May 6, 2014

Spring Training #4 - Four weeks leading up to Indianapolis

Fourth installment in my training summaries. Previous posts: #1 - #2 - #3

Here are the key workouts for the past four weeks. Click the links for details/splits.

Week of April 7: - LT Shuffle: 10 x 3/1 minutes. I was coming off the Cherry Blossom 10 mile race on April 6th, so I was only planning one quality workout this week. The rest of the week was just easy miles and strides.

Week of April 14: 8 x 400m (1500); LT Shuffle: 8 x 5/1 minutes; 5 x 800m + 10 x 200m (3K/1500). A solid but not spectacular series of sessions. My splits in these workouts were very similar to the last time I ran some of these same exact workouts about a month before.

Week of April 21: LT Shuffle: 2 x 10/1 minutes (bombed workout); 8 x 600m + 6 x 400m + 4 x 200m (5K/3K/1500). The Tuesday workout was planned to be 4x10/1, but I had stomach issues and had to bag it. The Saturday track workout felt good... easy.

Week of April 28: 2 mile LT effort; Indianapolis 500 Festival Half Marathon (1:07:00, 16th place). I never felt sharp and got the pop in my legs as I tapered for the race. On Thursday I woke up with a very tight back and wondered if I could even race. Luckily I got it sorted out, but couldn't turn the week around and pull off a good race at the Indy Mini.

A disappointing race in Indianapolis...

Yeah, that didn't quite go as planned! I knew that sub-65 was probably not realistic at this point, but I did feel like my fitness was at a strong enough place to take down my PR.

Where did the long runs go?

The one thing you notice in this block of workouts is that I didn't have any long runs. I thought those long LT workouts (which are a total of ~18 miles with half of that mileage at LT effort or faster) would be enough to carry me through. The lack of aerobic long runs certainly wasn't the reason I ran 1:07:00, but I do know that I respond very well to that type of stimulus in training...

What adjustments will I make now?

One bad race doesn't mean the last two months of training were a bust. A number of factors contributed to a sub-par performance, and I know I'm in very good shape at the moment. However, I think you always need to be looking for ways to make beneficial adjustments. That being said, over the next month I plan to:

-Bring back the long runs (at Jeremy Ranch, the high-altitude, hilly dirt road that has helped me get very fit in the past)
-Drop the length/frequency of the LT workouts a bit. I've done a lot of them over the past couple months, so I don't need to hammer that system much more during this next block.
-Focus the multi-pace track sessions on 5000m pace.
-Increase my overall mileage. I've been living in the 90-100 miles/week range this year, after years of putting in 120-140 mpw during important training cycles. I'm very healthy at the moment, so I plan to ramp up the mileage for the next month. High mileage training is what I thrive on, and what gives me the most confidence going into races.

The big target race for the remainder of the spring is the Bjorklund Half-Marathon in Duluth on June 21st. I feel like I need a couple tune-up races before that one, so at the moment I'm planning to (change my race schedule AGAIN) and run a 5000m on June 7th (Jim Bush USATF West Regions Champs) and a 10,000m on June 14th (Portland Track Festival). The challenge is 3 PRs in 15 days.

My log for the whole month of April.. we got in lots of good skiing!


  1. Are the LT shuffle workouts a form of threshold run? In my training for San Diego RnR Half (June 1), I've been placing a lot of emphasis on the threshold run - as in I make it my first priority for my running workouts each week. I'm not durable enough right now to run (1) a long run, (2) a threshold run, and (3) a speed/interval workout every week. So I'm wondering if doing an LT shuffle would be a good blend for me for weeks where I drop speed workouts...but wasn't sure how you are using them.


    1. Hey Kristen - In the training post before this one (#3) I outlined the objective of the LT "shuffle" workouts. In your situation, I think I'd stick w/ traditional threshold workouts (sustained tempo runs or longer tempo reps), and alternate them every other week with speed/interval workouts. That way you aren't trying to cram too much into every week. I think the shuffle workout is something to try once you feel like you've done a TON of traditional LT workouts and need a new stimulus.