Shoulder seasons

Hey Everyone! 


No races last weekend – we’re right in the middle of the shoulder season for most training and racing. For most of us there’s nothing on the books for at least a few months, and we might still be coming down from big training blocks and races in the Fall. This time is important for recovery, but it’s also important for building. Shoulder seasons are when we can build our big aerobic bases that we’ll pile our spring work on top of later. They’re also the perfect time to work on strength as well as pure speed and power. Both of these ends of the spectrum are good to develop now, so that when it comes down to building mile upon mile of race pace work and the long intense efforts, it is on a platform of bigger aerobic and muscular strength. Once you get into it with “race fitness” building, it is mostly too late to tinker with your pure speed and power and you are better off layering it all on an aerobic capacity which is already in place. What does this look like for now? Lots of long easy miles, mixed in with some short hill sprints and strides as well as more focused gym work with heavy weights and dynamic plyometrics. It looks like less intense tempo runs and Vo2max workouts – you can keep them in, but the intensity and volume of these should be lower. I’d recommend really taking the next 6 weeks to focus on these elements, and come January when you start a “training plan” (if you are) for a spring race, you will have a higher ceiling to reach towards. 


What I’ve been thinking about this week is the idea of running – especially when you’re not running. My family experienced the flu, directly after a bout with covid. I spent many days not even moving, let alone running. I kept thinking: I know I’ll be better when I feel like going for a run. It was a very disorienting feeling –  not even wanting to run. And then I’d see my friends getting together to run, and see people running down the street, and I’d think: what an ultimate declaration of health. Going for a run is such a statement. It’s saying “I’m alive and healthy, and I’m celebrating what my body and mind can do together through effort and movement”. It’s reinforcing your own vitality to yourself. Boy is that easy to forget and take for granted until you don’t have it. I fantasized about having the physical and mental energy to just run – with no pace or distance in mind, but just the feeling of freely moving my body rhythmically through space. I’m happy to say I’m back there. I’m not running hard or fast yet, but boy am I enjoying the ability to just go out and do it. I guess it’s a good thing to get these kick-in-the-pants reminders not to take for granted the things we love every now and then. So this is my reminder to all of you: if you want to celebrate your health and vitality and gratitude for being alive: go for a run. It’s the best way to celebrate I know. 


On to tomorrow’s workout! Back to Lakeshore and Leslie – 6:05 drills, 6:15 GO time! 


On the theme of both stretching it out and keeping it snappy, we’ll do a workout that addresses those ends. 

  1. 1.5 mile tempo. This is three 800m laps. If you like you can start easy-ish and pick it up slightly every 800m. 3 min rest. Then sets of 400m @ 5K-ish pace, 1:15 min rest, 200m a little quicker. Very slow easy 200m jog recovery back to the start of the 400. Repeat 4-5 times.  
  2. If going by time: 10 min progressive tempo, 3 min easy, 4-5 x 90 seconds @ 5K pace, 1:15 easy, 30 seconds as a long stride – 2 min easy recovery bw sets.  


That is all – see you in the am!