Enough people have responded to my poll that I think it’s worth my time to build some weekly workouts. Here are my recommendations for this week. Please reply with comments about how your runs went, if the workouts felt too easy or too hard, and anything else. I’ll need feedback to adjust these appropriately to the people who are doing them. We may not be able to run together as much as we like, but at least we can talk about what we’re doing and learn from one another.
But first, for the middle-distance workouts, I’m assuming you’re running at least 20-25 miles per week, so if that’s not true, I’d encourage you to increase your mileage to that level with easy runs before doing the workouts. When increasing mileage, the rule of thumb is no more than 10% per week. So if you’re running 15 miles per week, you can add 1.5 miles the first week for a total of 16.5 miles, 1.65 miles the second week for a total of 18.15 miles, 1.8 miles the third week for a total of 20 miles, and so on. Don’t stress about the precision of those numbers; just don’t jump from 15 miles to 20 miles in one week.
For those who haven’t been running the Tuesday night MITHACAL MILERS workouts, I use the Jack Daniels approach, which has several recommended paces, such as E (easy), M (marathon), T (threshold), I (interval), and R (repetition). The beauty of Jack’s system is that you can go to a pace calculator and enter a recent race time and then click the Training tab to figure out what your personalized paces are for various distances. The pace calculator will always be linked at the bottom of these posts. You’ll also find my recommended warmup and cooldowns linked there. Don’t skimp on the warmup and cooldown running!
Middle Distance Workouts (5K to 15K)
In each of these cases, I’ve provided a range of distances. If you’re in the 20-35 miles per week range, go for the lower end of the range. If you’re above 35 miles per week, try the upper end of the range. As far as when to do these, it’s important to have a recovery day or two after each one, so I’d suggest trying for Tuesday for Workout 1, Thursday or Friday for Workout 2, and Sunday for the long run. Whatever works for you is fine, though. Just remember that recovery is an essential part of training—it’s when your body adapts to the training stress. Sleep well and eat well to aid recovery too.
Workout 1: 4-8 by 2 minutes at I pace, with a 1-minute jog after each repetition. Gauging I pace might be a bit tricky if you’re not accustomed to track work, but you can think of it as 5K race pace.
Workout 2: 2-4 by 1 mile at T pace with 2-minute jogging rests. T pace is more like a 5-mile or 10K race pace.
Long Run: 20-25% of your weekly mileage at E pace
Long Distance Workouts (Half Marathon to Marathon)
For the marathon, I think one workout a week is sufficient, but the long run is even more important, so it’s best to do the workout on Tuesday or Wednesday such that you’re fresh for a good long run on the weekend.
Workout 1: 4 by 1 mile at M pace with 3-minute jogging rests. M pace is the pace you can race in a marathon (not the pace you want to run, but the pace you can actually do now).
Long Run: 25% of your weekly mileage at E pace