I have started coaching for an ironman next year. I was extolling the virtues of the ‘basic week’ template. There is nothing rocket science about this but I really believe in it. You just need to look at your week and schedule various types of workouts at the same times each week. It is no different than doing laundry every Sunday afternoon or taking a night class. You schedule the sessions and before long it becomes routine. It is just an appointment on your calendar, just something you do. Easy stuff but it makes a difference.
In this meeting I pulled out a copy of some of my workouts from last summer. As most people that have ‘real’ jobs I do most of my long exercise sessions on the weekends out of necessity. For me this means that I do a long group ride on Saturday mornings, a long run on Sunday mornings and then a shorter recovery ride on Sunday afternoon.
During the week, I get on the bike on Tuesday and Thursday mornings – either on the trainer or a small group ride at sun up. The bike gets 4 sessions a week.
With regard to running, I like to do speed sessions on Tuesdays and tempos on Thursday, both during lunch. I will also pick up a few miles on Wednesday and Friday mornings – nothing special just 4 – 6 easy miles. The bike gets 5 sessions a week
The swim takes place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at lunch – that just happened to be when Master’s Swim was meeting. I still like to swim at lunch during the dog days of summer.
It was summer time so the strength training was all but nonexistent. I would do an ab workout here and there but nothing structured.
I showed this basic week to my friend and pulled out a blank weekly calendar. We were going to decide what would work best for him. The very first question I asked him was what day of the week he wanted off. I believe an off day is of utmost importance and stress them to anyone that I coach. I talk about the gains not coming during the working sessions but during the recovery. How it does not do any good to go out and beat himself to a pulp, over do it, not recover and then skip or poorly perform the next session.
So I asked him, “What works best for you as an off day, Monday or Friday?” He looked at my basic week and asked, “Where is your off day?”
I had made a mistake. This was one of those do what I say not what I do moments. All I could say was that I should take a day off – I tried to justify it by saying that I think swims and a strength training session are non impact and not that strenuous and that they are not load bearing and that they are kind of like days off, etc, etc, etc, …
He had a very good point.
I am 4 weeks into my 16 week marathon plan for the Rock’n Roll New Orleans race on March 4th (12 weeks to go). I have meticulously made a training plan that incorporates some very challenging sessions (several races at half marathon all the way to 30k), includes step back weeks and recovery days each week.
So, how am I doing? Friday was a scheduled day off. I did not run Friday. Maybe I can actually apply some of these principles to my running this year. Maybe I can put together a consistent 4 months of running and nail my marathon goals. I preach the SMARTER not HARDER day in and day out. Well, I’m listening this time!
I took Friday completely off ---- (except for upper body strength training).