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Running three days a week (Read 284 times)

northernman


Fight The Future

    Well, I've been thinking I might cut back from my usual pattern of running 7 days a week, after I finish this current race cycle. Of course, I always start thinking that as I get close to my goal marathon and get tired of the daily routine. (I also start thinking I'm going to give up this foolish avoidance of beer and chocolate, once I no longer care about my racing weight, but that's a different matter altogether)

    In googling training plans with fewer days per week, I found this relatively recent post. Three days a week! that's an unusual approach, although I guess it reminds me of the Run Less, Run Faster plan, which didn't work all that well, for me. Still, what do people think about us old folks cutting back to 5 days/week instead of every day. Would that necessarily slow me down even more, or is it possible to sustain on fewer days, but increased distance per day?

    spinach


      This is pretty much what I have been doing the last five  years. I don't think my old knees could stand much more than running three or four days a week.  I can run long without much problem but I feel I need the days off.  During the summer, when my work time is down, I do get in a bit more running, but now that school has started again my time available for running is decreased. This year I am still trying to get in 40 to 50 miles a week on only four days but i don't know how successful i will be at this.

       

      A note about sustaining on fewer but longer runs each week.  Several years ago I was able to get in a lot of miles during the summer to prepare for the Twin Cities but after that i cut back to one run a week, 18-20 miles each sunday, which I managed to do every weekend in October, November and December.  on that training I ran a 3:01 marathon in January at RocknRoll Arizona marathon, my fastest either of those two years and definitely the easiest marathon I ever ran.  One bit of anecdotal evidence that it is possible to sustain on fewer days but increased distance per day.

        Well, I've been thinking I might cut back from my usual pattern of running 7 days a week, after I finish this current race cycle. Of course, I always start thinking that as I get close to my goal marathon and get tired of the daily routine. (I also start thinking I'm going to give up this foolish avoidance of beer and chocolate, once I no longer care about my racing weight, but that's a different matter altogether)

        In googling training plans with fewer days per week, I found this relatively recent post. Three days a week! that's an unusual approach, although I guess it reminds me of the Run Less, Run Faster plan, which didn't work all that well, for me. Still, what do people think about us old folks cutting back to 5 days/week instead of every day. Would that necessarily slow me down even more, or is it possible to sustain on fewer days, but increased distance per day?

         

        Interesting question, and one very much on my mind in recent days.

         

        In 2009, when I was 52 years old, I was on the "every other day" plan logging about 120 miles per month at what felt like a pretty quick pace.  In November of that year I ran the (rather flat) 8-Mile Dallas Turkey Trot (aka. "The Trot") on a cool and dry (as in very low humidity) day in 1:10:43 for an average pace of 8:50 per mile, and I felt good, strong and fast for all but maybe the last mile of the race.

         

        This year I've been on the "every day" plan logging over 200 "Long Slow Distance" miles per month where most days didn't even feel "slow", they felt like a "slog".  This last Saturday I ran the very hilly "NH 10-Miler" race around Massabesic Lake on a very warm and humid day (low 80s and so humid the air was steamy) in 1:25:06 for an average pace of 8:31 per mile.  Funny thing, even though I felt pretty slow for the entire distance, REALLY slow during the 7th mile (a nasty long climb where most folks were walking), and flat out cooked for the last couple of miles, I ran 19 seconds per mile quicker than the 2009 run in spite of the race being 25% longer and the weather being much less conducive to a good time.

         

        Long story short, to say that I think the "Run Less, Run Faster" plan isn't as good as the daily LSD plan is an understatement.

        northernman


        Fight The Future

           

          A note about sustaining on fewer but longer runs each week.  Several years ago I was able to get in a lot of miles during the summer to prepare for the Twin Cities but after that i cut back to one run a week, 18-20 miles each sunday, which I managed to do every weekend in October, November and December.  on that training I ran a 3:01 marathon in January at RocknRoll Arizona marathon, my fastest either of those two years and definitely the easiest marathon I ever ran.  One bit of anecdotal evidence that it is possible to sustain on fewer days but increased distance per day.

           

          That's an amazing accomplishment!

          arca


            This is an interesting article for me. I don't believe the central proposition that we would all be faster running less. However, if you are limited by being injury-prone, or time- constrained, then this looks like a decent programme to get the most out of a cut-down schedule.

             

            I'm nursing niggles, and planning to be on the every other day kind of schedule. I reckon I might give it a try as when I do actually manage 4 runs a week then I do a long run and 3 easy ones. About once every fortnight I do a speed session or tempo run. This schedule would 'load' the week a bit more, but I reckon I could get away with it if I keep the recovery days in-between.

            JimR


              If you've built a strong base and have a lot of miles under your belt, you can sustain decent performance with reduced training for a while.  However it will eventually deteriorate since the base it's dependent upon is being slowly eroded by the reduction in training.

               

              I've had to do this from time to time when life simply gets in the way.  It doesn't hold up over the long term.


              sugnim

                I'm always surprised when people have the time to actually run more than 3 or 4 days per week.  With responsibilities at work and home, there is no way I can get out more than 3 or 4 times each week.  That said, do what makes you happy.  Run because you enjoy it, not because you have a training schedule to follow.  If that's 3 days or 7 days, then the only difference that should matter is your overall happiness.

                  I'm always surprised when people have the time to actually run more than 3 or 4 days per week.  With responsibilities at work and home, there is no way I can get out more than 3 or 4 times each week.  That said, do what makes you happy.  Run because you enjoy it, not because you have a training schedule to follow.  If that's 3 days or 7 days, then the only difference that should matter is your overall happiness.

                   

                  Keep in mind, I'm "old"; one kid in the Navy, the second (and last) in her last two years of high school and very independent.  My biggest impediment to running more than a couple of days per week was my work situation; for the last several years I've been working either one job some 70-80 hours per week, or two jobs 55-60 hours per week (and 3.5-4 hours of commuting per day).  This last April I resigned from one of the two jobs and went full time at the other; I now commute less than an hour per day and "only" work about 8 hours per day which of course leaves lots of extra time for running.  Smile

                    I personally only get out and run around 4 days per week. I have two jobs and I tend to work a lot of hours. (This is also the primary reason I miss races...) I would never consider myself fast and I don't follow any specific plan. I usually do two long - easy runs per week, (back to back on Saturday and Sunday) and then I try to do some shorter speedwork at least 1-2 additional times per week. I don't run marathons yet and I am still building up a good base. Once I do, I plan to try to squeeze in at least a couple miles every day. My biggest issue is that I would have to give up sleep to add more running days. At the moment, that isn't in my schedule.

                      this past  yr and half I made a committment to having at least 1 day off/ wk no matter how I felt.  has worked out well for most part & have had decent race times (5k pr this past 7/4).  has kept me from injury as well until past few wks dealing wi/hamstring issue (back to about 80% now).  next yr I'm considering 5 days/wk.   4 days would be at least an hour (6-6.5 miles) & the fifth day 90-120 mns.  out of those 5 would be a LR (alternate weekly 100-120mns steady/easy,  with 90 mns or so tempo type stuff), & one day would be track session. other 3 would be easy/comfortable.   just considering it for right now.   no plans at moment to do any races longer than HM.  If planning on full marathon would probably stick with same plan but with more mileage each day & maybe, maybe add back a 6th day.  58 in 3 1/2 wks.

                      northernman


                      Fight The Future

                        I'd like to keep at about 60 miles per week. I'm thinking two runs of 15 miles, one 12, and one 18. Maybe Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday, Sundays.

                        northernman


                        Fight The Future

                          As for the time, thing. I'm not so sure that is always such a limiting factor as we tend to make it. However, for Shipo, I agree that doing two 55 hour per week jobs is going to make it hard. But for most of us, even with intense jobs, there are usually some down times that can be re-budgeted if one really wants. 60 miles *9 mpm means about 9 hours a week. Do 4 hours on weekends, and that is one hour per day monday through Friday. Really is there not an hour per day that could be used to maintain physical and mental health? Are we that strapped? I have basically given up watching TV, and I don't read as much as I used to. (although I do catch up some by listening to audiobooks). I don't really miss the TV that much, as it is not as rewarding as the running.

                            I've been using a 3-day a week schedule this summer, and have been making progress in aerobic speed and speed at LT. Two days of cruise intervals and one day of aerobic running. The other days are either rest, yard work, stationary bike (at 65% MHR), or walking. I take extra rest when my legs feel dead. For this aging age-grouper in these 80+° temps, this has been a fine strategy, and a successful experiment. I'm going to keep it going until it doesn't work anymore and I need either more stimulus or more stimulus aerobically.

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