I had one of the best training cycles that I’ve had as a post-collegiate. Starting out my training in June, I had a few specific goals that I wanted to accomplish. My biggest nemesis is injury – and so one of my main goals – as it always is – is to stay healthy. A second goal I had was do what felt right for me, not what was conventional. Finally, my last goal was to be consistent enough to win 4 races.
Goal 1 – Stay Healthy
This is, by far, my hardest goal to hit. It’s without fail that at some point in my training, something creeps up and I miss time because of it. This season, I kept the injuries at bay and I think I know how I did it.
- Took 1 day off a week
- Monitored my sleep
- Ate a balanced and relatively healthy diet
- Did my ankle exercises and strength maintenance workouts
This was the first time in (possibly forever) that I did not have to take consecutive days off due to something bothering me. Usually, it’s something in my lower legs, but could be hips, IT band, knee, shins, etc. That was huge for me accomplishing my other goals.
Goal 2 – Do What Felt Right
Coaching yourself can often times be tough, but I felt if I was going to enjoy my own running I’d have to do something a bit different than what I would prescribe for my own athletes. Here’s the recipe I used that worked for me. *Just because it works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for you.
- 1 speed (threshold, tempo, interval or repetition workout) per week
- Take the day completely off after a hard day
- 1 long run starting easy and getting faster throughout. Do this run over hills, if possible.
- Run my easy runs really easy and without pace in mind.
Some of you are thinking, “hey, this is what I do!” – and you’d probably be spot on. Typically, my mileage would be higher (50s instead of 30s), I’d run 2 workouts in a week, and I would take a day off every 2-3 weeks. But since I’m older and wiser, I’ve decided on what works for me and I’m sticking to it.
Goal 3 – Win 4 Races
I’d only do this – in the way I wanted to – if I nailed goal 1 and goal 2. If I took some down time and didn’t have a plan that worked, I might still have won a few races, but I wouldn’t have recovered and felt as good after a race, had I not executed Goal 1 & Goal 2. Proud to say that I did in fact win 4 races!
Haddonfield 5k – 1st place; 18:09
Run the Vineyard 5k – 1st place; 17:18
Katz JCC 5k – 1st place; 16:47
Bone Run 5k – 8th place; 16:20
Maple Shade 5k – 1st place; 18:22
Just so we’re clear, just because I found a routine and pattern that works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for you. You need to experiment and find what works for you. It’s a really good feeling doing when you find it, so I suggest you spend some time reflecting on your own running to find what you like.
If you’re in the market to take a page out of my book, contact me and let’s chat! More stories about racing and training for 5k’s: Making 5k’s feel easier, 4 ways to keep your running pace honest & Hiring a Coach for your Running