Post By: Darren Brown – Husband/Father/Coach
Below, you’ll find the first 7 weeks of Sarah’s 2015-2016 training schedule. This is something we plan to share weekly from here on out as we make our way through the next 5 months. The schedules you see in these posts, while not far off, won’t always be what was originally planned. Instead, what you’ll see will be what Sarah actually accomplishes.
Typically, the only glimpse of an athlete’s routine that you get is a rundown of their “best workout ever” or one where they “nailed it”. Perhaps you’ll even see a video or snapshot of a form-perfect stride in motion. That’s not what you’ll find here. Here, you’ll find the good, the bad and the ugly. We realize that this next year won’t be like the previous one … or the one before that. Then again, they never are if you are trying to improve. This year, we are going to have to be adaptable, and we are OK being open about that. For me, that is part of the challenge; part of the excitement; part of the fun. It is mentally stimulating as a coach and will only make us both better in the long-run.
Here are Sarah’s first 7 weeks with some key insights below:
- After 2 weeks of complete rest, we started Sarah’s season the way we start every season, with 2 weeks of cross-training (a mix of ElliptiGO & swimming) followed by 2 weeks of alternated running and ElliptiGO, including a few “quality” ElliptiGO sessions.
- Sarah’s first few run workouts back are the same every year, basic fartleks that are to be completed by “feel”. I use these first few sessions as an initial gauge of fitness, as well as progress, seeing how she improves from year to year. This year, some of those sessions included: a 10×1:1 fartlek at 5:25 avg. pace, a fast-finish 10mi, 8×3:1 fartlek at 5:20 avg. pace and a 10mi stepping stone.
- You’ll often see the term “ElliptiGO Chaser”. An ElliptiGO Chaser is a training tactic, consisting of a run that goes directly into an ElliptiGO cross-training session. This approach allows us to increase volume and work in a glycogen-depleted state without the increased risk of impact-related injury due to fatigue. Since Sarah is a middle-distance runner, the ability to withstand the impact in these latter stages of a run is less important than it would be for a marathoner; but still allows her to achieve large aerobic & energy gains associated with longer duration efforts.
- We have continued to incorporate an elevated level of swimming, primarily as active recovery. The stimulus of swimming is not as run-specific as other cross-training modalities, providing little functional gains for run performance; however, the recuperative properties of the water, increased blood flow and mental release are all an important part of her overall routine.
- As you’ll notice, the amount of running was drastically decreased in the final week of this schedule. Even though a “down week” was originally planned for the upcoming week, a hefty amount of travel caused Sarah to begin experiencing some SPD (AKA Pelvic Girdle Pain) due to the loosening of her hips/pelvis. So, in keeping with our approach to this process, we made some adjustments and adapted appropriately. Primarily, we increased the proportion of cross-training to running, added in some targeted corrective pelvic exercises and removed yoga. We also took an early down week from lifting and saw a physio for manual therapy. All in all, Sarah has been able to continue training almost exactly as she would have otherwise, has actually increased volume slightly and is feeling better by the day in her hips/pelvis. We’ll see what the coming weeks bring, but we are pleased with the path we are on.
Now that we have gotten you caught up on the VERY early stages of Sarah’s training, be sure to check back each Monday for a weekly download of her training. With fewer days to cover in the next post, I plan to get a little more technical and provide greater insight into her exact protocol/exercises. If there is anything particular that you see in her schedule and want to learn more about, feel free to send us a question and I’ll be sure to get to it in the following week’s post!