Between my standard post-marathon daze and caring for a new baby that doesn’t adequately understand training needs, the month of October and early November floated
by uninspired. I got my mileage in, worked in mini long-runs and a few intervals, but for the most part, I could feel my leg speed slowly trickling away.
And that’s absolutely OK. All athletes need to recharge. While I tend to keep my mileage relatively steady throughout the year, I will eliminate hard workouts for a few weeks following big fall and winter races. More than anything, it’s a necessary mental break.
But once a race is on the calendar, it’s tune-up time, and I think I’ve found the perfect workout schedule.
As of yesterday, my dad and I are officially signed up for the 5 mile Festival Foods Turkey Trot in Fond du Lac. We ran the Green Bay race for several years, and the crowds, free pie, and potential for a frozen turkey (given to the top 5) make it a fun race.
I have no illusions that I’ll burn up the course, but I’d like to finish not feeling like hell. Luckily, as I considered how fast last year’s time’s were – 24:14 won it – and how desperately I wanted that frozen turkey, I came across an article from Ed Eyestone in Runner’s World titled something to the effect of “The Only Workouts You’ll Ever Need”. For someone looking to gain additional speed without major headaches, it looked like a perfect fit.
The premise is simple and not that much different from my normal routine. On Monday, you run a workout with three miles at a certain pace. Wednesday you run a little faster, but do two miles. And Friday, you do one mile of the hard stuff. Top off with a long run on Saturday and repeat. If anything, this presents a decrease from my normal workout volume, which makes it perfect for the off-season when doing ANYTHING can be a struggle.
Monday: Your “3” Day:
Consider this your threshold training day, designed to help your body sustain discomfort over a longer period of time. After a warm-up, run 6×800 near your 10k pace. Take a 400 meter slow jog between each rep. You can mix up the distance to get in the three miles: 3×1600, 4×1200, 5×1000. These reps should feel controlled, but not easy. Follow it up with a cool down.
Wednesday: Your “2” Day:
Here we decrease the volume, but bump up the speed. Run 8 x 400 meters at around 5k effort or slightly quicker, followed by a 200 meter jog. You should be able to do a few more reps at the end, although I doubt you’ll want to. Warm-up and cool-down as you normally would.
Friday: Your “1” Day:
Finishing speed finally gets a shout out on Fridays. Since most distance runners (myself included), neglect truly dropping the hammer, this workout helps with your late race kick without digging in too deep. Run 8 x 200 meters next to all out, followed by a VERY slow 200 meter shuffle. Cool it down, pack it in, and get ready for an hour and a half or more of easy Saturday running.
Compared to complicated marathon training, grinding half marathon tempos or hill repeats, you can’t beat this for simplicity. You don’t always want or need to reach deep into the well on weekly workouts. I can only hope it helps put a frozen turkey in my freezer.