Planning when and how the easier days, recovery days, and quality days happen will set the tone for the week.
Below is an example of a format from Barry P that I’ll often use with my athletes, lets say the week has 30 miles.
Monday: 3 regenerationTuesday: 6 workoutWednesday: 3 regenerationThursday: 6 workoutFriday: 3 regenerationSaturday: 9 easy long, progression, or tempoSunday: off
Of course those can be re-arranged, I will often place a medium long day before the long run and have two regeneration days in a row. Either way, the format of 3×10%, 2×20%, 1×30% of weekly mileage is a nice way to keep all of the run distances in check.
However, I’ve been testing a new format on myself these last few weeks and have been enjoying it quite a bit. The idea came to me when I heard Kim Jones (2:26 marathoner) mention that she would cover about 75% of her weekly mileage in 3 days and the remaining 4 days would be dedicated to recovery. For example:
Monday: offTuesday: 2.25 regenWednesday: 7.5 workoutThursday: 2.25 regenFriday: 7.5 workoutSaturday: 2.5 regenSunday: 7.5 workout
Of course with the Kim Jones schedule when you start getting into higher volume weeks the long days must be doubles. Doing three 20 mile days with quality in them during a single run may be a bit much for most people. Kim would generally do some harder work in the AM and an easier run later in the day.
The main benefit from the latter model is that 4 days of the week are dedicated to “ultra recovery” with less than 10% of the weekly volume on each of those days. This is in contrast to the Barry P schedule that spreads it out a bit more. Both methods of their merits, and as always the best practice is going to be the one that has you executing your workouts properly, getting adequate recovery, and being happy with how things are going.
However you schedule or format your training days, the first thing to be considered is your schedule. The very long and very short contrast plan would not function well for people that work a 9-5 since it may be too difficult to dedicate so much time to running in a single day, and it’s simply easier to spread it out. Many people with that type of schedule only have that sort of time on the weekend, thus the Barry P format would be preferable to them.
Another very important consideration for a weekly schedule is the rest days, but planning them before you will feel like you need a rest day. Obviously the day or two after a long tempo run should be dedicated to recovery in most cases, however the athlete may not feel like they’re fatigued for another day or two.
Of course I’ve only been testing this for a short time, however I feel this type of weekly schedule will be something I stick with for the time being.
Do you schedule your longer, shorter, harder, and easier days before hand or go with the flow more? Is there a method to your madness?