Just because the week only has seven days in it, doesn’t mean your training schedule must too.
While most training plans are structured around the standard work week, with mid-week workouts and the long run on the weekend, many of the world’s best runners use a 10-14 day cycle to their advantage and which allows greater flexibility as well as time for recovery and adaptation.
Work obligations, family responsibilities and inclement weather can all derail your training from time to time. Being flexible and knowing how to rearrange your schedule will go far to helping you adapt and make the most of the unexpected.
Here then are a few things to consider when rearranging your training:
Make time for a long run
It doesn’t need to happen on Sunday and it doesn’t have to take place once each week, but completing long runs are essential for developing endurance. Your longest run should make up about 25-30 per cent of your total weekly volume. Aim to do one every 7-14 days.
Take time to rest
Generally speaking, you should always schedule a recovery day (or two) between hard efforts. This goes for workouts and long runs. Also schedule a down week every month or so where you reduce the overall intensity and volume of your training.
Don’t overdo it
Schedule no more than two hard efforts (not including the long run) in your weekly training cycle, or no more than one every three days.
Most days should be easy
With the exception of long runs and workouts, all your running should be done at an easy, conversational pace. Many make the mistake of running too hard on easy days and can’t run as hard as they should during workouts.
Cross training counts
Allowing yourself a few days off from running and supplementing with another form of exercise, such as cycling, swimming, yoga or weight training, will go far to staying healthy and avoiding staleness and burnout.
Embrace the off day
If you’re feeling particularly sore or are dealing with a lingering issue, don’t be afraid to take an extra day or two completely off. Three days off now is always better than three weeks later because you ignore or neglect an injury.