The primary focus of this year is to run the best 800m, 1500m, and mile I can during the summer track season. So all training prior to August will be geared towards these events. I will likely be running a few 5k's along the way, but I will not be training for them - they'll be treated more like tempo runs. After the track season ends, the plan is to go back into a base building cycle for at least 12 weeks. I may run a 10k or two during this time to see how I'm progressing, and it's possible that I even run a half-marathon at the end of the year.
Generally, the training for the track season will look something like this:
Base Training: (16 weeks - started in December '07, running thru the end of March)
The Base period will be broken down into four sections -
- Objective to simply build up mileage from about 32/week to about 45/week. There will likely be one Threshold running day per week typically in the form of cruise intervals (In this case the intervals will be mile or 2-mile repeats w/ rests between intervals of 1-minute per mile) Note: these are just Threshold pace runs, NOT actual "interval" training. (6 weeks)
- Continue to increase weekly mileage up to about 52/week. Instead of one Threshold run per week, up it to two. One will still be the cruise interval workout above, and the second will be in the form of a long Tempo Run. (In the case of the long tempo run - runs over 20 minutes in length - the pace gets adjusted to something slower than your actual Threshold pace. For example if you're doing a 45 minute Tempo Run, you would add about 15 seconds per mile to your usual T-pace) (3 weeks)
- Keep mileage at about 52/week. Go back to one T-paced run/week, but add one day/week of hill repeats. (3 weeks)
- Again, keep mileage at about 52/week. Drop T-running entirely and move to two hill repeat workouts per week. One of these hill workouts will be more short steep hills and the other will be longer hills w/ a more gradual slope. (4 weeks)
Also, during the base phase there will be 2 or 3 days/week of lifting and core work.
Note: Most people consider hills a separate category from base work, but I consider it just a phase within the base work. Since it's coming at the end, it's really the same thing - it's just how you want to define it.
Phase II: (6 weeks - end of March thru the middle of May)
At this point I'm leaning heavily on the Daniels' materials. I'm still not sure whether I'm going to more closely follow the 800m program or the 1500m program. I'll need to determine that sometime in February or March. The primary goal of this phase is to work on running economy and some speed. That will mean a good deal of what Daniels calls Reps. (these are similar to Intervals except #1 they're run at a faster pace, and #2 instead of short jogging recoveries, you're often times taking long recoveries) The idea of the "Reps" is to be able to run each one w/ the same quality as the one before, and being that the pace is actually faster than Interval pace, you'll definitely need longer rests to recover. The main difference between Reps and Intervals in Daniels' definition is that Intervals stress your VO2Max, whereas Reps do not - instead they assist your speed and running economy. Because of the longer breaks, Rep workouts are not as demanding as Interval workouts, and recovering from these Rep sessions is not as tough.
Phase II calls for either 2 or 3 quality days/week (Reps, Threshold workouts, or hills) one long run and the rest of the days easy recovery runs. During the first 3 weeks of Phase II, I plan to substitute 1 hill repeat workout for 1 quality day. During the last 3 weeks hills will be dropped entirely and all quality days will more closely follow the program.
I may add some plyometric work after the hill work has ceased. Lifting and core work will continue during this time.
Total mileage will still be at least 52/week, and perhaps that total may be increased to 55-58/week.
Phase III: (6 weeks - middle of May thru the end of June)
This is the toughest of the phases. Each week shapes up pretty similarly to Phase II in that there are 2 or 3 quality days, one long day and the rest are easy recovery days. However, Interval work takes center stage during Phase III. As I mentioned above, intervals are meant to stress your VO2Max - although they are run at a slower pace than Reps, the shorter recovery periods and the fact that ALL recoveries are jogs and not complete "breaks" makes these workouts very tough. Not all quality days are interval workouts, typically just one/week but it is the most important day of the week here. If the plyometrics are going well, I'll continue to do them during this phase.
Total mileage will be whatever the mileage is at the end of Phase II. If it's still 52/week then that's what it will be here. On the other hand, if the mileage was increase to say 56/week by the end of Phase II then, I'll stick w/ that. Mileage should NOT be increased during Phase III. Also, core work will continue, but most of the lifting will be eliminated.
Phase IV: (6 weeks - end of June thru the middle of August)
This phase is meant as a final sharpening to peak for the specific events for which you are training. In my case (shorter distances) I'll be doing a lot of Fast work and Reps along w/ some easy paced running. Intervals are dropped here. Also, weekly mileage is decreased about 20%. I imagine that I'll be doing whatever workouts I've found work the best for me during this time. This phase should be a lot less stressful than Phase III both physically and mentally.
I'll be doing most of my racing during this phase from early July all the way thru August, so all extra work will be ceased. (i.e. lifting, plyometrics, most of the core work, etc) The idea is to be as physically and mentally fresh as possible.
After the season is over I imagine I'll take a short break of about a week to 10 days before beginning a new base cycle. I'm not exactly sure what my plans are going to be at this time, however I understand that in order to fully realize my potential I'm going to need a lot of improvement in my aerobic fitness. I also understand that a great deal of the benefits that can be obtained thru aerobic work take several years to develop. So. . . . I'm sure I'll be stressing base work after the season to get ready for the following year. I may run some 10k's or even a half marathon just for fun and although I'm not exactly sure what my plans are going to be in the fall - I imagine upping my mileage and several months of base building will be a large part of the routine.