How little quality training can you get away with?

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Jackpot
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How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by Jackpot » Sun May 16, 2010 8:00 am

Hey everyone!

Lately I have been thinking about this question. This winter a friend of mine just did one quality workout per week (some kind of interval) and the rest of the weeks training was just easy running. A few weeks ago he surprised himself, and the rest of us, with running a superb 10k race 33:54, about 90 seconds better than he did last year. He´s not doing more mileage than before, the only change is going from more to less quality training, he says. He´s in his late 30s by the way.
Another guy i read about did something similar and ran 2.18.32 for the marathon. He was just running hard every 6th day, and the rest of it was easy (between 4.20 and 4.50 per km.) The quality running was on the other side very often some kind of a submaximal race, he write in the article. The article is written in danish:

http://www.viborgatletikmotion.dk/nyhed ... ndlaeg.htm

Speaking for myself, running less quality is hard to do in a psychological way. Thinking that if a touch of quality is good, then moore is even better. Maybe a lot of us would do better just by running moore of the mileage easy? I rembeber Tinman once said that one of his favorite repeated cycle of training was 1 hard day followed by four easy days. I will try following such an approch and see that happens.
Any others who have examples of people training less quality with improved results?

Jackpot

TexNav
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Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by TexNav » Sun May 16, 2010 11:39 am

Interesting as I think Tom has mentioned a 5 day cycle that he has done before. A quality session once every 5 days.

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Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by BoilerTom90 » Sun May 16, 2010 1:49 pm

I'd think that would be a great way to add mileage and keep a small amount of quality in your training. I'm really interested in what guys like Tinman and others have to say about this.

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Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by BoilerTom90 » Sun May 16, 2010 2:04 pm

[quote="BoilerTom90"]
I'd think that would be a great way to add mileage and keep a small amount of quality in your training. I'm really interested in what guys like Tinman, AP, AT, and others have to say about this.
[/quote]

ATimmins
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Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by ATimmins » Sun May 16, 2010 6:19 pm

A program i always found interesting was the Smart Coach on runnersworld.com.  No matter what shape you are in, it does 1 workout a week and 1 long run.  Every 4th week is an easy week, so there is no workout.  The workouts alternate between intervals and tempo runs, and the workouts vary depending on your goal race distance.

Example workout rotations for every wed.

5k - v02 , threshold, v02, easy, vo2, theshold, vo2, easy. (vo2 reps heavy)
10k/Half - vo2, threshold, vo2, easy ,  threshold, vo2 , threshold, easy (even distribution)
Full - threshold, vo2, threshold, easy, threshold, vo2, threshold, easy(threshold heavy)
Forced into running and loving every minute
1.5 Mile:
First = 13:38
Current = 7:10
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Tinman
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Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by Tinman » Sun May 16, 2010 8:35 pm

I have considered writing an article on the 5-day rotation cycle I've used in the past, but at the moment I am doing a lot of things. There's no doubt in my mind it's effective, and it allows runners to elevate mileage, yet keep some quality in their program.
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Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by ap4305 » Mon May 17, 2010 12:56 am

Another way of looking at the 'one day hard-four days easy' pattern is that of a ten day cycle, which is something Tinman and many other coaches advocate as opposed to the standard seven day week.  I believe the Hanson's use a nine day cycle, Daniels feels eleven days is the best, and at one time (and maybe currently) Paula Radcliffe used an eight day cycle.  Most of us need to plan our running lives around the demands of the Monday to Friday 'real world', so we select seven days by default.  The outcome is that we often try to cram too much into those seven days. 

A lot also depends on how we do our hard workouts.  A lot of people abuse their speed sessions by running too fast, for too long, and with not enough rest.  Such workouts often create deep hormonal stress that can carry over to subsequent workouts.  In contrast, doing less speed volume with longer rest limits the stress to the neuromuscular and mechanical elements and typically has less carryover effect to the following days.  If you feel compelled to eliminate speed sessions, as an alternative, I would also consider how you could modify the speed days to get the benefits of a quality workout without creating residual fatigue.  As always, the right mix will be different for everyone at different times of the year.

You also have to look at your running history so you don't swing the pendulum too far in one direction.  A lot of times, ANY change will have immediate positive effects because the body might be ready for a change in stimulus.  In the case of cutting out intensity, many runners get immediate results out of a lower intensity program because they were previously in a chronically overtrained state.  Does that mean they should always take a speed-minimalist approach to training for the rest of their career?  Maybe or maybe not....Less speed builds in a margin of safety, but it doesn't mean it is your optimal training mix.  However, I think we could all agree that being slightly undertrained in the speed department but fully healthy and fresh is better than being slightly overtrained, since overtraining is frequently a result of trying to push right up to our physical limits. 
Allan Phillips
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Tinman athlete since 2003
www.ventanapt.physio
IG: @thekettlebelldoc

el_mariachi

Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by el_mariachi » Mon May 17, 2010 1:41 am

Also it´s the point if you see workouts like a TT-run as a real hard workout or "just " a moderate effort. What I mean is that when you´re running in a 1 day hard/ 4 days or more easy-cycle, chances are bigger that some of those easy runs turn out to be a moderate effort, just because you feel fresh and ready to push the pace a bit. Then it isn´t a long way from an easy/moderate-pace to TT-pace, no?

I would need more variety just not to get bored and I would fall more often into this moderate-effort section.

Martin
Last edited by el_mariachi on Mon May 17, 2010 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

ATimmins
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Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by ATimmins » Mon May 17, 2010 8:56 am

2 comments.

1 - Consistent running is the most important thing, and these schedules prove that.  Now one program may bring out adaptations quicker than others, but if you are progressing, you are winning the war, trust me. 

2 - I use a modified Hanson schedule.  Wed - Hard, Thur - Easy, Fri - Easy, Sat-Hard, Sun - Easy/long, Mon - Easy, Tues - Easy.

I get 2 easy days between every workout, and then i do my workout saturday followed by an EASY long run sunday.  If you run easy on your long run, it can be used for a recovery day.  Esp for me, becuase i double everyday but sunday, so when im done sunday morning its the only 24 hours i get all week with no running.
Forced into running and loving every minute
1.5 Mile:
First = 13:38
Current = 7:10
Powered by Powerbar - www.powerbar.com
Dressed for Success in Brooks - www.brooksrunning.com
Running log - http://www.logarun.com/calendars/atimmins/
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kpt4321

Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by kpt4321 » Mon May 17, 2010 11:02 am

I use a similar schedule to Timmins, but with a 1-day shift:

Sun-Easy/Long
Mon-Easy
Tues-Hard (intervals)
Wed-Easy
Thurs-Easy/Medium
Fri-Hard (tempo)
Sat-Easy

This is typical, but of course it varies with the constraints of life, how I feel, racing, etc.

Like him, my schedule gives me 2 days between hard days (Tues-Fri), but it also gives me a recovery day between Fri and Sun (long).  I, personally, am not able to get satisfactory quality on Sunday without a recovery day between workout and long run.

When I double, I typical first add easy runs to the hard days, so Tuesday and Friday morning, and then Thursday (an easy/medium day), so that the easy days are still easy.  After that, I will add doubles to the easy days.

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Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by Tinman » Mon May 17, 2010 12:22 pm

ATimmins -

The schedule you are using, which the Hanson's adopted from Bill Bowerman, was used my runners who Bill determined recovered slower than the norm. Some of Bill's sub-4 milers from the early 1960's used that schedule, and later Kenny Moore made it famous.

Gabriela Rosa adopted that rotation too, and most of his marathon runners use that schedule. Tergat and Tanui both used two easy distance days between challenging workouts, under Rosa's guidance.

The important principle is this: run easy distance work until you body is ready to handle a hard workout again. I tend to insert 100m striders or 30 seconds striders on the day before key workouts, if I believe it will prime their neural capacity to fire/coordinate, and pattern smoothly neuro-motor control of a runner's stride.
Tinman
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ATimmins
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Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by ATimmins » Mon May 17, 2010 7:19 pm

interesting stuff tinman.  funny i do strides tuesday and friday.  Weird.

I like the rotation for a few reasons.

1. More Rest
2. Gets the body use to working out saturday morning (most races are sat/sun morning)
3. My tempo workouts (saturday) can be longer than 10 miles total, and its nice to have a day off from work to fit these in.

I think if i had the time (no job) i would do easy easy intervals easy easy temp easy easy long run with pick ups, but  there is no way i could fit in a long run on a weekday.
Forced into running and loving every minute
1.5 Mile:
First = 13:38
Current = 7:10
Powered by Powerbar - www.powerbar.com
Dressed for Success in Brooks - www.brooksrunning.com
Running log - http://www.logarun.com/calendars/atimmins/
Running Blog - http://www.powerbar.com/blog/atimmins.aspx

Nor-runner

Re: How little quality training can you get away with?

Post by Nor-runner » Tue May 18, 2010 10:24 am

Maybe not directly relevant since I am not a high or medium level runner, but for me 1 quality workout on CV pace as made a huge improvement off very low mileage.
Due to previous injuries for years and workload I have in the last 4 months been running  One CV workout 4-5x1000m at 10K race +5sec (using conservative estimates) + 4-6 100m strides, One 1 hour easy run, then one or two 8K easy runs. Easy runs are normally around 5:15-5:30/km. I have in this period improved from 41 to 38:09min in 10K. The only difference from previous training (apart from less km) is that I have been able to do a 1 CV workout every week. Note I am 40 and PR of 38:09, so not a young and talented runner. Just responded very well to the CV pace workout. 

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