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Information Overload, Optimal Training Paces & How to Know When You Can Handle More Training: Training Plan Rescue

by RunnersConnect: Coaching Community, Running Experts, Inspiring Runners, No Fluff Blog
March 22nd 2023

There’s a lot of content for new runners just getting started and of course a ton of books, videos, etc for experienced runners trying to break through plateaus and achieve that final 5-10%.

Hello, fellow runners. I'm your host, Finn Melanson. And this is the run to the top podcast, the podcast dedicated to making you a better runner with each and every episode we are created and produced by the expert team of coaches at runners connect dot net where you can find the best running information on the internet as well as training plans to fit every runner in every budget. I am really excited about today's training plan and rescue because I think we're covering a training concept that often gets overlooked. You see there's a lot of content for new runners and those just getting started out and of course a ton of books, videos, et cetera for experienced runners trying to break through plateaus and achieve that final 5-10% of improvement. But what about those of you in the middle, not completely new to running, but certainly nowhere near your potential with a ton left to learn. Well, today's an episode for you. Coach Jeff is going to analyze the training of mike boiling and help answer some of the most difficult questions like how to prevent information overload, how to train optimally when your fitness is changing so rapidly and how to know when it's time or when you're ready to increase your volume or intensity.

Ready for another awesome lesson. Let's get into it. S smart protein takes the guesswork out of finding the optimal protein amount and blend for you by drawing data from your wearables and fitness apps such as Strava Peloton and Apple Wash to provide specific dosing recommendations after every workout. Before we get to our conversation, I wanted to talk about the importance of electrolytes, especially in the winter. Maintaining healthy electrolyte levels is not only important for your run but your recovery and overall health as well. And that's why we recommend all runners checkout element this winter. It's loaded with everything you need to replenish your electrolyte balance with 1000 mg of sodium, 200 mg of potassium and 60 mg of magnesium. And it doesn't include anything you don't need like extra sugar or anything artificial. Stay tuned for how you can get a free sample pack at L M N T dot com. Forward slash runners connect. Hey, everyone. It's coach Jeff back with you here with another edition of training plan and rescue. This week, we're gonna be diving into the training of Mike bowling.

A quote unquote newer runner who has been improving rapidly and struggling to find the right efforts for all of his runs and workouts because things just seem to be changing so fast being new. He's also struggling to figure out how to fit everything in like many of you listening, he loves reading, listening and watching everything about running. But this can sometimes lead to information overload. This gets Mike in a situation where he's doing too much or sometimes paralysis by analysis. Finally, because of the rapid improvements, Mike is constantly upping his training volumes and intensities but is struggling to find the right balance that is going to allow him to train at the level he needs to achieve his goals, which is a three hour marathon. The result is inconsistent workouts and a nagging achilles injury. So as you can see, Mike is dealing with quite a few issues here. They're all somewhat unique, but I think all of them relate back to him really just starting out on his running journey. Now I say that he's a quote unquote new runner because he's only been running for about a year and a half and maybe only training seriously for about a year of that.

And while this obviously isn't new as in, he's just starting out in the first couple of weeks, it does mean that he's still new in terms of learning his body when it comes to running. I find that knowing yourself really takes 6-8 years of consistent training and because of that, you can run into a lot of the same problems that Mike is having. And after our experience at our last Orlando retreat, I find that a lot of runners that are in the first year to three years of running deal with this as well. So that's why I thought this would be a great uh training plane rescue to look at. So enough background on Mike, let's take a deep dive into how I think Mike should approach these problems. Problem. one rapidly changing optimal training paces, we talk a lot about optimal training paces here at runners connect. And I think it's a critical component to achieving peak performance on race day that said it's less important for newer runners. In fact, running on the slower side of optimal workout paces is actually a good thing. Remember my talk on the continuum of the thresholds from a few weeks ago. If you didn't have a chance to listen or you're not sure what I'm talking about, you can find it at runners connect dot net slash 583.

Basically, in that podcast, I talked about how the primary energy system for racing distances from five K to the marathon comes primarily from the aerobic system with every workout or set workout pace. There is a continuum of paces that starts at aerobic, then progresses to aerobic threshold, then lactate threshold, then anaerobic threshold and so on and so forth. Thus, even if you're on the slow end of your optimal pace for a lactate threshold or temple run, for example, you're still getting huge benefits from your aerobic threshold in short, the workout is not a wash and is still effective for your long term progress, even if it might be slower than optimal. And this is much better than being faster. And again, I go into more depth about this in that podcast. Now, this is especially true for newer runners who don't have the aerobic background experience, runners do. The aerobic system takes years and years to develop and it's often the big missing piece for those who take up running later in life compared to those who spent many years just building their aerobic capacity. In short, my advice to Mike is to not worry about being optimal at this point.

The workouts are still helping you make progress. That said, I know that's not easy for runners to hear. So another thing Mike can do is implement racing into his training a little bit more frequently. Something along the lines of once per month, I think five K to 10-K races are the perfect distance for something not too long that can still give you a good data point. If you don't have a big goal race coming up, you can just replace a workout with a race and that'll give you a nice data point to set your new training paces. If you do have a big goal race coming up like Mike has, then you can also do something I learned from Alberto Salazar now. Yes, I know Alberto Azar has a lot of unscrupulous connections. But honestly, his thoughts on training are still some of the best in the world. Anyway, when training gale Ru not wanting to sacrifice the volume of training needed to reach the podium at the elite level, yet still work on Rupp's finishing speed and racing tactics. Seller began having ru run workouts after some of his races. So you can use this idea as well to incorporate races into your training a little bit more efficiently.

So I'm gonna give you three examples of how and in this, in these examples, it would be your goal race would be something like a marathon. So if you wanted to run a five K, you could do something along the lines of your normal race. Warm up, run the five K race, take a 10 to 15 minute rest until you're fully recovered. Then do five times 1000 m at 10-K to half marathon pace with about 60 seconds rest. This is a great workout for improving your lactate threshold. Now, the nice thing about these workouts, this workout and probably all the workouts I'll talk about in general are that one. You get a great race effort that you can use as a data point and it's also pretty high volume and working on a separate energy system. So the second idea is again, do your normal work, uh warm up, run a 10-K race, take 10, 15 minutes rest, full recovery. Then eight times 60 seconds at three K to five K pace or eight times 60 seconds, he'll repeats with an equal rest. Now, this is gonna help develop your speed and it's gonna teach you how to run fast when tired.

So, again, another great workout for the marathon because you're getting in a good hard effort and then working on some speed while you're tired and a final idea for you is do your normal race warm up, do a five K race then take 5 to 10 minutes rest and then five K again at marathon pace. So this is a great way to work on lactate clearance. Something we've talked a lot about on the podcast in the past and lactate clearance is basically improving the rate at which your body can clear lactate while still running at marathon pace, depending on the pace and your course layout for these types of workouts, you can either run the course again and yeah, I know it may look a little silly but you know, we all wear short shorts anyway or find a nearby track or traffic tree road next to the race. It does take a little bit of planning, but it's one of the most effective ways to in this case, if you're in the situation is the same as Mike to be able to include racing into your schedule a little bit more frequently while not sacrificing the training to your big goal race. Now, remember that these workouts can take a lot out of you more than a normal workout because you're also running hard during the race before.

Therefore, I suggest no more of these than once per month or once every six weeks. This should give Mike and you, if you struggle with this as well a good way to consistently get good data on what your fitness level is. Now, before I get into the second problem of information overload. Let's hear from Finn and our sponsors protein often takes a back seat to carbohydrates when we focus on our nutrition. But getting adequate protein, especially post workout is absolutely critical for recovery. But there's so much conflicting information about just how much our body needs to be optimal. Is it 0.8 or one g per pound of body weight? Does it matter if you're male or female? Enter El O OS smart protein takes the guesswork out of finding the optimal protein amount and blend for you by drawing data from your wearables and fitness apps such as Strava Peloton and Apple Wash provides specific dosing recommendations. After every workout. O smart protein comes in either a grass fed way or P protein and can include other functional ingredients like probiotics and ashwagandha to help you recover faster and support your goals.

Take the guesswork out of all this and get the right amount of protein. After every workout go to L O dot health and enter code RT TT for 50% off your first month. That's E L O dot Health and enter code RT TT at checkout for 50% off your first month. Did you know that you're likely to sweat as much, if not more in the winter than in the summer? That's because we often wear such warm clothes to start our runs, which leads to more sweating towards the end. Plus the sweat gets absorbed by our clothes. So it's harder to notice. Now you already know that when you sweat, you lose electrolytes, which are essential for your body's best performance. But you've also been told that too much salt is bad for you. So it can get confusing to know what to do. The truth is that athletes healthy eaters and heavy sweaters all need more sodium and just about everyone needs more potassium in their diet and we don't need a bunch of sugar and artificial junk along the way. Element is the hydration solution designed with athletes and everyone who sweats in mind element comes in lots of salty flavors that even the saltiest sweaters will love such as citrus raspberry and orange.

It even comes unflavored for those of you who prefer the clean salty taste. That's why we recommend all runners checkout element this winter. It's loaded with everything you need to replenish your electrolyte balance with 1000 mg of sodium, 200 mg of potassium and 60 mg of magnesium. And it doesn't include anything you don't need like extra sugar or anything artificial even better. They are currently running a special deal where you can get a free element sample pack with any order. So order your favorite flavor and get a free sample pack to try out new flavors or share with your running friends to claim this exclusive deal. You must go to drink L M N T dot com back slash runners connect Problem two information overload. Now this is a problem. I know everyone faces. It's not unique to Mike. I fell victim to it a lot when I first started out and I still struggle with it today. There are few issues or potential struggles that comes with information overload.

You end up trying to do everything and end up overtraining or basically wearing yourself out mentally for most of us with lives outside of running. We eventually get to the point where we don't have the time and then we get in the crisis of Oh man, what should I do? I know this happens to me quite a bit, especially if I'm not able to complete the whole routine or if I start skipping some of the, the exercises and things that I've left left last I leave the workout, feeling frustrated and like I'm not getting everything in and I get down on myself. This usually leads to two outcomes not doing anything because you're burnt out or just unsure if anything even works. Even if you have all the time in the world or you just start having major confidence issues in your plan. Is this working? Am I tired? Should I have felt this way during my last workout? It leads to a pretty bad spiral of questioning everything about your training and really taking the joy of running and training. So here's my advice. Focus on the Basics 1st. That means 2-3 core or injury prevention, strength workouts throughout the week and a quick and easy post workout stretch and recovery team. Then just work on progressing these basics, more reps, more time and attention or more resistance.

Fancy workouts and routines can be fun. But the basics are where you're gonna make the most gains. So focus on those first. Now, if you want to add or try anything new, here are two ways to go about it. First try something in your offseason or the time in between races. This is a great way to actually make use of the time between races and not just fall off the wagon since you have more time and you're not hyper focused on a race goal. You can try something new and see how you like it if you do keep it in your routine. The next option is a trying something like a 4-6 week challenge but only one at a time Focusing on one thing means you don't get overwhelmed, adding the kitchen sink to your plant. And keeping it to a 4-6 week time frame allows you to test and see what you think. Once again, if you love it, keep it, if not give yourself the go ahead to do another 4-6 week challenge. I know this lesson is a lot easier said than done. I personally keep a list of YouTube videos, articles and podcasts with ideas that I love or things that I want to try. Then I make a list and do the 4-6 week challenge. Like I mentioned, this has really helped me to con continue to explore new training concepts and workouts without getting overwhelmed how to know when you can handle more training.

Now, I'll admit this is a tough one understanding just how fast you can up your training volumes and intensities is such an individual thing. And to be honest, the event's answer is often patience but being patient is not something runners are known for. Trust me that said before I get into some tips on how you can know when to increase your training volume and intensity and how to do it. Let me give you some tips. I've shared with runners at our retreats that I think have really helped. First. Health and consistency are more important than volume or intensity. An extra 5 to 10 miles or kilometers per week isn't going to make a huge difference on training compared to being consistent, months upon months, You could record a record breaking four weeks of training. But if you finish that month, hurt and spend the next 2-3 weeks, rehabbing, all of those great workouts and weeks of training are basically down the tube. This is what always helped me keep things dialed back. 2nd. Remember that you're in this for life. I know we all have huge goals we want to achieve and big races on the calendar.

But remember that the next race isn't your last for many runners I talk with this is probably the best advice that I can give them when they stop thinking about the next race and only focusing on the next race and start seeing the big picture. That's when they're able to make really big gains in their fitness and finally get healthy for those that are constantly injured, pushing your limits is great, but don't get so caught up in the next race and then the next one and forget how things look 12 and five years down the road. Now, as for tips on how to actually know when you can handle more training and how to go about it. First, after each week of training, you do do a mental body check. Think about, do I feel completely recovered? Am I sleeping good? Do I have any ne niggles or injuries or anything like that? Am I eating well and just generally assess how you feel and feel recovered if you pass then you can try one of these two strategies to move up your training first, allow your body to adapt to the training load. Now, I like to recommend doing this in two ways.

First. When you're increasing mileage, you do cutback weeks and you could also include this with intensity. So you do 2 to 3 weeks up. So where you're increasing your volume or your intensity and then one week down where you bring back down the volume and intensity. So over the course of a six week period, you would have two or three weeks up, one down, two or three weeks up, one down. This is a great way to give your body little micro adjustments or micro recovery periods to make sure that you're properly absorbing the training. Second, think of increasing your volumes intensities, frequencies in 6 to 8 week blocks. So focus on increasing one of these for 6 to 8 weeks and then give yourself a flat line for 2 to 4 weeks to see how you feel. After that. You want to give yourself ample time for your body to adjust. If you just keep increasing every two weeks with one week down, eventually you're gonna hit a cap. So before you hit that ceiling, you want to give yourself a break, give yourself a body a little bit of time to adjust. Now, I mentioned this just a second ago, but along the same lines, you don't want to increase more than one factor at a time.

Now, the factors that I consider to be most important are your speeds. So all the speed workouts, your paces, those types of things, your volume and that is your training, your miles per week and then your frequency. So this could be how many days you're running per week. So when you're working on increasing anything in your training, take it one step at a time. So if you want to increase your volume, increase your volume and keep the frequency the same and keep your pace at least the same, if not slower than what you've been doing before. And then likewise, if you want to increase your speed, make sure that you keep the volume the same or maybe even lower the volume. And then you can work on increasing your speed workouts or paces and seeing how your body adapts to that. And by again keeping your mileage at the same rate or even lower, you give your body ample time to recover and make sure that your body can handle it. And then once again after the 6-8 weeks, make sure that you give yourself a 2-3 week period of leveling off where you just kind of see how your body responds to the increases that you made over the prior for 5-6 weeks.

I want to thank Mike for submitting his training. I hope this really helped give you a good look at some overarching themes about your training. I know we didn't get into real specifics about specific miles per week or volumes or things like that. But I think most of the problems that Mike is struggling with come down to bigger picture ideas. And I think once he can reframe his mind about how to approach his training, he's gonna be a lot better off. And I hope along the way listening to this helped you see how you can look at your own training and avoid the same mistakes that Mike might be making as well. So I hope you enjoyed this training plan rescue. If you did feel free to give us a comment on any of our social platforms where we post this Facebook, Instagram or even just send us an email and let us know if you learn something, if you really love it. Um We're also looking at maybe approaching this in a different way and doing some back and forth interviews with some athletes. So definitely give us your feedback. If you'd like to hear something like that, we're always trying to make content that best suits you and perhaps helps you as a runner and improve and enjoy your running more. Thanks so much guys for listening to me today and hope you have a great run and we'll talk to you soon.

Thanks for listening to the Run to the Top podcast. I'm your host, Fin Milan and as always our mission here is to help you become a better runner with every episode. Please consider connecting with me on Instagram at wasatch fin and the rest of our team at runners connect also consider supporting our show for free with a rating on the Spotify and App podcast players. And lastly, if you love the show and want bonus content behind the scenes experiences with our guests and premier access to contests and giveaways and subscribe to our newsletter by going to runners connect dot net back slash podcast. Until next time. Happy trading.

Information Overload, Optimal Training Paces & How to Know When You Can Handle More Training: Training Plan Rescue
Information Overload, Optimal Training Paces & How to Know When You Can Handle More Training: Training Plan Rescue
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