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!