You guys have the best questions!
As always, these are just my thoughts and opinions based on my experiences and observations. Everyone is different and things apply differently to each person.
I ran my third half marathon on Saturday and now I want to work on increasing my mileage so that I have a good base. I think I peaked at 25 or so miles/week during training for the half and I’d like to get to 35-40 miles/week soon but safely. One thing I was struggling with is how much I can run after my break from the race (I’m taking 4 days off from running) and I noticed that after your full week off from running after your marathons you went right back to 30 and then 42 miles the 2nd week! I know about the 10% rule but that seems unreasonable. I also wondered if you plan to/usually cut back on mileage every 3rd or 4th week during training as some recommend?
Excellent question! I think this one can be a little hard to give a general answer on because really it just depends on a lot of things. The distance you raced, how well you recover, how may miles you peaked at during training, etc. There is a lot to take into consideration!
If I am getting back into training pretty quick (like I am right now) I typically try to do kind of a reverse taper. In other words, I take what I did tapering for the race and go backwards. My long runs don’t really work like this exactly since I take a little longer to get back up to 20, but my runs during the week and overall mileage can generally follow this to at least get back to where I was at a base. Since my peak mileage was in the 60s and I was there for a number of weeks, the 30 to 42 increase didn’t affect me too much since my body is used to running more miles. Once I get to closer to my base mileage, then the increases will be smaller, like this past week was 42 to 48.
I also don’t typically add back in speed work for a couple weeks. Those first few weeks of running after a big race are a lot of easy miles and just getting back into it without anything super hard like tempos and intervals.
Once you are back to your base and increasing your weekly mileage to an unchartered area (higher than you have ran before), I believe the 10% rule is a great one to use to be conservative and safe. When I took my RRCA course, they recommended 5% to be extra safe. No need to get injured!
In response to the cutback weeks, I think those are definitely a good idea and can help mentally and physically during training plans. I know some runners who swear by them and I think they have good reason. It gives your body and mind a break from the big weeks of training, plus lets your body absorb and recover from some of the training you have been putting in.
This is what I have found works well for me over time, so it’s definitely something that is different for each person. Like I always say listen to your body and make sure you aren’t doing too much too soon.
So now that you have your RCAA certificate (I think that was it) what are you going to do with it?
I want to coach runners! I am working out some of the logistics of this right now, but I really want to be able to help coach other runners who need help, support, or just don’t want think about their own training plan so much. I love training plans, I love answering questions and I love helping people to see their potential. Hopefully this will all come together very soon!
I am looking at getting a foam roller or stick.. Is one better than the other? I don’t really want to get both right now so I am trying to figure out which would be more effective.
Personally if I had to pick ONE I would pick The Grid foam roller. I do use the stick and it’s easier to transport, but I think the foam roller works better for what I use it the most for. I took a quick poll on twitter the day I got this question and most people agreed with me too!
How did you get so fast? What was your pace when you started running and what did you do for however long to get at this speed?
I definitely don’t consider myself a "fast" runner, but when I first started running I was running in the 9:00+ pace most of the time, with occasional runs sub 9’s. When I got more into marathon training most of my long runs averaged sub 9’s. My first 5k was an 8:20 avg pace, but a couple months later, my first half marathon was a 8:30 pace.
My normal training runs haven’t changed that much over time, but I have changed the way I train with slowing myself down sometimes, adding in tempo runs and intervals and just running more miles. I really can notice differences in my track and tempo runs over time which I think is just hard work and actually doing them.
My biggest improvement in the marathon came between my first and second one when I took 20 minutes off, but the course wasn’t as difficult and I trained a lot different for the second (more miles, specific paces) rather than just running like I did for my first one.
I agree that running and training is a very individual thing, but I have no idea how to tackle the nutrition component on a long run? My long runs at the moment are not very long, but any tips for future runs?
Practice! Some people’s bodies don’t respond well to certain types of fuel so it’s really important to practice.
I break my fueling up into 3 areas: hydration, electrolytes and carbs/calories.
For hydration I have found that plain water works best for me to keep my stomach happy during runs, but I used to use watered down Gatorade for the extra calories and electrolytes. When I took away the Gatorade, I knew I needed to add some more electrolytes into my fueling plan, so I added salt capsules. I typically don’t use them on every long run, but once it gets warm and more electrolytes are more necessary I definitely use them. One habit I get into is to drink some water at every mile. When I hear my garmin beep, I take a sip of water and just try to stay hydrated from the get go. Once you get thirsty it’s too late!
For carbs/calories I use GU gels (which also has some electrolytes but not as many as shot blocks or chomps). On long runs I typically take them every 4-5 miles depending on the day. I also believe in putting the fuel in before you really need it, so fuel early and often and you will feel better later on down the road.
This is what I have found works best for me over lots of time and practice and it’s still changing! This is a big area where people differ, so making sure to figure out what your body can handle is a big task when in training.
Do you have anything to add?
As always chime in with your thoughts and experiences! The more info and experiences, the better. Stick vs. foam roller, how do you fuel, do you use cutback weeks in training? Inquiring minds want to know!
Any other questions?