A Runner’s Bread and Butter

A look into the weekly schedule of a distance runner!

64441_10200882922664138_1161502457_n
 A Runner’s Bread and Butter is a general run down of what a typical weekly schedule of training looks like for a distance runner. I know that this does not apply to everyone and that not everyone will find this useful/entertaining.
This post is meant to inform those that really have no concept of the structure and purpose of a training schedule. For the majority of distance runners out there and for those of you interested in setting up a weekly training schedule to improve your running, well this is how it looks for the most part:
  • The Sunday Long Run

The dreaded Sundy Longrun! This run typically consists of 10% of the weekly volume of mileage for a distance runner.

That’s why it’s the most important run for base building and setting the foundation of the week.

Long runs start off the running week or end it- depending on how you set your week up. A long run day heavily relies on the type of mileage you are getting per week.Also it varies, whether you’re a middle-distance runner or a higher mileage distance runner like me. A long run can range anywhere from 7-16 miles or even more if you train for marathons or Ultras!

For me, my longest long run so far has been 16 miles. Although, I don’t need much more for my long run right now because my primary racing goals are for the 5K and 10K(for now).

To marathoners and Ultra runners, that may seem like an easy run. Middle distance runners may only get 10-12 miles for their longest long run.

It all really depends on what type of events you train for, your current training block(like if you are tapering for a big race), and what your coach suggests for you based on what has worked best for you.

Pacing for the Long Run- traditionally pacing for a long run has been slower and more relaxed, focusing on getting the miles in and recovering. Many coaches have referred to long run day as: LSD(Long slow distance).However, recent studies and many professional distance athletes have been incorporating a bit of speed throughout their long runs. This can have HUGE benefits for training and simulates racing. It makes you a lot tougher too and sets you up for some great races by getting your body used to turning over after running long miles.

I ran my first progression long run this summer where I had pick ups throughout the run. It can be very tough to hold on through the long run especially if your used to a chilled, slower long run.

Doing a speed progression long run will make you a lot fitter and faster in the long run. 😉 They are not the most enjoyable training runs but they are a great idea to add variety to your schedule.

  • Easy runs/Maintenance runs-

These runs consist of about 4 runs per week on a typical running schedule, if you do two “workouts” or fast days a week.

That can vary again, depending on your current training block and what you are training up for or recovering from. Easy runs should be run at an EASY pace!!

Nothing annoys me more than going out to recover and run easy when someone picks up the pace to a level that turns into a tempo effort. Maintenance runs are on your schedule for a few reasons.

First, to make sure you’re getting your weekly mileage in. It’s important to stay committed to training and keep getting the amount of mileage prescribed for you depending on what you’re training for.

Also, how much or little mileage you need depends on YOU. Everyone responds differently to mileage. Some runners thrive off of higher mileage weeks from 70-80 miles a week or even 100-120 mile weeks. NOT everyone is built like that though. Some runners only need 35-50 mile weeks to see success.

Personally, I’ve ran my best doing anywhere from 50-70 miles a week. It all depends on the intensity of workouts too and how your body responds to the stress. There is such a thing as “over training” despite what many runners believe to be a solely mental block.

That brings me to my second reason for the Easy Run- RECOVERY!

If you run every single run at the same pace for everything, you will NOT get faster. You will plateau in your training, get injured, run yourself into the ground or over train or ALL of those. No one wants that.

So, when you set out for your easy run, please focus on what it means to RECOVER. This is a time to focus on your form; make sure those hips are tucked under and tilted slightly forward, pick up your feet(dorsi-flexed),drive up knee lift & pump your arms side to side and don’t cross over the center of your body!

Easy runs are great for having an enjoyable, relaxed run to remind you why you love running and getting the miles in. An Easy run should be a relaxed pace but not a shuffle! I normally try to run my easy runs around 7:30-8:00 min pace. I fluctuate a little depending on how sore I am from workout days and if it’s a race week.

LISTEN to your body! If you are feeling fatigued or worn down from workouts that week, scale down on mileage and slow the pace. If you have to cut an easy run short one day because you are super sore or something is wrong(injury, sick), DO IT. But don’t skip out on an easy run just because your being lazy or “not feeling it”. That habit will add up and eventually you won’t be getting your mileage in that you need to and you won’t be as fit.

TRUST me, you can tell on race day!

The last point I’ll make regarding easy runs is that if you do not listen to this advice and actually run an easy, comfortable pace and recover, then you will NOT be able to perform on workout days or race day. Maybe you will for a while. But not for long, you can get injured pretty quick that way.

I’ve been a distance runner for over 8 years, and I’ve seen it all or experienced one or many difficulties I’ve already mentioned. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes, but be knowledgeable and take control of the aspects in training that you have control over.

  • Speed Workouts/ Sessions-

Okay, this is everyone’s favorite day of the week(not really, we all dread it). Speed workout days and Tempo days(that we will discuss next), are similar. They are both known as “workouts” or “sessions” because they are not easy. They are all run at a fast, controlled effort.

For Speed workouts, they are normally run on a track or somewhere that you can track your mileage and splits. I recommend owning some type of GPS watch that tracks mileage and pace and has a lap counter that keeps splits for you. I have a Garmin and I use it daily.

A GPS watch helps to log workouts and runs on your computer so you can track your progress!!

Most Speed workouts are on Tuesdays/Thursdays. AGAIN, this depends on your week and if you have a race coming up that weekend you may only have one workout. Also, you may only have one Speed workout on the track and one Tempo on either Thursday or Friday.

There are so many variations with speed work. So it depends on you and your coach if you have one and your personal running goals.

In College, I normally had track workouts on Tuesdays and then a Tempo Run on Friday. However, if we raced that weekend we would only have a short “pre meet” speed workout on Tuesday. I still follow this type of schedule for race week, but my workouts are a little different now.

Speed work breakdown:

Most Speed workouts on the track start with a warm up where you run EASY for 1.5-3 miles. This gets the body warmed up so you don’t pull anything when you run the fast intervals.(Especially if it’s colder out, warm up is more important).

Then, normally you will have a set of warm up drills and dynamic(moving) stretches before you start.

Finally, it’s GO time!! Normally, a speed workout is a set of intervals run at a given fast pace. The most beneficial way is to find what your current VO2 Max is, or use a current PR(personal record/best) at whatever race you are training for. You can use this to break down each split pace you need to hit to improve and get faster.

What in the world is VO2Max?

Glad you asked! VO2 Max is basically the total volume of oxygen that our bodies are able to consume.(Milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min). The fitter you are, the higher your VO2 Max! I know this is getting super nerdy, but learning your personal VO2 Max can help you base your whole training and help you improve. Every run has a purpose and knowing your body can help you set measurable goals.

There are many ways to find your VO2 Max. You can find it the easiest way online and calculate it. Here is an easy site I found with a VO2Max calculator if you want to try:

http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/calculators/vo2max-calculator.aspx

Back to Speed Work- An example of a speed workout could be: 10X800 w/ 2 min rest.

You run 10-800s(two laps around a track) with two minutes rest in between each interval. Or maybe you have a set of 4X mile repeats with a minute rest in between at a given pace.

Speed work is always a combination on intervals. It’s not easy, and it pushes you to the limit. It’s supposed to challenge you and help you get faster each week.

Speed days help you improve mental and physical toughness so that on race day you’re not completely shocked and shut down when the pain comes. And it will. You need to accept this and conquer it in training if you want to run a successful race!

Whatever your coach gives you that day or whatever you decide to do for speed work depends on your current racing schedule and what you are training for. If you are training through a race or in a building training block and not racing for a while, you may have a more intense/ longer workout.

It takes about 4 weeks before your body is able to show the work you put in doing a workout.

That’s why it is incredibly important to hit the paces given to you, even when you feel like giving up. Don’t cut reps and don’t slack off. This will make you tougher so that when it’s race day, you smash it and make it look easy.

  • Tempo Runs-

I’m just going to go ahead and say it, they SUCK. These are probably the toughest workouts for us mentally because tempos are  longer, faster, sustained efforts in training.

Normally, a tempo is run once a week on Thursday or Friday. A tempo is still considered a workout or session because it is a faster run held at a certain pace for a targeted amount of miles.

A tempo day starts as a speed day would– a proper warm up(ideally at least 2 miles), drills and stretches then strides before you start the tempo!

The tempo run can be anywhere from 3-9 miles or even more for marathoners and higher mileage runners!

When you run a tempo, you run the whole amount of mileage at a set pace given; which is normally 30-45 seconds slower than your race pace.

This needs to be a hard effort that puts you in debt but not so hard you can’t breath or you’re at 100%.

Believe me, sometimes you will feel like you’re going all out on a tempo but that’s when you can learn to push past the pain  threshold and earn your wings! Running a tempo is pretty brutal work but the benefits are unfathomable. This is where you learn who you are in training.

  • Strength training days-

I am only going to touch on this briefly because this subject really needs a blog for itself(and will soon!)

But concerning strength training for runners- I have learned the importance of proper strength training for a running schedule can keep you from injury and make you STRONG.

I used to hate lifting at all or doing anything in the gym when I first started running. Actually, I hated everything in training that wasn’t running. Then, I grew a little and started running in college and became surrounded by women who were faster, stronger, and had abs of steel.

I wanted that too and I also knew I would need to become a strength runner to get faster rather than a scrawny stick that would break like a twig with the mileage and intensity building.

As I became more knowledgeable in my sport I quickly learned that strength training can:

1. Keep you from getting injured

2. Keep your form strong

3. Keep you flexible

4. Give you strength to pull through in a race or workout when you don’t have anything left

Strength training can of course vary depending on what your coach has planned for you or what your body responds best to. You can do a body circuit that works on abs, upper body, legs, and back or a mixture of all of these. Strength training is normally done in a gym but you can do your own circuit on an easy day at your home or after a run at the park.

I recommend 2-3 times a week of strength training while being mindful of your current training cycle. I have focused so much more attention in strength training and flexibility drills since I ended track in April and graduated college.

I can already tell a significant improvement in my form and overall strength! I am so happy I stopped being afraid of strength training and became fully obedient in this part of training.

It works!! If you want to stay injury-free and become a STRONG runner, don’t skip out on gym days.

You can do them before or after a run or do a double day and do your run in the morning and lift at night. You can also switch that around too. The main point here is consistency.  Like I said, I won’t get too detailed into strength training here but just reminding you of the importance!!

Cooling things down

Wrapping things up, I know that I’m just skimming the surface of running and training. A Runner’s bread and butter really do include the subjects we touched on and I hope I was helpful in highlighting a general schedule.

I want to offer advice that’s helped me, to help improve your running if that’s what you want to accomplish. Which is what I hope, because you’ve already read this far! 🙂

Now, are you going to be a quitter and just give up because it hurts for a few minutes? OR are you gonna OWN your workout and reach a new level of training?

Every day you lace up and go for your run; whatever training day that is for you, you have a choice to make.

Running isn’t for the weak minded or for people that take short cuts. And there is SO much more to running than just running.

You truly get out what you put in with running and you can discover who you really are through a runner’s lifestyle.

Just remind yourself that every run has a purpose for that day and take it one day at a time! Good Luck in training and remember that you are ALWAYS more capable than how you feel.

 

RUNNER’S WORLD QUOTE OF THE DAY:

As a runner, you have to face the truth about yourself on a regular basis, and it makes you more honest. You can’t pretend to be faster than you are. You can’t pretend that you are better prepared than you are. You cannot pretend to be a runner, you actually have to run.
– John Bingham
Advertisements

Weekly Warriors!

Staying Fit and Flexible with a demanding work/daily schedule

Lauren'siPhonepics 500

     Many of us stay busy from the moment we rise in the morning to the time our head hits the pillow at night. Then we wake up and do it all over again the next day. No wonder it’s extremely difficult to find time to stay fit, much less have the energy to even think about exercise some days. Working long hours can take a toll on us mentally and physically. That’s why it’s so important to strike a balance within our lives and take care of the little things.

After graduating college in April, the struggle of transitioning to the real world of working a full time 8-5 job from being a full time student-athlete has been challenging to say the least. I’m currently a competitive distance runner and train every day while working full time, for now.

Upon this new life change, there are many helpful tools I’ve embodied in the past 6 months that have kept me healthy, strong, and fit.

Though I am new to the workforce, I understand the difficulty of balancing your fitness and health with daily demands completely.
But being busy doesn’t have to be an excuse for neglecting fitness and well being. Making the time for fitness as a part of your day is just a matter of consistency and keeping goals in sight.

 

I have developed a ritual of behavior and practices since I started work in June, that have truly helped me stay on top of my fitness and improved overall happiness. There are basically three top categories that my tips fall under:
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep and Hydration
  • Movement

Before we get into any of that, planning is at the root of staying fit and flexible throughout your week!

    Start by determining what goals you have for your own fitness. Then, stick with habits that encourage that behavior in everything you do. Success doesn’t happen overnight, even in little things. Habitually doing these healthy tips will overtime form you into a fitter, happier you.

    For Planning: I start my week with a meal prep on Sundays. I plan out my meals for Monday-Thursday and go grocery shopping with my list in check. Then, I make my breakfast meals, lunches, and dinners for the week. That doesn’t you have to micro manage literally EVERY meal. I normally leave my Fridays-Sundays open in case I have lunch dates or want to go out. Balance is important. I also pack snacks for the work day and label them. This keeps you organized and less stressed when the work week comes and you don’t have time to worry about meals. I eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. Having accessible snacks to power you through the work day helps you stay energized, happy and not HANGRY! No one likes a Hangry co-worker trust me.

    As long as you stay on your food prep schedule and remember to pack all of your meals, you will guarantee fueling yourself at the needed times during the day.

    The last thing I’ll say about planning is making sure you pack your workout bag the night before. If you know you’re going to the gym or for a run after work, you’re more likely to stick with it if you’re prepared. Watch the weather and lay out your workout clothes, shoes, watch the night before if your heading out the door for a run before work. Preparedness leads to accomplishing goals. 

    Besides, I always feel like I’m putting on my super woman uniform when it’s time for me to change up and lace up at the end of the day. Organization is going to take stress off the table and help you get excited about how healthy you are being.

    Nutrition:

    EAT BREAKFAST
    Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day for many reasons. It kick starts your metabolism and stops you from craving the salty sweets later in the day.  It also wakes you up and keeps you alert, instead of famished and drowsy in the morning. Cut up fruit on Sunday, throw it in zippies and place them in the freezer for the week. Boom, you have a perfect, energizing and delicious breakfast on the go.

    All you have to do is pop it in the blinder and head out the door in the morning. Easy.

    EAT SMALL SNACKS
    I have several small snacks throughout the day. My nutrition needs require me to fuel my aggressive, high mileage workouts. So, I eat certain foods at specific times during the day.
    My general rule though- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. It will let you know when it needs food. I like to eat my breakfast after my run in the morning or if I don’t run in the morning, when I wake up.

    I like to eat a mid-morning snack at about 9:00-10:00am.

    This normally consists of: fruit, oats, or granola and yogurt. Maybe a bag of trail mix or mixed nuts. Nuts are great for energy and they are a healthy fat!!
    Lunch

    I take my lunch break anywhere between 12:00PM-1:00PM I make sure to get protein, fiber, and fruit and grains in my lunch. You need a solid, balanced lunch to get you over the hump of the day.

    Mid-afternoon snack

    This is essential in killing that nasty afternoon blah feeling. Just a little pick me up can go a long way in creating a positive mental state for the rest of the day. I’ll eat some sweet potato chips or cheese and crackers, or crackers and peanut butter around 3:00PM. I like to call these snacks-“hunger killers”. I’ll even write that on my zip-locks at times and my co-workers make fun of me. But I get the last laugh when I’m buzzing around the office on a natural energy high and everyone else is on a sugar spiral.

    Pre run/workout snack

    Okay, if you are running or working out after work and you get off around 5:00PM, I suggest apple sauce or a banana or a granola/cliff bar of some sort. Something small with energy to help you get started for your workout.

    I know that seems like a lot. Eating throughout the day can seem impossible or annoying but not if you PLAN. You can label zip lock baggies for times to eat your snacks like I do. OR even set alarms on your phone when it’s snack time.

    DON’T GRAB THE SUGAR
    My biggest tip for nutrition, if I can chose just one is- don’t be fooled by grabbing the candy bar, soda or sugar filled snacks!! It may seem like a quick fix that will give you energy but you will CRASH.

    Also, added sugars are so bad for your overall health. Instead, grab fruits. They have all the natural sugar you need and always leave you feeling better for longer. Eating small snacks throughout the day will help improve your digestion and keep your metabolism running efficiently. Snacking won’t leave you constantly hungry either like when you eat a huge meal and get hungry a few hours later.

    STAY HYDRATED
    I cannot stress enough the importance of WATER. If you are tired, drink a glass of water. It will wake you up and you will function more efficiently on water rather than soda or sugary drinks.
    Also, dehydration causes headaches which are no fun at the office. Water facilitates proper digestion and fuels the muscles for workouts. Try to drink a full glass before bed and when you wake up too. Think about when you sleep-the body is depleted for 8 hours more or less. So replenishing fluids is a must!! When you get fatigued and space out, drink! drink! drink!  We are 70% water so it makes sense to keep the oxygen flowing with H20.

    SLEEP
    Now that we’ve covered nutrition and hydration, I’d like to stress the importance of SLEEP. Most professional athletes get 8-10 hours of sleep a night. I know the idea of getting 10 hours of sleep seems like a far away dream in itself. But you wouldn’t show up to work drunk right? Well, lack of sleep causes the body to be “physiologically drunk” in a sense. It’s the same type of stress and you won’t be at your best. 

    Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep and see the difference it makes. Plan out your sleep schedule. I realize that with a busy schedule, several other demands after work can hinder sleep. But making the time to sleep will make the biggest improvements because that is when the body heals and recovers. Your muscles don’t reap the benefits of a workout during a session but when you sleep!!

    GET MOVING
    The last item I want to touch on is being active!! If you work in an office job or have a daily schedule that requires you to be in one place for a while, this will help.
    Don’t sit for more than 45 minutes at a time.

    Get up, walk around and go get some water. Use the times you get up from your desk as a way to reconnect with your muscles. My co-workers ask me if I ever sit still. 
    To me, that’s a huge compliment. I really don’t stay still very long. Always move around when you get the chance. Take standing breaks! I alternate between standing and sitting during the day. If you have stairs in your office, use them instead of the elevator!
    Some stretches I like to do during moving breaks are:
    • standing quad stretch
    • toe touches
    • standing or sitting russian twists
    • calf pumps
    • arm pulls
    • back arches and hamstring stretch
    Okay. I know it sounds a little weird but when I go to the bathroom, I do leg swings, lateral leg lifts and standing free squats.
    Do them for a count like 3-5 each time you go to the bathroom. If I let my body actually stretch and move the way it needed to at my desk, I would get some pretty odd looks for sure.
    Plus, it’s not like I’m wearing athletic gear. You can use the privacy to shake it out and not get weird looks.
    At your desk, have good posture. This can open the airway and help you breathe and focus better. But try not to sit straight up at your desk for long periods. Sit slightly back in your chair with hips tucked under. This is actually much better for your body than being slouched over or fully erect at your desk because it takes stress off of your lower back.

    Also, sitting decreases hip flexibility. So it’s super important to keep the hips flexible and moving throughout the day to battle stiffness. Do hip circles when you can and rotate the hips forward. Do calf pumps at your desk too.

    On Lunch Breaks, GET OUT OF THE OFFICE!

    One of my co-workers goes for a walk every day on her lunch breaks. I think that’s just perfect. Don’t be a sad panda and stay cooped up, overworking yourself, scarfing down a microwavable meal at your desk. If it’s a beautiful day, eat lunch outside. Call a friend or plan a lunch date at your favorite cafe. Do anything to get out and remind yourself that you are more than the work you do everyday!

    Taking a breather and finding harmony between the mind, body, and soul keeps everything fit and flexible. It’s so important to keep your mind and spirit fit too because they all work together as one. Read a book, write a poem, or write what you’re feeling in a journal on breaks. Staying in touch with your feelings and overall balance is the key to keeping you a fit machine. Don’t dismiss that.
    Doing stretches and movements during the day keeps muscles fluid and flexible instead of stiff and immobile.
    I like to do circular motions with my wrists, arms, feet and shoulders. The body responds well to circular rhythmic motions.
    Repeating these motions soothes your body and increases flexibility. By incorporating these stretches and exercises daily, you’re going to elongate the muscles and increasing blood flow throughout your body.
    I can tell such a significant improvement in my body’s flexibility over the last 6 months of implanting these into my muscle memory. I even feel more flexible and ready for my workouts than I did in the spring during track season in college. That’s because I’ve made it a point to do these every day!
    Finally, remember that these are only a few tips that can help you stay fit and flexible despite your demanding schedule. I really feel that I am more balanced and fit living a lifestyle like this. I know that if you give some of these tips a try, you’ll see improvements too!

    It starts with a positive mindset. Don’t get discouraged, just take it a day at a time and BREATH. 🙂

    We may not always be able to control our circumstances 100% but as one of my coaches always told me- “You can control your attitude and your effort”.

    Thanksgiving 

     

     

     

     

    Celebrating God’s many blessings through

    Thanksgiving and praise every day throughout November.

     

    Day one- Grace

    Day two- Friendship

    Day three- protection

    Day four- dreams and vision

    Day five- relentless pursuit

    Day six- encouragement

    Day seven- faith

    Day eight-Hope

    Day nine- resilience

    Day ten-

    thank you for my intellectual blessings but that it doesn’t hinder my want to worship you and love you and just be in your presence.(I don’t always want to obsess over what is and understand everything at one time, only God can do that; but that I want to just be still and come into your presence)

    Day eleven- New beginnings 🌚✨ dreams

    Day twelve- boldness of the Holy Spirit in me

    Day thirteen- Rest

    Day fourteen- God’s perfect timing

    Day fifteen- Constant assurance of your love and presence with me

    Day sixteen- healing

    Day seventeen- knowing me

    Day eighteen- clear vision

    Day nineteen- firm faith

    Day twenty- strength

    Day twenty-one- joyfulness and community

    Day twenty two- Friendship

    Day twenty three- my identity in Christ 

    Day twenty four- passion

    Day twenty five- full moon and your light✨

    Day twenty six- Family and a knowing Thankful heart

    Day twenty seven- my Daddy 

    Day twenty eight- Love

    Fresh Start🌿👣💪🏽❤️✨

    Hello blogging world, 
    My name is Lauren Alexandria Scott but you can call me “Lolo”-one of my many nicknames since running cross country. I’m a newly aged 24 year old millennial from GA living in Birmingham,AL for now. I recently graduated from UAB & after debating on whether to submit various writings, tips, & thoughts if you will..I’ve decided to release them by blogging finally!

    My suggestions,writings are not the perfect solution for everyone or “truth” for everyone but it’s what I believe has worked for me and I feel like I can be of use to others trying to better themselves! 🙂

    I’ve been running competitively for 8 years and counting and highly value balance between the mind, body and spirit. I ran cross country and track throughout HS and D1 in college all four years. I’m currently an “ambassador” for Skechers Performance & training every single day to improve myself to the elite level in distance running. But I’m not just a runner. I have a wide range of interests and knowledge about health, fitness, literature, faith, nutrition and much more. 

    My blogs are a work in progress & I’ve sort of had these kept to myself until being encouraged lately to display them & I want to encourage others to operate at their highest frequency and spread love and joy in whatever they do. Even if they’re weird like me. I’ll add these little by little.

    So take my blogs or leave em, I hope they contribute to you in some way:)
    For my readers, I’ll be focusing primarily on: 

    -Physical/strength training tips 
    -Running(basics for beginners to elite tips)

    -stretching

    -Nutrition for healthy lifestyle & nutrition for athletes!!

    -Hydration and sleep 

    -Train your brain!! (Reading/questioning things)

    -Relationships 

    -Supplements and vitamins 

    -Essential oils 

    -Race day eating!!

    -Faith and spiritual endurance, life quandaries 

    -Fashion of course 

    -OH, and poetry(if you’re lucky..I see my poetry as a window to my soul so it’s vulnerable)