I meant at some stage to talk about this, but I didn't want to over-complicate an already complicated subject! As I have been sorry to see that a number of people have been suffering from injuries I thought it was about time. I've also been working on the plan again as you've probably guessed from the picture 😊
Thanks first of all, and once again, to Linda for sharing her experiences with the University physio yesterday. Very insightful, and I wish you a speedy recovery, Linda! If you haven't seen Linda's post, it's just a few below this one.
Anyway, what was that 9 day cycle all about?
Well, a few months back, someone posted on the Bridge to 10K forum that they couldn't manage to keep up with only one day's rest between runs, they needed more recovery time. They asked for help with how to manage the problem of fitting 3 runs into a week. My first thought was: why don't you use a 9 day week instead of a 7 day one? And I nearly commented to that effect, but I thought the person would think I was nuts 😊
The idea stayed with me though, and of course I Googled it. Straight away I found an article from Runner's World about how the American elite runner Meb Keflezighi had found that switching to a 9-day training cycle had helped him, as an aging athlete, to keep on competing injury free. The 9-day cycle afforded him more time for rest and recovery between the harder runs. I found a few more articles on the subject (see some links below), and when we started talking about a half marathon plan for this forum, the idea kept tapping me on the shoulder.
Of course a major caveat, that was mentioned in some of the articles and also raised by many people here, is that most people operate according to some sort of 7-day schedule, which makes it harder to fit life around the type of plan I proposed. At the time I was not able to overcome this issue...
... but hey, I said this was an experiment, right? Work never stops on this plan, and here is a link to the latest version of it:
I'm not saying anyone has to switch over to the new version; I'm not sure if I would want to myself, although it fits in ok with where I am at the moment - I would be in the middle of Week 6 and I'd have to do a speed run on Saturday instead of a 14k long run, but I could probably live with that.
I definitely missed a few things in the earlier iterations of the plan, and I apologise for that. But your comments so far have been amazing, and so here is a bullet list of the notable changes:
★ There are at least two rest days between each of the "hard" runs, which are highlighted in red. You will note that this means there are only two runs per week, so I have included some optional extra runs in case anyone feels compelled to run three times a week, but I urge you to remember that this is based upon a 9-day cycle plan with three runs per cycle.
★ That said, I have rearranged things so that all the long runs are on a Sunday, and I have had to add a few extra rest/cross days to make this work with the longer rest periods. I think of these as a bonus.
★ I have made the Speed workouts optional. A number of you have mentioned difficulties with this - special shout out to homlyme, hope you'll be ok!! xx Particularly if you are running your first half marathon, although speed workouts have very good fitness implications, they are really not necessary for you. They can be saved for another time.
★ I have included something called "CHECK IN" for want of a better name - any suggestions? Thanks to Sqkr and ju-ju- for this idea! It is really good to take a bit of time every now and then to take stock, and really question any niggles or other concerns you may have. So I put in three workouts, for which I suggest a walk or light jog, where you check all over your body for any signs of pain or tension, write down your thoughts, think and talk about them.
Anyway, (and sorry btw that this is a late post, normal service should be resumed next week!) I hope you all have a great weekend running!!!