Whippet Wisdom: Modifications to the Training Plans

Happy New Year, everyone!

As we come back from our holiday excursions and the spring training season begins, many of us – myself included – are not exactly where we were in the fall gearing up for those events. With that in mind, we must be patient with our training to not overdo it. Not to mention the cold weather adds an extra layer of complexity.

Some folks have mentioned in passing that some of the training plans are a little aggressive given the time off and the weather. The coaches can appreciate that sentiment so we wanted to discuss some variations to the plan which can help. Below is an excerpt from the “Marathon Training” document (http://boston.dashingwhippets.org/training/) sent at the beginning of the NYC Marathon training season and we believe this provides options which can be incorporated into your individual training plan.

Each week should cycle through each of the three main training pillars: long run, strength and endurance intervals, and recovery runs.  A “typical week” should be built based on specific details of your life with these three items in mind. Similarly, we’ll determine how often each of these pillars will be completed in a given week. Obviously, the long run and easy days will be completed every week but what about workouts? Determining workout quantity and intensity is vital to any training program’s success.

At minimum, one quality workout needs to be included every week – everything from miles at marathon pace to track workouts. When marathon training, the Tuesday workout should be the focal workout of the week as it typically includes long stretches of miles at a given pace. The consistent pace of those workouts teaches one how to “feel” the pace – breathing pattern, cadence, form/ body positioning – instead of relying on the stopwatch during the race.

Some folks operate better with two quality workouts per week; for some, that’s too much. Several factors in determining whether a second workout should be included in your schedule include prior experience, current weekly mileage, and life schedule. For our discussion, let’s use the Whippet program to highlight possible modifications when running one workout per week.

  • In place of Thursday’s workout, run the total miles suggested as easy miles. Throughout the schedule, Thursday’s workout mileage can range from 8-11 miles when including warm-up, cooldown, and jog rest periods (if any). This mid-week longer run (ranging from 40-60% of the long run distance) is a great way to keep the mileage up without taxing the body with another workout.
  • Run Thursday’s workout at one pace slower than suggested. For example, if the workout states HMP, run at MP; if it states LT pace, run at HMP, if it states 10K pace, run LT pace, etc. Canova Ks is a workout which suggests alternating between marathon pace and half marathon pace every kilometer throughout the workout; in your schedule it may be best to alternate between easy pace and marathon pace. Lastly, to prevent from running too fast and keeping to your plan, join a group which closely matches your adjusted goal paces for the evening. This enables the ability to run the same workout as the rest of the team thus allowing you to have people to run with which is the main reason to attending team practices.
    • One key element to remember when doing this: you are a guest of that group. That group trains together regularly and aims to run the paces chosen at the start of the workout. Stick with the group throughout the entire workout. Move to the back of the group if necessary to prevent pushing the pace at the front. Be aware of the group dynamic and communicate with your teammates – either to check in on the pace or provide motivation since this pace should be ‘comfortable’ for you.

As always, let us know if you have any questions. See you on the roads!


David Parkinson and Chris Forti (NYC)

david [at] dashingwhippets.org and coach [at] dashingwhippets.org

This message was originally created by Chris Forti from Dashing Whippets Running Team.

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