There are plenty of books out there describing the theory of training plans; how to design a season’s training, how to build each macrocycle, example workouts to go in each microcycle, a few rules for putting workouts in a microcycle, but then things start to get hazy. If you don’t have any commitments outside of work or you don’t have to work, then its relatively straightforward to put together your diary for the week. However, for the vast majority of us that simply isn’t the case, when most of us look at our diaries for the week there are a fair few ‘immovable objects’ in there.
For example, this is what my week looks like with the childrens’ activities, school runs and events I’m committed too already in it.
So we can see that I’m doing the school run by bike on 3 days, I’m down to one ‘swim taxi’ trip, I have a weekly race with a virtual Time Trial Team (on Zwift), a group intervals session that I’m leading and then a couple of events I’ve agreed to do pacing for. This is a fairly typical week; I probably race 1 or 2 weekends a month, so even that is not unusual.
The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that this is week 3 of base 2; so the workouts this week, and throughout ‘base training’, are about about building a foundation for the more intense work to be done in spring.
The team time trial (WTRL in the diary) will be a ‘sweet spot’ workout (mostly just below LTHR) with some bursts into the higher zones – so that’s one key bike workout checked off. Then the pacing of the Tatton Half Marathon will tick the long run box in almost exactly the correct zone for a long run.
I’m also looking to get in; another 50-60km of ‘base’ running (anything from recovery pace up to aerobic threshold pace), two bike workouts with around an hour of VO2 Max pace or higher (in total, not in one block!). Three strength sessions and three flexibility sessions.
Some of my readers will notice that I’m not observing the 80:20 rule for running and that it will probably be closer to 95:5 and I’m mitigating this by adjusting the bike workouts the other way. The reason for this is that my ‘A’ goal for the winter/spring season is the White Peak Marathon in May 2022 and hard run workouts present a much higher injury risk than equivalent bike workouts, therefore instead of doing hard run workouts so far before my ‘A’ race I’m using the strength workouts to build strength and the bike workouts to build the ‘top-end’ cardiovascular performance. This will leave me focusing on base mileage and ‘technique intervals’ (lots of strides and lots of drill work) when running, since this presents a lower injury risk and focuses on building ‘running economy‘. As the A race gets closer then I’ll switch things around to do harder run workouts to ensure there is specificity in my training in the last couple of months before the race.
Moving on to the crux of the planning…
Monday; since Sunday is normally long run day then Monday is very often rest day and so it is for this Monday – a couple of very easy bike rides and a super steady run should cover it.
Next I look where to put the two hard bike workouts; I don’t want them the day before the race (let alone the same day), so that means a choice of Tuesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday – Tuesday is an obvious choice, I’m well rested from the rest day and it gives a full day to recover before the race. Now things get trickier, its very likely that I will have pretty fatigued legs by Friday with a race the previous day and the group intervals in the morning, which means putting a hard workout on the day of or the day before the long run. The other complication is that with Tatton Park being close to home I’ll probably cycle there and back which will add some volume and time – therefore I’m going to put the other hard bike workout on the Saturday and then decide what to do with it depending on whether I am pacing the 10km or not.
With those placed, and the bike rides too and from Tatton added I can now look at how to get the rest of the run volume in. I’m going to assume about 60 TSS (roughly an hour’s easy running) on Saturday – if I end up pacing the Tatton 10km it will be either 40 or 45 minute pacing which will still be around 60 TSS.
I then need to split the remaining running across Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – Wednesday doesn’t have any hard runs so I can put a good chunk of the volume in there – 100 TSS (approx 1 hour 40 of easy running). I’ll put an hour in on Thursday, but I’m aware that will depend how busy I am at work since I’m already taking an early lunch to do the race. Finally, Tuesday, I don’t have to do the school run which means I can make one of the group runs in the morning – these generally don’t give enough volume which means I either need to add some volume before or after or do a second run that day. Since the group runs start at 6.30am I’m generally pretty reluctant to start earlier and I’m also pretty ready for breakfast by the end – so a second run it is; I can always scratch it from the schedule if I do wake up early or feel inclined to extend the group run.
I generally don’t get time to do strength work when I’ve done school run as well; which means Tuesday, Friday and Sunday become the default days for strength. Then I pick any 3 other days for the flexibility work.
And there we have the first version…
Finally, I look at how my Fatigue, Fitness and Form will vary during the week.
What I can see now is that I’m going to go below my self-imposed floor of -11 TSB by quite some margin – which means I need to move or remove some of the running volume. I can’t do much about the weekend’s runs, so that means I need to move some of Wednesday and Thursday’s volume into Tuesday.
Three or four iterations of trial and error then results in…
Which doesn’t look too bad, the biggest issue is that I’ve probably had to cut a bit too much of the mid-week volume – at this stage in the year I’m looking for fairly consistent amounts of volume and that should be reflected by a nice smooth rise in the Fatigue (Blue line on the graph) – however, the upside is that it should leave me pretty fresh for the weekend which is probably best if other people are relying on me to hold a consistent pace.
There you have it, how I plan a week of training. Although a couple of final notes; very often I will copy and paste the previous week and then adjust it (using much of the process described above). Additionally, it is very much ‘my training’ and very specific to what I’m doing at the moment – but hopefully the insight into the thought process will help you when it comes to tailoring and planning your own training.
Come back soon for part 2 of this post where I go through what actually happened!