of yesterday, my foot was hurting again, so I decided it was time to get back in the boot. I'm really trying to not get impatient with this injury, because a vast amount of past stress fracture experience has taught me that a few extra days of rest and protection can save a lot of grief in the end. I've already lost a ton of fitness anyway, and luckily the racing schedule is very lean this time of year, so I can have the luxury of not needing to try to rush back into shape.

As usual, my latest injury has me rigorously reconsidering my weekly running schedule. When I'm hurt, I would
f'ing kill (something...) to be healthy and just go do a nice 2hr cruise in the mountains. Of course, once I am healthy, I gradually forget about my conviction to consistently run less miles and am soon logging close to 200 miles per week again.

In a moment of rare rationality today it occurred to me that I would be far more consistently mentally stable and physically sound if I lowered my mileage a touch--to a more sustainable level--that would allow me to amass week after month after year of solid training without getting hurt. So, I guess, here's the current plan. Limit my weekdays to something closer to 3-3.5
ish hours of volume per day (as opposed to the 4+, even 5hrs that were becoming regular leading up to Leadville this year), and start introducing more structured Tuesday/Thursday uptempo/hard days. This will likely be something like 5x1mile workouts on Tuesday or a flat tempo run, and a hard tempo hill climb on Thursdays. In the past I've regularly done 30ish minute hill climb tempos on Thursday, but I want to be sure to get the mile repeat turnover stuff in on Tuesdays in the future--especially looking ahead to speedster races like Rocky Raccoon and American River. So, a week might look like this:

Mon: am 2.5-3hr
pm 1hr
Tue: am 2hr 5
pm 1hr
Wed: am 2.5-3hr
pm 1hr
Thu: am 3hr 30-60min hill climb tempo (at least 500' of
pm 1hr
Fri: 1h30
Sat: 5-8hr
Sun: 4-6hr

I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff--thinking about all of the tiny details--but it's stupid because once I am healthy I almost always just revert to a more intuitive "what feels right" approach. But, this time around I'm really going to try to be disciplined. Some might think, "
geezus, that's still a ton of miles" but it's definitely less than what I've done in the past and just a half hour less here and there can really make a big difference for me when it comes to recovery and training load.


Paul DeWitt said...

Tony - I think you are on the right track with your thinking; in fact I'd love to see what you could do with more consistent training and with more quality work. You might find that in order to do the quality you need, you'll feel better making the other weekdays more like 2-2.5 hours. As you know, my feeling is that there should be a huge difference between hard days and easy days.

I just think that the addition of quality work is a huge stressor on your body, so you may need to back off the other days more than you would want to admit.

I know in my past, I have gotten very quickly into shape when I was running more miles plus my speed workouts (for me that was like 90 mpw), but I would typically get hurt sooner. My best sucess has always been when I trained for 6 months or more at a time, even if the total miles per week was way less.

Look at our buddy M; his success is in large part due to his consistency; he is always running moderate high mileage and always doing his Tue/Thur hard runs.

Also, as you do more ultras you may find you don't need to do as many long long runs because you are getting a high quality long long run in every 6 weeks or so in the form of a race.

I'll be posting more about my own workouts (past and planned future) in the next week or so, but I think your planned workouts are very appropriate. I have always done Tue flat/Thur hill myself also. When training for a shoter faster race (marathon/50K) I also change my long run so it includes several 5:00 surges at race pace so it ends up being 3 quality runs a week. When doing this, the other 2 runs (I only do 5 a week usually) really fall off to just 30-45 minutes or whatever I feel like I can do.

WynnMan said...

I would agree whole heartedly with Paul on this. As tempting as it is to crank away endless miles, consistency is key. You'll also probably find that if you incorporate high quality speed work sessions twice a week, say 60min (5:40 or sub 6:00) your body will embrace the easy run the following day. Although I am learning as I go.. but this is what I am finding to work.

blancdenoir said...

I know this is a bit of a stale comment considering it's 2011 and I'm responding to a post from 2007.. but was wondering whether you thought all that barefoot running contributed to your stress fracture?
I too got a metatarsal SF from simulating barefoot running..I didn't go the whole hog in Vibrams but wore some pretty stripped-back shoes and initially felt great up until that tiny crack in the bone..
Still, after it healed, I ran my 5th marathon and never went back to built-up shoes. Just a learning curve I guess...

Got to say you're a huge inspiration to me on so many levels.

24/UK - dedicated marathoner

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