Table of Contents
- Letter From the Board by Geoff Dunbar
- Welcome New Members
- BarnArts Race Around the Lake 10K by Gillian Sowden
- The BarnArts Race Around the Lake 10K (plus) by Pam Moore
- Mile Mentality by Damian Bolduc
- Inaugural Main Street Mile race report by Mary Peters
- Main Street Mile by Laurie Reed
- Main Street Mile Race Report by Michael Musty
- Gate City Half Marathon by Ellen Chandler
- Survey Says, “4 out of 5 STARS” by Jim Burnett
- Ask the Coaches by Carly Wynn and Laura Hagley
- The Importance of a (Flexible) Training Plan by Carly Wynn
- Things I See When I Am Running by Lori Bliss Hill
- About This Newsletter
by Geoff Dunbar
Starting now, I’ll be taking over as editor of the newsletter. The first thing I’d like to do is to thank the previous editor, Susannah Colby, for her hard work in putting together the newsletter. Susannah took over the newsletter 2 years ago (first issue July 2015 http://uppervalleyrunningclub.org/uvrc-july-2015-newsletter/), stepping up at a time when we weren’t sure we were going to continue a newsletter. She’s done a great job and deserves a ton of credit. Luckily, she isn’t going anywhere, so I’m sure we’ll all still see plenty of her around.
My plans for the newsletter are to have a couple of regular features, but mostly to rely on submissions from you, the common UVRC members. More on that in a minute. The regular features will include a letter from the board, a welcome to new members, an “Ask the Coaches” feature, and, I believe, a return of the much loved “Things I See When I Am Running”.
Okay, so let me talk about articles from the UVRC at large, but permit me to do it in a roundabout way. As a club, we sometimes get the feedback, “You guys are too fast!”, or even, “All you care about is road racing!” Speaking personally, I have to admit to being a little bit guilty. I like to train hard, I like to race, I like to compete. One of my favorite running moments of the year was at the end of the Chief Maloney 10K, I passed a Gate City Striders runner. Looking in the results, he was in my age group, so not only did I gain a point for UVRC, but I took one away from GCS. Let’s face it, I do care a lot about road racing.
Even for myself, though, I’m not all about racing. Running is just a hobby for me, and I enjoy all aspects of it. Coming on a beautiful view on a trail run, eating ice cream after a long run, even just hanging out at a UVRC pub night, these are great too. The club is the “Upper Valley Running Club”, not the “Upper Valley Road Racing Team”, and we deliberately founded the club to support all forms of running in the Upper Valley.
So, what does this have to do with newsletter articles? Well, I’m pretty good at getting race reports for road races. I’m at many of the races, I’m friends with the people that run them, and I’m not shy about asking. But if you are one of the club members who believe that the club is about something in addition to road racing, here is your chance! Submit an article about a trail race. Or a run that isn’t a race at all. Or even about a club social event that doesn’t involve any running at all. Whatever is important to you, there are people in the club that care about it too. I might not be as persistent about fishing for non-race reports, so you might need to be a little more persistent about writing them.
I hope you enjoy reading this June newsletter as much as I enjoyed putting it together, and I look forward to many more in the future. Feel free to send me any suggestions, questions or feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org). See you in one month!
- Dillon Huber-Parker
- Gina Gracie
- Anthony DiScipio
- John Fegyveresi
by Gillian Sowden
I decided that 10k was too easy, and decided to add an extra 2.5 miles to the course. Aka, I got lost in the woods! In hindsight, that part where we were bushwhacking in the woods and then ended up back at the start seems like we may have wandered a tad off course. At least it was a nice day for an adventure, even if it did hurt my 10k pace a little 😉
by Pam Moore
I wasn’t super excited to run the Barnard Art 10K race. I had run pretty hard the previous day at the Main Street Mile. My legs were feeling very heavy plus the weather didn’t look that great. It was chilly by the lake where we were registering and there was a gloomy overcast.
My attitude changed by the time we were gathering to start. The sun was peeking out and the lake looked just so beautiful. On top of that, because this race was part of the Upper Valley Race Series, there were lots of familiar and friendly faces from the running club.
The starter said, “Ready, set, go,” and we were off. We followed the road out of the park and continued on roads for over a mile. I felt great. I was running at a good pace for me. I could still see my husband, Tom, not too too far ahead of me.
But then, we turned onto a single track trail and that’s when things got interesting.
The trail was fairly congested and so I just concentrated on following the person in front of me and not falling on my face! We were just clomping along in good fashion until I realized, “Oh my gosh…we’re bush whacking. There’s no trail here!” At that point I was with what seemed like a crowd of roughly twenty runners crashing through the brush. Ahead of me I saw people heading to what looked like the trail. We followed and sure enough it was a trail! We ran along, passing a volunteer who guided us at a fork in the course. We continued along until we realized that we were almost to the finish line and we had only run about 2 miles!
At this point the crowd I had been bush whacking with had now dwindled down to 6 runners, which included Dave Sullivan and Rob Daniels. I was nervous about being lost but was so grateful to have members of my UVRC family with me. We put our heads together to try to figure out the way to get back onto the course. We figured it meant going up this ridiculously steep hill. We went up a ways but then doubt crept in. We retreated back down the hill. We talked more and realized no, we have to go up that darn hill. We headed back up that monster. We began to second guess our decision yet again. At that point the other woman in our group had had enough. She was going to strike out on her own. She ran down the hill, pony tail swinging, and around a corner out of sight. Wow, I thought to myself…this is getting to look like a Friday the 13th movie… will we ever see her again? The, now, five of us continued up the hill passing a trail on our right. Dave decided to explore down that trail on his own. We said our farewells and wished him luck as he left, but in my head, my imagination was getting the best of me… Oh no, I thought, that’s the end of him too!
We climbed and climbed up that hill, until finally we looked up and there was a course marker! We were elated! And then, Dave Sullivan reappeared! He survived! Maybe I wasn’t in a horror movie after all!
We continued on and then things really became quite normal. We ran by a water station and around a corner and then we began to run by other runners out on the course. Dave, Rob, and another member of our group began to race again as they saw we were truly back on the course. I had no race left in me so decided to chat with the remaining member of our lost posse as we covered the last few miles of the course. I told him I was a member of the Upper Valley Running Club and he gestured towards Rob and Dave and said, “that’s your crew?” I laughed and said, “yeah, I guess it is.”
Here is the actual course map:
compared with what our group ran:
I finished the race, running about 7 ½ miles. (I heard from Gillian Sowden that she had run more than 8 miles!) I soaked in the beautiful post-race atmosphere . The weather was amazing, sunny but not hot and the lake looked so pretty. Runners and their families were sitting on the grass watching a few brave people jump into the chilly water. The food was delicious. The race director had mentioned “gourmet food” and did not disappoint. The food wouldn’t have tasted so good without the wonderful company. It was great to mingle with running friends and share race experiences. There was a lot of good natured kidding going on. Runners who had been lost on the course were attempting to shame other runners for ONLY running a 10K.
I saw two familiar faces, Lori and Heidi, from TNT, who asked me to take their picture. They showed me their t-shirts:
And told me about the signs they made:
They explained to me how they had kept running after they had completed the Couch to 5K program last Fall. They continued to meet through the cold winter months and had decided as a group to train for their first 10K. The Barnard Race was it! They made some fantastic signs to keep all the runners pumped up along the way. They told me they had their sights on a half marathon in the near future. (Maybe the CHAD?) It was so great to talk to these women about their running journey. It was truly inspirational.
The Barn Arts “10k-ish” race around the lake was a really fun experience. I hope they keep it in the Series next year.
by Damian Bolduc
I can remember thinking that the first time I ran the mile it was not so bad. Then my mother reminded me that I had to walk up part of Brainerd Street. I was probably 5 or 6, wanting to move out of the kids races and run the “grown-up” races with my parents and older siblings. Still, it was doable, and the next time I would not need to walk. Plus, I figured, if I did the loop backwards… there would be no hill.
I can also remember hopping into the mile on the track. We had a weekly track meet the family would go to and I worked my way up to the mile. Four laps was a long way in the exposed summer heat, but again it felt good, like I had accomplished something. To me the mile has always felt good. There is something about running right on the brink and then going completely anaerobic to exhaustion that made this my event.
As I grew, I started going for better times. I can remember breaking 6 minutes in the 6 the grade. Then 5:30 in jr. high. When I was in high school some UVM Athletes came to race the St. Albans Main Street Mile. I went well under 5 that day and won. The best part was not beating the Collegiate Men, but all the stoners in the picturesque downtown park freaking out when they saw the police shut down the streets and this kid came flying/fleeing on foot right in front of them. I still hear their cheers, “OH MY GOD! WHAT DID YOU DO?…MAN!” For once, it was nice not to get picked on by them.
In high school we ran the 1500. It’s a different race that leaves me feeling a little short changed, but when we went to New England’s it was the Mile. My New England Mile memory was making it into the top wave and trying to hang on. I remember going back into the stands and talking to my coach. I wanted to drop out of the 400. That got the attention of the family next to us. “You just did the Mile, hurled for 10 minutes and now your lining up for the 4?” They thought that was crazy. I lined up for the 400, again in the elite wave. I was to walk out of the blocks and save myself for the 1600m Relay. That was when the high from the mile kicked in, I felt really good and started the race. The only country kid, the only skinny 120 pounder, the only one using the mandatory blocks for a standing start. I shot out and had the lead, I felt great, held the lead, the man next to my coach went crazy. He jumping up and down waving and cheering in disbelief that a miler was in the lead with 100 to go! Too bad it was not a 300. I hit the wall bad lost any ground I had to all and finished last in the heat. I came back and the guy was so excited. “I thought you were going to do it! That was incredible! What on Earth were you (expletive) thinking?”
In college, I was a 400 and 800 guy. But if the meet was going to be close, or against UNH the coach would throw me in the mile to pick up a point. I also ran the mile in the DMR for some reason. My PR in the mile was during such a race. I was a freshman walk on and UVM had a 100m lead going into the final handoff. I knew I was racing a tough opponent. All American Dereck Treadwell. I ran my heart out, but heard those footsteps coming. I picked it up to hold him off and to the outside, but it was no use. He smoked me and I had no kick left. My coach was upset I had squandered such a big lead. Later the team statistician came up and told me I had run the fastest mile UVM had seen in 25 years and the coach put me on that leg because he knew it was how we would lose the least amount of time over the course of the race.
Outside of track there are not many mile options. I pick one up here and there when I can, the last being the Montpelier Mile. This is an interesting one because they have a dash for cash built into the race. It is also well attended as it is right before the 4th of July parade and the streets are lined with people. So, you can go for the cash, or the mile. The combo draws some intense characters. I was trained up for a 5k, hitting a good mark and thought I would give the mile a go. Things turned out well with a 4:54.
I was happy to hear there would be a Main Street Mile in Hanover, but it was the date that won me over. The day before a milestone birthday. My last hoorah before the dreaded 40! My daughters track season also has a very light schedule and this would fit right in. As far as miles go, I thought this one would be tough. It has a dip off the start, gains elevation and has 3 sharp turns. I prepped for a whole week and a half with my last workout being the UVRC’s TNT 300’s. Wednesday morning I sneezed my low back out of joint and had PT where we spent 2 hours figuring out how best to bring it back in. Thursday’s run in the 90-degree heat did the trick and left my back feeling much better. Friday an easy run, a Saturday morning shake out and my PT exercises before the long drive from South Burlington to the race.
I arrived in good condition and went about warming up. Peter Mitchell (father of Binney) had asked me how to warm-up for the mile at race the weekend before, as he is preparing to run it in the Senior Games. I had to think about it and did not have much of an answer, but Saturday morning it all came back to me, I fell right in doing a longer jog, drills, and some short sprint bursts.
It was time. I knew the course. The quarters were marked. If I choked, my little girl would beat me. The wind was favorable. A local celebrity would give the command.
It was on.
I quickly got into the position I wanted. Free of the main field, yet comfortably behind the elite group. I cruised up to speed and hit the first quarter mark right on. I kept things in check as we ran out of the dip, and the false flat to the Dartmouth Green. Here I nudged up the pace and briefly moved into second place. I realized I was among good company when they responded. I knew the corners would be momentum killers and that it would be vital to re-accelerate after the turns. I did so, but a couple racers were a little quicker and I fell back to 4th.
With the final quarter to go it was time to bury the needle and begin the long acceleration to the finish. I moved back to second briefly, but my opponents were able to kick it up a notch higher than I could on the day. Lately, I have had trouble finding that devastating kick that served me so well in the past. Though I could feel it on Saturday, I simply could not tap into it down the final stretch. I will be more confident next time.
So how did it turn out? I was happy with the run. The course was not as hard as I thought it would be at speed. I felt great after. From my PR in ’96 to 40 years old I have slowed about 3 seconds/year. I look forward to my next mile and rectifying that rate by a second, maybe two!
by Mary Peters
The weather was perfect for the first Main Street Mile in Hanover on May 20th. Blue skies, mild temperatures and a slight tailwind showed up to christen the race and encourage the participants. We all leapt off the line at the starting horn (blared by local legend Ben True), and tried to remember how to run a one mile race. The answer: fast! The first quarter flew by along the east edge of Occom Pond, and we reached the halfway mark around Baker Tower. I had a fleeting thought of “Wow, this hurts!” followed by “But I’m already halfway done!” Three quarters of a mile brought us to a sharp turn at the Green, and two more sharp turns to the finish. The home stretch is straight through the middle of the Green, where families and friends watched and cheered.
This race was unlike most local road races because of its short length, but it emulates famed mile races like the 5th Avenue Mile in New York City. For my husband Travis and myself, this was our first race less than a 5K since early college years. It was exciting to have an opportunity to run a single mile flat out, right through town! Travis and I ran a marathon the weekend before, and the idea of just one mile was both daunting and exhilarating. It seems like our endurance training with regular doses of TNT helped prepare us for a one mile, since we were both pleasantly surprised by our times.
A one mile race brings a different kind of pain than a 5K and beyond, but it brings a different sense of accomplishment as well. Testing myself to go all out for just 1609 meters is a kind of challenge I hadn’t tasted for quite a while. I look forward to the 2nd annual Main Street Mile in 2018!
by Laurie Reed
Photo credit: Cheryl Bush
Yes it was as painful as it looked finishing the inaugural Main Street Mile on May 20. After a few track workouts under my belt with ” fast over 50″ speedsters Pam Moore & Liba Hladik I felt excited to see how fast I could run the mile. Also hearing the weather report I knew the conditions would be perfect ( 50ish & sunny with low humidity). After a long warm up & time chatting with other UVRC runners at the start Kim Sheffield, Nancy & Geoff Dunbar, Pam & Tom Moore & Tim Smith among others) I decided I would try to stay with my track workout buddy Pam Moore as long as I could with a goal of breaking 7 minutes (secretly hoping for 6:45). We had the honor of having our smallish race started by a local hero Ben True. Pam took off & I followed going through the first 1/4 mile in 93 seconds. Right before the 1/2 way mark I heard someone yelling for me but thought I was imagining it in my oxygen deprived state only to realize my friends Cheryl & Ted Bush had come to cheer me on.
I soon realized my mistake in trying to stay with speedy Pam as my arms & legs went numb & I felt like I was in an altered state. I went through the half in 3:20 so still had hope of breaking 7. With Cheryl & Ted yelling I kept focused on moving my arms & hoping my legs would cooperate. I saw the 3/4 mark but can’t recall my split. As I made the turns around the Green I used the energy from the crowd to pull me across the finish line. My watch said 6:58 but official time was 6:59.98! Couldn’t have cut it any closer. Next time I run the mile I will focus on pacing & remember that Pam has a few extra gears! In total 49 finished the race & a good time was had by all on a beautiful spring morning!
by Michael Musty
After a light winter of training I’ve been pretty leery about races this year. I was particularly uncertain about the Main Street Mile since I probably haven’t raced 5280 feet since high school.
I didn’t train specifically for this race. In fact, my running log tells me the last time I went to TNT was the end of January! This year I’m working on trying to really get my injuries/niggles under control. As a result, the occasional stride is my current form of speed work. As far as mileage goes, I’ve been in the 15 to 20 miles per week range since the beginning of April with several hours of “other aerobic activities” (all obviously less fun) each week. At the time of the Main Street Mile I had only logged around 250 miles for the year.
Despite the light training load, I decided I could at least run a sub 6 minute mile and maybe even 5:50 out of sheer stubbornness.
I showed up early for the 10am start time with Nicole Labrecque. We picked up our bibs and waited in Kemeny Hall until it was time to warm up. We noticed that we could see the halfway mark from my office window, but sadly did not take a picture for this race report. With a little over an hour until the gun, I made a small coffee and discussed pacing strategy with two other Kemeny Hall cohabitants that were also running the race. The conclusion was to go out fast and NOT stop at Kemeny Hall for water (no matter how tempting). After that it was time to warm up. With about 30 minutes until race time, I gave Nicole a quick peck on the cheek and headed for Pine Park. A couple strides in the woods was more than enough to tire me out (coffee wasn’t working I guess), so I decided to take it easy the rest of the way and just try to make it to the start line. I got to the start with a few minutes to spare and a few beads of sweat pouring down.
It was a pretty lightning quick start as expected. The fast people always seem to disappear almost instantly. In accordance with the aforementioned strategy, I also took off at a good clip. With the slight downhill at the beginning, I came through with a 1:24.7 split for the first quarter. Obviously there was no time multiply by 4, but I knew at that point I would get in under 6 minutes. Approaching Kemeny Hall (and the half mile mark), I was trailing some of the usual suspects around my pace. Maybe it was the slight uphill to Kemeny, but the usual suspects seemed further out of reach at this point than I expected. My suspicions were confirmed when I noticed my 1:33.9 split for the second quarter. Despite my best efforts to regroup, I ended up with a 1:32.4 split for the third quarter. All of a sudden 5:50 was impossible, and with the usual suspects off in the distance, even sub 6 appeared to be in jeopardy! At this point I was circling the green and trying to decide what I could muster up for the last quarter mile. Before I could make a decision I was across the finish line with a split of 1:31.6 for the last quarter. This all combined for a somewhat disappointing 6:02.6 finish time.
Shortly thereafter I saw Nicole cross the finish line and we decided on a brisk stroll back to Kemeny Hall as our warm down. With our sweet new Main Street Mile “Dad hats” we decided to jostle our way to the counter at Lou’s for some celebratory lunch and even made it out of Hanover before the Green Key Weekend festivities were in full swing.
That weekend was a pretty busy racing weekend for UVRC enthusiasts. In addition to the Main Street Mile, the day after there were two UVRC affiliated races. Nicole and I opted for the UVRS race in Barnard instead of the Gate City Half (sorry Jim!) and had a really nice time with that. As far as training goes, I’m back to working on staying healthy and building back up to some reasonable mileage. I’m looking forward to some UVRS and NHGP races for the rest of the racing season, but nothing too crazy in the works. To conclude, I just want to say thanks to the people involved with making the Main Street Mile possible this year, and I hope that it continues. It was nice have a change of pace in the racing schedule, even if that pace happened to be faster than usual.
by Ellen Chandler
The early hour was painful but great to be home before 12 noon.
Here’s how I responded to a friend’s inquiry yesterday:
Well run event. A good tour of Nashua from Victorian mansions to industrial HQs, lots of friendly neighborhoods and a few not-so-much. I used to live there so I enjoyed seeing lots of my old routes. Not a stellar race for me but a good distance accomplishment for me this early in the season.
by Jim Burnett
Gate City Half Marathon, Sunday May 21, 2017
NH Grand Prix Race #4
(Above: I See Three Wooly Syrup Chuggers, Do You?)
Six survey respondents of the twelve Wooly racers found the Gate City Half Marathon weather to be perfect, the course to be somewhat difficult, the $75 registration fee to be moderately fair, the swag to be a little above average, the course scenery to be very good, the ease of parking to be excellent, the aid stations to be spot on, the race timing and results to be near perfection, the volunteers and traffic control to be awesome and the overall race experience to be 4.17 stars out of 5.0.
Though thin-in- the-ranks by UVRC travel team standards, this “Special Ops” dozen toed the line with NHGP points in mind and they delivered. Of the 262 half marathon finishers, the Chuggers earned NHGP points and placed overall as follows.
Rob Edson 10 points, 6th overall
Geoff Dunbar 9 points, 19th overall
Joe Burnett 8 points, 5th overall
Thomas Gessner 6 points, 20th overall
Deb Keane 6 points, 126th overall
Megan Miller 6 points, 36th overall, 6th woman overall
Cindy Edson 5 points, 60th overall
Jim Burnett 5 points, 97th overall
Gunner Currier 4 points, 191st overall
Ellen Chandler 3 points, 107th overall
Tim Smith 3 points, 31st overall
Rick Currier 1 point, 190th overall
Got a question for the coaches? Send it to email@example.com and I’ll send it on!
“Now that the weather is getting warmer, how do you recommend we runners deal with hot and humid days? Particularly on hard workout or race days?”
Part one is pretty standard, general advice. No need to say it too much if we’re getting redundant: Avoiding the worst of the heat, humidity, and sun by running early or late in the day, or running in the shade of the woods can be a good call. However, there is evidence that training in the heat does train your body to be more efficient at it, so if you know you have a midday summer race coming up, training in the heat leading into could also benefit you. I’m a fan of dumping cold water right down my neck during races or hard workouts. Preventing the core-overheat is a lot easier than making it go away! And don’t forget that the heat is only part of the problem. The sun’s UV rays can get you too, so wear sunscreen, shades, and maybe a white vented training hat to protect your scalp. Hydration is key, not just during the workout, but throughout the whole day. Getting electrolytes and salt with your water is important when you’re moving a lot of water through your body (sweating a lot) so consider a sports drink, or electrolyte tablets for your water. If you opt for the sports drink, you can cut it 50/50 with water. Most are pretty high in sugar, unfortunately.
Part two, for something a little more off-the-beaten-path: I often find that I get little fluid bubbles on my skin after training in the heat. I recently learned that this is sweat trying to escape a clogged pore! So if you’re like me and think that jumping in the river is as good as a shower, it may be worth considering that proper scrubbing will keep your pores clearer and allow you to sweat more effectively!
Racing and Training in the Heat Take Two Different Approaches, Laura Hagley:
To prepare for the heat for an upcoming race: To be successful, there’s no choice but to accommodate to the heat. While training for Marathon Trials in LA, I anticipated heat; so, training in the -10 degree F Hanover weather was not going to be sufficient. This meant multiple runs in the gym with the heat on, especially in the 3 weeks prior to race day. My preference would’ve been to move to LA for 3 weeks prior to acclimate to the heat, but that wasn’t in my cards…:)
To deal with the heat during training: For regular easy runs (non-workouts), make sure you’re hydrated, watch out for heat stroke, the things we all know. But, for any type of intensity, heat can limit your performance and be a barrier to achieving a good training stress. For example, if I have a workout of 6x1mile repeats planned for 5:50/mile, but heat keeps me at 6:00/mile, then I haven’t achieved the desired training stress/goal for that particular workout. Therefore, it takes careful planning to make sure that heat does not affect your ability to hit your goal times for a workout session. If it’s a workout you want to nail, then 5:30am or 7pm in the summer may be the answer. I think of this as similar to “live high, train low” principles. While a runner can derive benefit from adapting to the high altitude environment, studies show that training needs to be done at a low altitude to achieve the desired training stress.
So who’s up for a 5:30am run? 🙂
Laura Hagley, DPT, CSCS, EP-C runs competitively for Millennium Running Club. She placed 25th at 2016 Olympic Trials, and competed in the Elite Women’s Wave of the 2016 Boston Marathon. Professionally, Laura is the Director of Ancillary Services and Physical Therapist at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, NH. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Carly Wynn, Personal Coach at EnduranceEfficacy.com
“If I’m not a serious athlete, do I need a training plan?” This question has been posed to me multiple times in various forms. The shortest possible answer is, yes, and in this article I want to break that down. First of all, “serious” is often a stand-in for “competitive,” and whether we consider ourselves to be competitive athletes or not, at some point in our running we’ve probably considered following a training plan. Often, runners who are training for a race want to follow a plan in the weeks or months leading up to the event. But in many cases, once the race is over we return to our training without much structure.
A “training plan” often conjures up images of rigidity and rules, in the best case providing daily structure and in the worst causing guilt when you miss a workout. Many athletes have mixed feelings about the training plan, because we like the idea of the guidance and accountability that comes with a training plan, but don’t want to lose the flexibility and fun of training.
The truth is that no matter what your goal is as a runner, having a plan is one of the most effective tools in helping you achieve that goal. Keep in mind that a goal does not have to refer to a specific race or time, nor to weekly mileage, or weight loss, or the myriad other measurable results we may see from running. Our running goal may be as simple as I run to stay fit and active as I age. An athlete with this goal would have a very different training plan from an athlete trying to run a PR in the mile. Training plans reflect the workouts that match the athletes goals, and perhaps most importantly, the training plan helps ensure the athlete’s training is consistent.
Even with the very best of intentions, it’s easy to stray from the workouts we planned to do. Simply having a written notation of what workout we plan to do helps us stay accountable. Skipping workouts is not the only problem; many runners are training way too hard and don’t even know it! A training plan helps us look at the big picture, see patterns in our training and lifestyle, and choose a pattern of training that we will be able to maintain for the long term.
Okay, got it. A training plan sounds good. But what about the flexibility part?
Nobody wants their running to become just another obligation, another thing on the To-Do list. The last thing we want is to have running become a source of guilt! How do we retain the fun and freedom of running if we’re following a plan? I asked myself this question for the first time after a decade of Nordic ski racing for various teams. I’d always followed training plans, without much awareness of the alternative. But in this case, I was preparing for an unattached (no team) race season, and writing my own training plan. I also happened to be living in a car at the time as I road tripped through the American Southwest. The point is, flexibility was nonnegotiable! But with a race season at stake, I also needed an effective training plan.
I designed a plan in which specific workouts were assigned to each week for several weeks out, but not to a day. At the beginning of each week, I made a rough outline of when I thought I would do each workout, based on my other scheduling commitments that week. As the week progressed, I could change the plan as needed. Guilt free.
You can implement your own flexible training plan, starting this season! In 3 steps:
1) Choose a time-frame. If you’re training for an event, you will have a natural end to the first part of your training plan. If you are interested in a long term plan, choose a time-frame that seems manageable to start with. I like to write my plan for three months at a time.
2) Make a list of workouts you already do regularly, and decide whether they suit your goals. Retain the ones that do, adding new workouts if needed with the help of a coach or teammates.
3) Schedule so that each week gets a similar array of workouts. There are many ways to organize a training schedule, and if you have a coach he or she can help you design workouts and time them for maximum benefit. If you’re flying solo, a good rule of thumb would be to have one or two long distance workouts a week, and one or two intensity sessions per week. (Two for advanced runners, one for beginner/intermediate runners.) The remaining days are either off, easy, medium distance, or cross training. Using this framework, the training plan starts to fill itself in.
With training plan in hand, you have the flexibility each week to move workouts around to fit the rest of your schedule. You’ll want to follow a couple guidelines to make sure your training load is balanced:
1) Don’t do intensity and a long distance workout on consecutive days.
2) Give yourself at least 1 day off per week for most runners.
3) Keep next week in mind. If next week has a couple hard intensity sessions, do this week’s intensity earlier in the week, etc.
This is a pretty short crash course, and there are many aspects of designing and implementing your own flexible training plan that this article doesn’t cover, for the sake of length! However, I am happy to take questions and offer further guidance. Just shoot me an email at email@example.com.
You can also find me at EnduranceEfficacy.com where I offer personal coaching and write flexible training plans for my athletes. I also enjoy sharing my thoughts on a variety on endurance sports on my blog, so if you found this article useful feel free to check it out, or join my email list to receive more tips and musings!
by Lori Bliss Hill
The smell of nature’s gym this time of year is intoxicating.
Next time you are out for a run take time to stop and small NH’s state flower the lilac.
This newsletter is put out monthly (more or less) by the Upper Valley Running Club, the premier (and only) running club in the Connecticut River Upper Valley Region. Any comments, questions, submissions, marriage proposals, etc, send to firstname.lastname@example.org.