Thursday, October 21, 2010

Training Smart - Taking Time Off . . . . .

Training smartly: Something I've never done before. Not sure I did it this year either, but at least I didn't break doing what I did. I've run just under 2,000 miles this year, and with 2 months to go I'm well above my previous year high of 1,439.

But the past 11 weeks of racing and training (35-mile trail race, 35-mile road run, 63-mile trail race, and 28-mile relay race) have taken its' toll, & I'm ready for that runner anticipated 'break' & shut it down. From (you all) what I've learned, is this is a critical. Both for runner development, to mentally recharge and obviously physically recouperate, as well as build back motivation/excitement. I've just never taken a break smart. Heck, I've never really honestly tried. Usually it involved several handles of Jack, loud and offensive behavior with a long period of self-delusion followed by self pity, and a lack of will to keep climbing. Those periods have lasted upwards of several months & pushing a year long at times... Not this time.

From those of you who have had these breaks (the right way, not Barf methods of old), what is an appropriate time off, the intelligent way to come back into training, etc. My next major goal is a sub 3 effort. But with each additional day off I'm noticing other aches & pains & realized I pushed my body to my extreme limit this spring through early fall. My mind body and legs are in need of an extended break; but how long is too long of a break? I'm not too worried about losing a little fitness - it'll come back. I haven't run since Saturday's relay 50-mile relay.

With club challenge right around the corner I shan't rest on my laurels; I want to help defend TTWSS legitimately & crush buttts come February. But my phase I training must be recovery...

Thoughts welcomed and appreciated.

In the mean time, it's time to rowsen up my bow & stick bambi with an arrow Saturday, and make use of the new truck.



Ben said...

It's different for everybody. For me - I usually don't take much time completely off - although I've had several "Barf method" breaks as well (recall club challenge 2008). More importantly you should have 4-6 weeks where you are running ~50% of your peak mileage without anything too hard. This varies on when your next goal race is - because you'll probably want 18 weeks of training and you want to make sure you're in ok shape for week 1 of 18.

RM said...

I hold Club Challenge 2008 as probably my best moment in sports.

The day I put time into Ben Ingram.

It was like Chaminade beating Virginia. Or, in Ben's case, App State beating Michigan.

Dart said...

Was hoping you'd chime in Ben. But you're an animal & have put together serious mileage in your running train-capades. You've not been known to take much time off. Just for now, my legs feel dead & are enjoying staying still. I'm pretty sure I'll start running again next week, but come back easy. Would you recommend the mileage be reduced simply by running shorter, or just more days off, or some random combination of running shorter with more days off and ramp up from there? For about 5 months this year I was only averaging 5 days off a month. I doubt I'll be able to just go for 30-40 min runs as my average run through training was about 1hr 20min.

Ryan - haa! Nice.

Ben said...

I think a combination of more days off and shorter average runs. My experience is that you don't need to completely stop running to recover - just drastically cut down on volume and intensity. And by completely stopping running it's much harder to start up again and you run the risk of another "barf method" break.

Ryan - the time that you put into me at CC 2008 will pale in comparison to the swim and bike at columbia tri 2011. yes, you heard it here - i've signed up for a triathalon next year.

alyssa said...

Really Ben, did you sign up for a "triathalon"???

Meg said...

You've had a pretty solid year, J. I would say after a few weeks of rest maybe just 4-6 weeks of easy running- no speedwork or racing- would be good enough to give your body a break without losing too much fitness. And then you could start whatever training plan you have in mind.

Please ignore the fact that I clearly have trouble following my own advice.

RM said...

My favorite thing I saw this week, besides the rat that ran across my foot last night after I got home from my run, was the scene of Joel running back and forth on the field at Gilman in his suit trying to give us 100m splits.

My favorite thing that I heard on the phone this week was, later that night, on the way home from Chipotle, with Joel behind me in his new truck - he called to tell me to "look to (my) 8 o'clock" where a homeless woman was furiously sweeping the street.

Turtle said...

I've recently found that it's easier on the body to do 2 runs per day of less mileage. I'm sure most of you already know this, but I don't see it mentioned in this thread.

So if your legs are feeling dead, and you dread longer runs, breaking them up into 2 sessions can give you that "fresh feeling" all day long! Ha.

Seriously, though, taking some time off and running slow for a while is a good idea. But don't go to the extreme and do what I used to do, and take off 2 months with no other exercise. A couple weeks of cross training, and you should be eager to get back out there!

Dart said...

Ben: Awesome! Hope you swim better than me?!

Ryan: I didn't log the 1/2 mile or so running back & forth on the turf, so it doesn't count, right?

My muscles feel pretty decent right now - it's my joints & bones that are achy. I'll run tonight just to keep the cobb webs off, and cross train with archery hunting. Monday I'll get back into the Fed Hill routine, and gradually build back with additional planned weekly runs. But planning to take at least 3days off per week for the next couple. I suppose I will just keep time @ relay night also, for that's just a bad idea to participate. Probably do the warm up/warm down.

Steve: Doubles work regardless of mileage. I was told they are not necessary until nearly 70-miles per week. For me, what worked, is doing them about 2 times a week once I hit 40-miles a week, adding only a total of 4-6 miles each week, but that got my body more occustomed to the increased frequency & time between runs, and helps keep the body stretched & loose. Toward 70+ mile weeks they ended up adding 10+ a week. I used them primarily for an easy effort to break up 2 effort runs.

With all of this, the key I'm hearing is basically about a month of easy & maintenance running. I'll be playing this day by day as my body recovers, and will likely ramp up gradually but steadily. Probably start workouts around Thanksgiving.

That woman sweeping the street was a show. Like many other things in life I couldn't keep it to myself.