"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Periodization #2

First, I have to do a little review of some previous posts.

I did a long series explaining different types of training and how, when fitting them into a standard 7 day week, I ended up recreating a fairly standard schedule. In brief, once you remove all the jargon, there are four things one trains for in running: 1) How fast you can run a given distance (the goal of races), 2) How far you can run at a given pace, 3) How far you can run, regardless of pace and 4) How fast you can run when you run your fastest. This leads to a week that looks like: Intervals on Tuesday (one can run further at a given pace if there are breaks), a fast continuous run on Saturday (race, time-trial, "tempo" run, etc.), a long run on Sunday and a grab-bag day on Thursday, depending upon one's goal race (sprints for short races, strides for longer, hill repeats for very long or hilly races). Generally, the Tuesday and Saturday runs are the hardest days.

I wrote about the different methods of carbohydrate loading and came up with a taper schedule based upon combining them. This was ignored by most, as carboloading is only important for a small number of runners in a limited category of races, but I think it's important to understand, as the level of stored glycogen is one of the few measurable things that can be followed in training. Neglecting the dietary aspects, a one week depletion/loading cycle looks like: Very long run on Sunday, moderately long runs on Monday and Tuesday with speedwork on Tuesday, then easy days until the Saturday race.

If one takes the standard training week schedule above and shifts the Thursday run to Monday, one has four hard days in a row (fast continuous run, long run, sprints and hills, intervals) followed by three easy days and this looks just like the carboloading week schedule. It also looks just like what's become known as "crash training," where one runs hard several days in a row, followed by several easy days.

Next up: a brief review of crash training.

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