New Training Approach for Carmel?

For the last week or so I have been kicking some things around in my head as it relates to the training schedule I have lied out for Carmel. I’m thinking about making a change.

It all stems from my an article I saw a couple people tweeting about last week on the old Twitterverse. The article is a Runner’s World article that discusses the possible benefits of overloading certain weeks of your training with a significant amount of high stress workouts. The full article can be found here.

“The study is by researchers in Norway, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, and it deals with what they call “block periodization.” The basic gist of their theory seems to be that if you’re trying to do everything at once in any given training week (i.e. easy miles, speed work, threshold work, etc.), you can’t put enough emphasis on any one of the elements to really push to a new level. This is a particular problem for already-well-trained endurance athletes, who have already taken all the “easy” adaptations that occur when you first start training.”

That last sentence in particular really peaked my interest. At this point, I think a lot of the “easy” adaptations have been rung out of me…so where does that leave me? Continuing down the same weekly training cycle of mostly easy miles, one tempo/speed session, and the long run? I think gains can still be made this way…but is  there a better way to do it?

The article has me thinking that there is a better way. If I think about it, it kind of makes since from a stress and adaption standpoint, previous iterations of my running self that one weekly tempo/speed workout and a progression run was enough to stress the body and make it adapt for the better. But, now at this point in running my body is much more condition to handle that stress. The gains are not as substantial. They are still there but at diminishing rates of return.

So maybe I take more of “Cross Country Camp” style approach mentioned in the article to really stress my body and push those adaptions to occur at a higher and faster rate. But where do I put those weeks into the plan and what do they look like?  I’m not sure yet. 

The current design of my plan follows the weekly structure that would lend itself nicely to such a change: Week 1 Build, Week 2 Build, Week 3 Build, Week 4 recover…etc. I think the place to but them would be in that Week 3. How many times do I repeat them? Not sure yet.

I think the Scandinavians and myself are on to something here. Now its just time to figure the what and when of the workouts. Once, I get that figured out I’ll be sure to share it.

What do you guys think of article and my possible new approach? Have you tried anything new recently in training that worked for you?

Be Consistent

Glenn Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Not so much a new approach, but has been empirically shown to work. From a cycling standpoint I can see this being effective. I use block training for the guys who have the time and can handle the intensity. Usually a 3-4 block followed but 2-3 days easy. I would worry a bit about using it for running since running is a weight bearing sport and has higher physical demands (impact trauma) than cycling. The biggest fear I would have is getting injured from not being recovered enough from the pounding. However, if you’ve found you are pretty durable you could definitely try it out and see what the results may be.

    1. Thanks for checking this out Heath. Yeah very true that this is not new in the cycling world…I guess I have never thought about applying it to my running. The injury and general wearing down aspect is what I have been most concerned about. In my running and sport, in general, I can take a pretty good beating and avoid injury. I think if I implement something like this it wouldn’t be nearly as intense as a full week block of tempo or intervals…but maybe every 3-4 weeks sub out some of my easy miles with an additional tempo or speed session. My plans usually flow like this, and I personally have enjoyed great success with, Mon – Easy, Tues – Easy, Wed – Tempo/Speed, Thurs – Easy, Fri – Easy, Sat – Long, Sun – Rest. In this new cycle I have already added a couple of progression runs on the long runs and a Hanson Brothers style “Simulator” 4-5 weeks out…so I worry about the overload. So maybe it would look something like this:Mon – Tempo, Tues – Easy, Wed – Speed, Thurs – Easy, Fri – Tempo, Sat – Long, Sun – Rest and then the next fairly easy. I don’t know…I guess I’ll keep playing wiht the design. Thanks for the input.

  2. It’s an interesting article and I see the point. Like you, I have lots of easy miles built into my schedule but I add an extra speed day for 3 key workouts (intervals, tempo, long run). I also usually toss in a progression run on the day before the long run. Its a cycle that closely follows the Hansons training plan that was in an article of RW a few years back. I’ve simply added some extra mileage here and there.
    As for your plan, I say give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, change it up for the next cycle.

    1. Hey Evan. Thanks for the info. Yeah I have been playing with the design the last couple of days and I think I am getting close to a final plan. The skeleton plan I put up a couple of weeks ago was missing some Progression and a Hanson’s ‘Simulator’ that I am going to do. In terms of blocks of speed/tempo what I think I will do it every 3 or 4 weeks add a couple of extra “hard” sessions to the week so that 4 out of 6 runs that week are hard. I’ll be sure to post what the final plan looks like in the next week or so.

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