A Devoted New Year Day 2


Today we bring you our second installment of a DEVOTED New Year Training Tips! These posts are brought to you by Meridith creator of Devoted Training; a 52 week faith-based training journal, and myself. We hope you enjoy!

Now that you have set your goals for the new year, it’s time to get started on drafting out a training plan. You may have hired a coach, or you may follow a plan that you found in a book. That is great! However you plan out your week, it’s always beneficial to understand why your plan is structured the way that it is so that you can adapt it to your weekly demands.

In Run Faster from the 5k to the Marathon, Coach Brad Hudson says, “Every elite running coach has a training philosophy. Mine is called adaptive running. It is based on my belief that a responsive, evolving, creative approach to training is better than an approach that is too structured or formulaic. Simply put, there is no single training formula that works perfectly for every runner. Nor is it possible to predict exactly how a runner will respond to any particular training formula. What’s more, even when a certain formula works well for a runner, he or she changes as a result of using it, so the formula must also change to produce further improvement.” With this in mind, don’t get too overwhelmed by the details. Enjoy the process of training and know that every element will help you grow in one way or another.

When considering your training plan, it is important to be aware of the race conditions like terrain, elevation, and other factors that can influence training. If your race is really hilly, you are going to want to train on hills so that your legs don’t mutiny on race day.

Next consider how many days are beneficial for you to run or cross train. Some people take one or two days off a week, and others take one day off every two weeks or more. Rest and recovery are essential for your body to adapt to the stimulus being applied, so listen to your body don’t be afraid to err on the side of “less is more.”

When planning out your weekly structure, it is recommended to apply speed work 1-3 times per week, depending on your fitness level. High intensity training is essential for increased performance, but remember that a little goes a long way. Also, if you plan to include strength work, it is best to do strength on workout days so that recovery days are truly recovery days. Many elites follow a “polarized training” distribution of intensity runs to easy runs. This means that they run about 80% of their volume easy and the other 20% at a higher intensity.  This can further be broken down to 80% low intensity, 10% high intensity (“polarized”), and 10% threshold intensity.


An example of a training week could look like this:

Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: Easy run with strides
Wednesday: Workout and strength work
Thursday: Easy run
Friday: Easy run
Saturday: Long run (with or without workout)
Sunday: Easy run with strides and strength work


As you start your training cycle, there are generally three categories to consider: Base phase, Precompetition phase, and Competition phase.

Base Phase

In the base phase, you will primarily be focusing on aerobic work to increase your volume safely. The rule of thumb is to increase volume by 10% or less each week, but this number is subjective, so watch your body signals for what works best. Some faster running is included in this phase to help prepare the body for more intense workouts later in training.


Precompetition phase

Includes more short fast intervals to get your biomechanics and physiology sharpened for race pace.


Competition phase

Includes more race specific work, as well as the taper. The culmination of general endurance and general speed that were achieved in the previous phases create what is called specific endurance and specific speed in the competition phase.


The length of these three phases can be dependent on your calendar, as well as your experience and progress. Regardless of which phase of training you are in, it is recommended to have a “down” week every 3-4 weeks, where volume is reduced to ensure that your body is able to absorb the training and adapt. Even with scheduled recovery days and scheduled “down” weeks, your body will feel the effects of training. This is by design—one way to amplify the training stimulus is to train in a pre-fatigued state.


Below are a few terms and definitions to consider when planning out the 10-20% of intensity in your plan:


Think in terms of relaxed sprinting. Improves running biomechanics. Start with uphill as a strength emphasis before running flat. Helps reduce chance of injury.


Short bursts of speed within an easy run. Teaches muscle fiber recruitment under mild fatigue.


Often at the end of a run where the runner gradually increases speed. Enhances the stimulus of a distance run and serves to pre-fatigue the body.

Long run

Prepares the body structurally. Can be used as a specific workout. Helps improve the fuel system and increases mitochondria.

Tempo/Threshold running

Longer sustained efforts as short as 10 minutes or as long as 70 minutes. Running time can be broken up. Intensity should be comfortably hard but under control.

Interval/Repeat workouts

Running segments of different lengths with rest in between for recovery. Teaches the body to use lactate for fuel.


Check back over the next two weeks for more details on intervals, strength training, cross training, and easy running as you plan out the specifics of your training plan. For now, you should be able to pencil in a general training plan to get you to your next race in top shape to reach your goals.


Whats a race you have coming up in 2019?

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