Thursday, June 14, 2012

Team AstraQom Training Tip, Week Three: Hard Day, Easy Day

Hello, Team AstraQom!  By now you've figured out how much time you can spend walking/running.  You also, hopefully, have taken a close(r) look at your shoes.  Last week, you learned and thought about how hard you want the intensity level to be for those runs/walks - and some ways to gauge how hard was "too hard."

This week I want to tell a brief story about a friend of mine.  He's a little older than I; he's chased after me at many races, and even beaten me at a couple of 5Ks over the past ten years.  We've occasionally had lunch together - he and his wife, Suzanne and me.  When we've talked about his training, he appears frustrated because he doesn't improve.  When I asked what workouts he ran during the week, he explained to me that he ran the same five kilometer circuit every day.  He would run the loop at the same pace as he raced.

I asked if he felt he could benefit from a little bit of variety in his training.  "I could tell you about the different energy systems which are used when we run; and how you might not be using them to their fullest capacity, but have you ever felt like you're going to burn yourself out?  What do you think would happen to a runner's muscles, joints and tendons?"

Naturally, I was talking from hard experience.  When I started racing a lot on the roads after college, I might have varied the distance of my training runs anywhere from seven kilometers during the beginning of the week; increasing to thirteen-to-fifteen on Sunday morning, but all of the runs were run as fast as I could run them.  I felt like I had to try to beat my personal best for each loop every time I went out.

My old coach, Jarrett Slaven, used to tell me, "Mike, you can run hard and you can run long, but you can only do one."  I've learned from many coaches that good training consists of varying distance, time, intensity or terrain - one or more of the variables - from day to day.  So you can alternate hard and easy days, shorter or longer distances/times, flat or hilly terrains, roads and grass or trails.  Even the difference between morning running and evening runs/walks will challenge your body - your muscles, joints, heart, lungs and your mind.  Many coaches and runners love the hard day/easy day theory.  Others - like me - have adapted the hard/easy one step further because they learned their body needed a little more recovery...they do what is known as hard/easy/easier.

Whether you do hard/easy, or hard/easy/easier, it's important to not work at the same intensity throughout your training. 

As always, if you have any questions, please e-mail them to me at or message me through Facebook at

Have a safe, fun, mileage-and joy-filled day!

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