Run, Recover, Repeat
The basic concept for improvement in the sport of running is adaptation; break your body down, recover, and repeat. The idea is that for every time that you put your body through this cycle, you will come back stronger.
However, what is often forgotten from this equation is the importance of variability. As part of the process of adaptation, it is important to challenge your body in unique ways. Without this element, the process of adaptation is inherently limited. This means, for runners, the importance of changing focus through training cycles is critical.
Last year, I found that I was becoming stuck in a pattern of repeated adaptation, which became increasingly ineffective as the season progressed. Sure, I saw some improvements, but not what I had desired. No matter how much I changed workouts on a weekly basis, I was simply not seeing the improvements that I intended. I was mostly training for ultra-marathons, which meant a consistent flow of long runs, steady tempos, and hills workouts. At the end of the season, I decided I needed to consider the idea of variability on a broader scale. Simply changing my weekly training cycle was not enough; I needed to think “big picture”.
With that, I completely changed the focus of my 2015 season. Whereas in the past, my shortest race was typically 25km (a tune-up for a 50km, perhaps), this season, my longest race is a 25km late in the year. The majority of my races are under 20km, with a steady mix of trail and road races. The first half of the season has been focusing on a goal half-marathon in May.
As a result, my weekly training has completely shifted:
- Speed workouts
- Tempo runs
- Progression runs
- Race simulations
Every run has a purpose and requires proper recovery. On a larger scale, my training is challenging my body in new ways. My body is experiencing the important concept of adaptation, once again.