Friday, November 20, 2009

Winter Break

Cross Country is now over and track season doesn't start up for another two to four months, depending on whether you run indoors or not. Many of you take this time to rest, kick back and forget about running for a while. What you might not realize is that this is the most important time of your track season.

This is the time when you build up the strength to handle a long, intense track season.The nice part about winter base building is that you already have a foundation from cross country. Therefore, you don't have to spend as much time building up your miles at a slower pace, like in the summer. You can spend more time maintaining what you already have established while at the same time resting your body from the cross country season. This is done by A) slowing down a bit a few days a week and running easy miles (resting your body), B) throwing in one to two threshold workouts a week (maintaining what you built up in cross), and C) continuing or adding a long run each week (building strength and endurance).

A winter week might look something like this:

Sunday - 12 mile easy run.
Monday - 6 mile easy run.
Tuesday - 8 Threshold run (3 miles easy, 3 miles at 75% effort, 2 miles easy)
Wednesday - 6 miles easy run.
Thursday - 8 mile progressive run (start at easy pace and work down to moderate pace).
For example, 8:00 pace down to 6:00 pace.
Friday - 6 miles easy.
Saturday - 6 mile Fartlek run (2 miles easy, 10 x 1minute hard x 1minute easy, remainder easy)

For pacing purposes a good rule to follow is to take your current 5k time (probably your best 5k time in cross country if you finished at your best) and add 1:30 to 2:00 to get your pace range.

For example, if your best 5k during cross country was 16:00, that equates to around a 5:10 pace. Your range would then be 7:10 for easy days down to 6:40 for moderate days. It's important to stay close to this range to keep your body from overworking and defeating the purpose of base training. You can always go slower, but leave the faster running for your threshold workouts and progression runs.

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