FLRC workouts for the week of April 27th

Last week’s weather was largely disgusting, which may have made it hard to get up the enthusiasm for a hard workout. Hopefully, temperatures will be climbing this week, but as promised, we’re going to pull back a little to give your legs a little rest before cycling up again next week.

Middle Distance Workouts (5K to 15K)

We’re going to go back to some previous workouts this week. The goal here is not to run them faster but to see if they feel easier than the last time.

  • Workout 1: Ladder of 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 minutes, all at I pace, with a 1-minute jog after each repetition. Remember, the idea is that you run 1 minute at I pace, then jog 1 minute, then run 2 minutes at I pace, then jog 1 minute, and so on, up the ladder and then back down. If you’re on the lower end of the weekly mileage, drop the 4-minute rep in the middle. Don’t run these too fast—this is I pace, not R pace.

  • Workout 2: 3 by 1 mile at T pace, with a 3-minute jogging rest after each repetition. When you’re done with the T-pace work and are rested, do 6 by 30-second strides (30 seconds at R pace, followed by 30 seconds of jogging). Focus on maintaining good running form while doing the strides.

  • Long Run: 25-30% of your weekly mileage at E pace

Long Distance Workouts (Half Marathon to Marathon)

Make sure you’re fresh for your long run, whenever that is in the week!

  • Workout 1: 20 minutes at E pace, 2 by 15 minutes at T pace with a 5-minute rest between them, 20 minutes at E pace. No need to do the extra 10 minutes warmup/cooldown.

  • Long Run: 25-30% of your weekly mileage at E pace


7 posts were split to a new topic: What local tracks are open for running?

Thanks for the workouts, Adam. I modified middle distance workout 2 to practice a little for my planned 19 miler (FLRC support) on Sunday. So on Wednesday I ran 4x 1 mile aiming for M pace. I’m having trouble not going too fast. Maybe the distance will slow me down on Sunday!

Holding a pace and not running too fast is tricky, and it’s tempting to feel like you’ve crushed the workout and that’s good. Been there, done that, and yes, it feels good.

However, from a coaching perspective, it’s important to try to NOT run too fast for two reasons. First, you probably won’t benefit more from running faster, so it’s just unnecessary work. Second, by running harder than your body is adapted to, you increase the risk of injury.

Good luck with your 19 miler on Sunday, and make sure you schedule some extra rest afterward!

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I ran this marathon workout Tuesday then got distracted by seeing all the awesome 19 mile runs this week! My second 15 min pickup felt way better and on pace than the first - any tips on hitting the right pace earlier in the workout without a Garmin? I did a decent warmup (leg swings and lunges +20 min run) before speeding up. It feels like acquiring pace memory by feel is a learned skill.

It is, for sure. It looks like you’re mapping things in Strava with an Android phone, rather than a Garmin or other GPS watch. That makes it a little harder to check your pace against how you feel. Here’s what I’d recommend.

In my experience, some of these paces come with breathing patterns. I can’t exactly tell you what they are, since I’m sure they vary per person, so see if you can pay attention (on a flat road, for calibration) to what it feels like when you’re hitting the pace correctly. That might entail hitting a breathing rhythm that feels comfortable when you think you’re at the pace and then double-checking afterward. Then, the next time you need to run that pace, think back to that breathing rhythm and see if you can make it happen again, even if it doesn’t quite match what your legs are doing. The hope is that the legs will fall into line, either speeding up or slowing down to match the breathing rhythm.

People like @JTuori can weigh in too, but my worry with tying too much to breathing is that, like heart rate, it may change based on how recovered you are, if you’re a fighting off a cold, etc. So, as with heart rate monitors, I’d use the various breathing rhythms you’ll come up with for each pace more as a tool to help you learn what each pace feels like. That’s the ultimate goal.

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Yeah that’s a good point, @adamengst, breathing rate and heart rate are measures of internal load (your body’s internal response, dependent on fitness and recovery) and can fluctuate regardless of external load (the common metrics we track ei distance and pace). This is the explanation for why two runs of the exact same distance and pace on separate occasions can feel drastically different.

As for breathing rate- it does increase as our heart rate increases, so there’s theoretically a breathing pattern that represents “tempo pace”, “VO2max pace”, etc. The question is then does the runner’s step rate/cadence match up with it to become an efficient pattern? If cadence slightly increases as we increase our pace (generally it does), and breathing rate does too, are we forcing one or the other to comply? There’s no answer to this question to my knowledge as it’s almost definitely individualized.

All in all, acquiring pace is a skill that requires a ton of practice, just like all motor skills. This is likely why a good training plan incorporates “pace-specific” training, even when it might not be the most effective at improving fitness. There are plenty of theories on the “best” ways to improve motor learning. Most of them seem to trend towards gradually reducing feedback (an example here might be checking the watch 4-5x per interval to correct the pace initially, fading to 0-1x per interval after 6-8 weeks of specific training) and using external cues (focusing on things outside of the actual task to solidify a skill; in this case focusing on breathing patterns would be considered an external cue since it really doesn’t have much to do with how fast your body is moving).


Thanks both of you for your input! I have been trying to do some of my speedwork on flat surfaces with defined distance landmarks, for example the East Hill rec mile, so I can get a sense of speed. Will give the breathing pattern idea a try. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but part of me misses Barton track workouts because of the constant pace feedback (the trail runner in me wants to ditch my watch and just run free in the woods!).

There’s totally a place for both, and you can learn to feel those paces with both sorts of training.

By the time cross country is over in the fall, I’m sick of being cold and wet and muddy and slipping and running slower than I can because of bad footing. Barton is wonderful then, being warm and dry and solid and predictable.

But by the time it starts to warm up outside, I’m bored silly of that tiny little circle and thinking in 200 meter repeats. That’s when it feels so good to get out on the trails and bounce around in rough terrain. Though I always remain shocked at how much slower I am on trails than on the track, for obvious reasons. :slight_smile:

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