Sunday, May 8, 2011

Nike: New Runner Progression

originally posted June 22, 2009 by Coach Jay

Hi, I have recently started to run over the last few months and have really enjoyed using the Nike+ and iTouch systems. Due to my location, I am really limited on where I can run, so with that said, I have been running on a treadmill over the last few weeks, usually ranging from three to four miles. Should I be mixing this up? Four miles has been my max as of now. I'm sure I could go longer, but have yet to try it. Should I run four miles one day, then maybe two the next just at a faster pace, then four miles again the next day? am completely lost on how to build a schedule or what I should do? Thank you for any advice. Regards, Chris

Chris - Thanks for the email and I hope you don't mind that I make an assumption here; I'm going to assume that you want to get better and that you want to race at some point, anything from a 5k to a full marathon. But the reason I want to preface my comments is that running is an important contemplative time, and often times, for someone grieving or someone who has an unreasonable amount of life stress or someone who simply is trying to loss weight, a daily run that never varies is still a wonderful thing. So, if I'm made a horrible assumption and you simply want to use running as exercise that it is also contemplative then don't change anything.

If you want to gain fitness and if you hope to run races then you MUST alternate both volume (i.e. distance, duration) and intensity. The changes can be subtle; you could theoretically run 4 miles every day for 5 days, three days being easy, one day a two mile fartlek and one day a 2 mile threshold effort (1 mile warm-up and 1 mile cool-down each day). If you add a long run of 6-7 miles then you've got a 26-27 mile week that is sound. But for most people, they eventually get to the level where they run 5-6 days a week, they have a long run that is 20-25% of their weekly volume for that week (if you're running 50 miles a week or more than don't go above 20%, but if you're running 28 miles a week a 7 mile run is sound) and they have a day off and/or a day of cross training. There are numerous progressions out there, but I wrote one on this blog for a 5k race a couple months back.

Key point: the body will adapt to what ever you give it and if you want to race then you better not give it the same run at the same pace every day or you'll be doomed to run a a level below your potential.

Thanks Chris and good luck.

*Coach Jay’s advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.