Lately I have been getting in some really great training runs. It seems that over the past month or so, every run I do, turns out to be awesome! In the past, I would be happy if I could get in 1 or 2 really quality runs..with majority of the runs just being something that I slogged through and completed.
So, what has changed? Several things in fact! I have adopted a new training plan, that focuses only on QUALITY and not QUANTITY. I no longer have a set amount of mileage to run each week. Instead, I design my workouts around different levels of intensity and I let the distance fall where it may. For intance, I might do a 30 minute run, first 10 minutes as a warmup, then the next 20 minutes as hard as I can go. So, based on level of effort for that particular day, I might get anyhere from 4-5+ miles depending on how I feel.
Now, I focus on 4 key runs per week. I do a speed session, two tempos (one shorter and with hills, one longer and slower) and a hard long run. I don’t necessarily worry about what particular day I do these workouts on, I just go by how my body feels and how it responds to the workload. I have completely cut out “junk”, “recovery” and “easy” running miles. I have since replaced those runs with workouts in the pool. In between hard running days, I have incorporated various intensity swims and aqua jogging sessions. Keep in mind though that these pool sessions are not just frolicking in the water….most of these pool sessions are rather intense.
Aside from the running, itself, I have also incorporated some x-fit/x-training. Other than the pool, I also do two core/strength workouts per week and lots of dynamic stretching routines.
In addition to the x-fit/x-training and swimming, I have also changed my nutrition plan. I have eliminated coffee from my diet (several reasons for this) and I have really increased my protein intake. The drastic increase in protein has significantly improved my recovery time and soreness between hard workouts. I also make a “recovery cocktail” prior to bed each night and it has been a life saver in terms of recovery. Yesterday for example, I ran one of my toughest speed sessions in over 10 years and have no soreness what-so-ever (and I mean that 100%).
Another added benefit of the aqua jogging is that I am much more flexible now and my form and my stride have opened up and I have become much more efficient again (just like back in the day). I am also seeing less and less “niggles” or “kinks”. Before, I would often wake up just wondering “what’s going to be out of whack today?”. But now, the majority of those nagging kinks have vanished and I actually look forward to every workout now..there is no longer that feeling of just HAVING to do it and get it over with. These days, every workout is for a specific reason and every one has a purpose..No more just slogging through so I can hit my 30, 40, 50..blah, blah, blah miles per week.
I am in the middle of Week # 5 on the new plan and so far so good. I have yet to find a hole in this new training plan and it is also working rather well for a few other training partners who have adopted it as their own plan.
Sometimes, you have to be willling to step outside the box in order to progress and produce results. Just because “everyone else is doing it”, doesn’t mean it is right or that it will work for you. Conventional wisdom isn’t always the best plan. All great innovators and pioneers get laughed at early on….that is until they change the world!!!