Friday, October 29, 2010

The 5-day-a-week dilemma

I'm using Cool Running's half marathon training program right now, though I've modified it pretty heavily. At the moment I have no use for speedwork. I'm not actually training for a half (yet), this program works perfectly though for the 10-mile trail run I want to do in December.

My biggest dilemma is how many days to run. I've wanted to go up to 5, but I think I've decided that four days of running plus one day of cross training is more practical. Every training program I look at for distances longer than a 10K calls for 5 days running.

The problem lies here: I want Fridays and Sundays off completely, because I'm either doing my long run or racing Saturday. So, if I'm a 5-day-a-week runner, that means four of those days are consecutive.

The past two weeks I've tried to go Monday through Thursday. The first three days happened without a hitch, but the past two Thursdays I haven't been able to make my legs move. I'm not that tired. I'm not sore. The foam noodles between my waist and my shoes just give up after the first mile. Both times, though, I've jumped on the elliptical and been fine, last week for an hour and this week for 30 mins.

This week I ran 6 Monday at the bike trail. I was really surprised with myself because I maintained a 9 - 9:30 pace the whole way and it was comfortable. Tuesday I did hills on the treadmill between a 6 and 8 incline (hopefully that'll prepare me for Mohican). Wednesday I did an easy four at the bike trail with someone from work. I worked with Jason the trainer before my failed running attempt Thursday (I'm slowly getting the feeling back in my shoulders.)

So I'm doing a bit of research into cross training. Jason the trainer says 4 miles on the bike and 2 on the elliptical equals one running. 8 miles on the elliptical takes a good hour and a half, yikes.

Next week I have two six mile runs, hills and a four mile run that will probably turn into a cross training day. Next week's long run is 10 miles. Tomorrow's the Nu Race Trail Run at Mohican. I'm all carbed up, got some Gatorade chilling in the fridge, and the alarm's set for 6 a.m.

The Halloween candy and pasta I ate today not withstanding, I'm determined to drop 3 more pounds. If I do, that means 50 pounds gone since the beginning of the year. Running rocks.

Time to watch the Rocky Horror Glee Special with Gigi the greyhound. Happy weekend!


  1. I didn't know that tidbit about 4 miles on the bike or 2 on the elliptical equal one mile of running. Makes cross training seem discouraging :-(

    Your training sounds awesome and congrats on the 50 pounds.

  2. I've always heard 3:1 road bike:running, but part of it also depends on your running fitness vs. your cycling fitness and what exercise your body has adapted to.

    Before you totally discount the consecutive days thing, see if your body can handle it. As long as you give your body adequate recovery, you should be fine. For example, back to back quality days don't usually work, since you actually get fitness gains when your body rebuilds itself after you break it down. So I wouldn't do the long run the day after the hills. However, that 4 mile easy day could be treated as a recovery run, assuming you run it at an easy recovery pace. The fact that you can elliptical on a fourth consecutive day but not run makes me think it's partially mental, and you're in better shape than you think. Of course, the impact from running can take it out of you, so if you need to make one of the recovery days a cross-training day, you'll still get benefit out of that.

    Good luck! Sounds like you're doing great!