Run Away...Keep Running- by Sue Aquila

In December, for the first time in my life, I completed over 300 miles of running in one month while remaining healthy and niggle free. I started building to this effort last summer.  I was slow and deliberate building to a couple of half marathons and our MCC December 25 Days of Running Challenge.I completed this in the context of maintaining my cycling/swimming fitness training hours. Here is what worked for me:

  • Monday - Easy build to 6-7.5 miles on hills.

  • Tuesday - Neuromuscular focus with some short hard intervals of fast running (about 20 minutes total).  Distance no more than 10 miles.

  • Wednesday - Two hours either easy or max of 78% of HR Max.  Always flat. Max of 13 miles.

  • Thursday - Interval training.  Longer quality work with intervals ranging from 4-16 minutes (about 30 minutes total).  Distance no more than 10 miles.

  • Friday - Easy build 6-7.5 miles on hills.

  • Saturday - Easy build 6-7.5 miles on hills.

  • Sunday - Long easy hills or flat at maximum of 78% of HR Max. Alternate weekly.  Usually 12 to 18 miles.

Some principles that have helped me:

  • Only one to two hard runs a week.My heart rate must get above 90% of maximum or I stop the intervals and just run easy.

  • Choosing to control effort by HR only and not pace. As I got fitter I started running in higher pace zones while staying in the lower heart rate zones.  

  • Running hilly routes and emphasizing downhills with purpose.Eccentric work makes a difference in my leg health.

  • More carbs.I eat a small snack size Kit Kat before my runs and bring some nutrition to consume as needed.  Staying under your heart rate goal is a function of fitness, proper pacing and nutrition. On my long runs (over 1.5 hours) I have plenty of water and take a gel every 30 minutes.This allows me to have a better quality run and a faster recovery.

  • Competition. Other MCC athletes pushed me to up my game in December.  Including my ability to trash talk. Now they have me thinking about running my first 50K.  Bastards.

  • Not weight training. I love weight training but I was finding that I get DOMS from every session.  I have been able to keep my muscle mass up with some focused nutrition. This is not a life long strategy as I believe strength training is an essential part of aging well.

The run focus has been a blast and my racing justified the effort with a top five AG finish (1:39:00) at the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis.  No easy way!

Run, TrainingMarilyn Chychota