Going strong but feeling sore. That’s the best way to describe Week 5 in this 8-Week comeback program I’m trialing. It’s a high frequency program, where I’m sacrificing distance gain for small, incremental number of sessions and strength gain.
Running With Chaos
It’s snowing today in Toronto and I wish I could go for a run in the trails on the fresh white. I’m going to play it sensibly though, veto desire, and stick to an easy recovery run.
I don’t like mess, I don’t like chaos. But I love the feeling of conquering mess and chaos!
That’s why I love running in the snow. That’s why I love running in the trails, in the forrest, or on the beach sand. Every bit of off-road terrain is different, and comes with it’s own set of challenges. It’s brilliant!
Alison smiling at the enjoyment of this muddy hill session, or smiling that it’s over.
Week 4 Training
Let’s take a look at this week’s training. An increase from 5 sessions last week to 6 sessions:
- SUN: Long run - 10.5km
- MON: Easy recovery run - 5.6km
- TUE: Rest
- WED: Mild run - 5km
- THU: Hill session - 4 x short size muddy trail, 3 x mid size on pavement.
- FRI: Mild run - 6.8km
- SAT: Trail run - 7km mild paced. Plus 3km warm up / down on road.
The frequency is up, which has automatically jacked up my mileage. To the extent that with Week 6 coming up, next week should be my longest week of mileage I’ve had for the year. Even though I’m rarely running over 10km in each session.
A snapshot of the Week 5’s training logs.
Overall, I maintained the same kind of distance throughout the week, except for Sunday’s long run which I took down to 10k. This is because I’m taking it back before increasing it the next week to 15k. But in Week 6 when I gain that distance I’ll drop the pace back to 6 min/km.
I’d describe this in miles for American readers, but it’s much easier talking in increments of 5… ie 5k, 10k, 15k (instead of 3.1, 6.2, 9.3 miles). Don’t you milers get tired of talking in obscure numbers? ;-P
Training For Trails
The Trail run is the weekly session that I’m starting to treat most seriously, followed closely by the Hill session. Running Trails are not only my greatest passion, but they’re also what I aspire to compete in - trails are the whole reason why I even run.
Marathons have become a fad, which means that there a lot of new runners out there who blindly train for a marathon before “finding their distance”. Before finding their passion. Before trying out other distances. Before trying out other running disciplines and formats. That’s just how fads go. That’s changing gradually as this large wave of newcomers tread deeper into running, but it will take a long time.
Trail runs are starting to get noticed though. The longer trail races like ultras are perhaps more forgiving to roadrunners, because they’re at a much slower pace and tend to be designed on lighter terrain.
But the middle distance trail distances (between 5-15 km) that fire sparks in my heart, are faster and less forgiving. These aren’t a slog, and they therefore require a slightly different running style, and slightly different running muscles to running road. Road and track fitness can only get you so far in these events.
You have to practise running trails, if you want to get far in racing trails. This might seem like an obvious statement written down like this, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t make this connection.
Setting off on our Saturday trail run.
If you’re thinking of trying out some trail races, try a middle distance series like the 5 Peaks. Unlike ultras, you don’t have to quit your life for training just to see if you like it or not. They’re a quick succession of events, usually a month apart. So you can gauge your performance, tweak your training, and redeem yourself a lot quicker than for ultras.
So with a focus on trail races, of course the weekly trail sessions are going to be the most important for me. Plus I’m really loving the crew that’s building up for Saturday trail runs. That helps :)
If you want to take a look at any other posts in this series, just click on the “high frequency training” tag in this blog post.