Most runners we come across have hard weeks and easy weeks, but nothing in between. Fact is that the weeks of training at sub-maximum effort are the most vital for your long term prospects of staying injury free and progressing.
Without them you’ll find yourself on a roller-coaster ride where the highs are below your true potential, and the low’s last longer the older you get.
If you’re coming back from a short break or an easier week in training then what follows could be a week of wreckage, or reward. After a single week of lighter running or a complete rest you should be pleasantly surprised at how good you feel. Your body has recovered from and adapted to the harder weeks, you’ve now got more potential than you did two weeks previous.
To Run a Personal Best or Get Back into Training
What you do with this new found potential is up to you. You could:
- Race or run a time trial to find out where you’re ability lies
- Smash a hard week on realising your new found ability
- Rebuild your running fitness for even more returns in months to come
What you decide to do should depend on where your next peak is. If you want to peak for an event this week then do one or two short, fast runs and save your Personal Best for Race Day.
If you want to peak for an event in 2-3 weeks time then shocking your system with another hard week, could give you a final kick of gains. If you’ve got more than a month before you want to be at your best then read on…
Now you’re fitter, you shouldn’t have much trouble taking on the hard week you performed no more than 2 weeks ago. A week with runs averaging 85-90% effort should now feel closer to 75-80% effort and although it may not sound as exciting as finding the limits of your new found ability, you should get a real kick out of crushing, what used to be, a hard week for you.
You’ll get to enjoy running fast and reasonably long without exhausting at the finish of each run or suffer the consequences of it. Your first rebuilding week should have you rating each run around an 8 out of 10.
Your Second Week Rebuilding Fitness
Similar to the details discussed in our post “How to Train for Non-Stop Improvements in your Running“, your second week rebuilding fitness should be fairly tough but not maximium effort.
It should be harder than in your second week back from a long break from running, but you should also be better prepared for it. You should certainly run faster and further, but hold a little back or you’ll have nowhere to go in your next Hard Week!