More Training Progression

Progressing goes beyond basic mathematics (see Training Progression). Another session that makes a regular appearance is what I tend to call my Med-Long Run. On top of a warm up and cool down I am running 20km at a pace between 5:31-4:53/km. The run is over mixed terrain, definitely including a few hills. Onto the basics progress is made by extending the distance gradually out to 30km. Once I have achieved that then the pace can be increased, starting back at the 20km to a range of 4:53-4:35/km. Sounds straight forward, but it isn't quite that simple.

Ideally I'd like to extend the distance each week, but over the last month that hasn't happened. A big part of progressing goes beyond the external numbers and you have take into account the internal load. Being able to complete the session isn't always enough. When I first covered the 20km at the desired pace, the recovery requirement was high. Four days afterwards my legs were flat and struggling. I definitely wasn't ready for another key session. There is a need to balance the rest of training against the cost and benefit of an individual session. Just because you can, doesn't always mean you should.

Is there progression if I run the same distance at the same pace?

Yes, if it becomes easier to complete the run and/or the recovery requirement is less. For those who like to use heart rate an example may be holding 20km at 5:00/km but the average heart rate goes from 168bpm, down to 160bpm and then 154bpm. Another example is if I am ready for another key, hard session after only one day of recovery versus four then I have improved.

The clich├ęs apply. You have to look at the big picture, but the devil is in the details.


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