One of the staples of my current training schedule is some sort of speed session on Wednesdays. I will do a tempo run, a fartlek, or some configuration of comfortably hard running. In reviewing my training logs for the past few weeks (you should do that on a regular basis) what I found is that I am not fully recovered from my sessions. My second set of structured work felt harder and the pace was not nearly as consistent. For me a typical workout may be 2 x 3 miles at threshold pace. What I have forgotten is a cardinal rule of Jack Daniels’ training system: always know the purpose of the workout. The purpose of doing the speed sessions is to train the body to run at that speed with solid form. If you are running fast with bad form you are inviting injury and practicing bad habits. The biggest enemies of good form are poor strength and fatigue. If you are not strong enough in the right places you will not be able to run with good form. For example if your hips are not strong enough to stabilize the knee at impact, energy that could be used to propel you forward is being applied to your knee, inviting injury. If you are too tired to focus on your form or the muscles are simply spent from your previous effort, you will have similar results. This is important because the key to a successful workout is not the time you spend running the at the target effort, but the time spent recovering for the next bout. When you aren't sure what the recovery time should be, go by feel. Your body knows what it’s doing. Click To TweetYou should be fully recovered and ready to go. When I looked at my training log I found that I was giving myself like 90 seconds to recover from a comfortably hard three miles. Definitely not enough time. So I the next time out I recovered by feel by feel. After running the three miles I paused my watch and walked around the corner. I paid close attention to my breathing while I walked. When I felt pretty good I went back at it for the second set. It made a world of difference. My effort felt better and the pace was closer to the first set than it had been previously. When you are not sure what the recovery time in a workout should be, go by feel. Your body knows what it’s doing.
Enjoy the Run