From baby steps to running strides … and everything inbetween.

Sarah's 2016 Schedule 1-7

See My Schedule – 16wks pregnant, 7wks of workouts


 “We cannot change the direction of the wind, but we can always adjust our sails to reach our destination.”
– Jimmy Dean

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:

Sarah's 2016 Schedule 1-7

The first 7 weeks of Sarah’s 2015-2016 Schedule

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Author: The BTeam - Darren & Sarah Brown

A wife, mother and professional athlete. A husband, father, coach and training partner. Telling our story as we make our way through parenthood and chase our dreams together.

5 thoughts on “See My Schedule – 16wks pregnant, 7wks of workouts

  1. Hi Darren and Sarah,

    It’s terrific that ya’ll are sharing Sarah’s training so honestly and openly. It is (and will be) a learning experience for you and for your readers…and an inspiration at all levels. I’m curious ~ does Sarah now, or will she, use a heart monitor for her training? I know guidelines 15 years ago suggested heart rate not get above certain levels while training during pregnancy…but perhaps that has changed. Certainly Alysia Montano’s HR went higher than “140” when she raced her 800m at the USATF Nationals and she and her little girl are just fine! Just wondering if there are set limits to how hard you will push in training…or is it more by feel?

    Thanks again for the great updates…you make a terrific team!

    (to Sarah: I was a Virginia state mile/2mile champion in 1978, and have been a big fan since you were in high school 🙂


    • Hi Robin! Thank you for reading and asking! Yes, Sarah definitely uses a HR monitor. The HR topic was one that we thoroughly discussed with Sarah’s doctors (and others), and what we found was that while the 140bpm guideline is still typically what they suggest, it is also just that, a guideline. There is a standard deviation for every individual away from that point and being an athlete, chances are that Sarah’s deviates upwards quite a bit. It really depends a lot on how much your individual doctor has worked with women of various prenatal athletic backgrounds. The main message they wanted us to take away is to avoid anything that would cause overheating or extreme fatigue, which could potentially cause developmental and/or pre-term labor issues. Given what is considered “typical daily exercise” for Sarah, the phase of training Sarah was in when she got pregnant and the fact that she was racing in Diamond League events in her first few weeks of pregnancy (before we knew!), the doctors all believe that Sarah’s body is in a very good place for carrying a baby, since those are all highly unlikely situations for a pregnancy to begin and be successful. With that in mind, they have given us the “OK” to do threshold level work and short bouts of slightly more elevated efforts as her body is able. We will use a HR monitor for all running, ElliptiGO and event strength sessions to ensure that we are staying within a very safe range. Aside from that, we will focus a lot on making sure that her structural system is strong so she bounces back quickly physically after the pregnancy. The physiological (engine) side is easier to ramp up if the physical (body) is ready. We can accomplish a LOT in that range over the next 5mo. and Sarah will be incredibly strong as a result. Once the baby is born and Sarah’s body has recovered, we will have plenty of time to work on the VO2 and high-end lactate systems going into the Olympic Trials (we may just not have quite as much of a peak phase). The reason we still did those first few sessions by “feel” is that at this point in her career, Sarah has become very good at feeling her effort and the assigned effort was just that, threshold. Between her feedback and what I see/hear during those sessions (since I run right beside her), we are pretty good at associating the relative training paces without having to do extensive testing all the time. Steve Magness recently wrote a post about this, in his “Science of Running” blog and he could not have been more dead on. Hope this answers your questions and thank you again for reaching out/supporting Sarah. She feels blessed to have this opportunity and to be able to share it with anybody who wants to listen.

      Thank you,


      • Thank you for your thorough response, Darren! You seem to have all the bases covered. I’m grateful that women’s exercise science has come so far.

        My own mother was told her uterus might collapse if she ran. Period. 😁
        Sharing your experiences will help other women athletes in the future.

        I’m rooting for the B Team!


  2. Thanks for the updates. Ktown misses you both a lot and these post help keep us connected and share in this wonderful jouney with you.


  3. Pingback: See My Schedule – Return to Running | BTeamRunning

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