ARTICLE: Background Analysis


The graph on the left isn't the best quality (I'll upload the full version later), but it shows my mileage development from week to week this year.
It shows that I've had weeks as low as 9.9km and 7.81km during the early stages of the year, and have peaked out just below 80km in the last few weeks. I was supposed to break this and close in on 90km this week, but injury may curtail that ambition.
Background
If you want to use some of the training programmes I'll upload, then you must remember that this programme is not generic but was created 100% to match my physiology. To adjudicate how close you are (and how many adjustments you need to make), compare your own "athletic history" with mine below:
  1. Little to no sports from age 0-12 (this is the "we think your son might be motorically handicapped" period)
  2. Mild running and scattered jogs (distance usually 6km) from 12-20
  3. First races in period 1995-2004 (hereunder a 10.5km in 54:30, a 12km in 01:02, and a 9.3km in God knows how slow). Just three races my dad dragged me along for
  4. Regular gym workout with scattered jogs between 6-16km from age 20-27 (only consistent a 3 months period of 5 workouts, including two runs, per week in 2004)
  5. Occasional football games in same period
  6. One or two sessions a week of floorball/football from 2005-2006 combined with random jogging
  7. Three weeks of consistent good jogging, then Lucnaquilla race, then 4 months of no activity after injury
  8. One Christmas jog with my dad, and two weeks of running before Hellfire Race (these two weeks included just 5 runs of 8.3, 7.3, 1.4 and 2.1km lengths)

Then the season began...

January

January featured just two racse, Hellfire and Howth, both in which I did badly, which was not suprising given that I clocked only 59.15km during the month spread over 10 runs. Rest days: 19, but it must be considered that I was still playing floorball/football twice a week from Jan-Mar.

Also from Jan-Mar I was still doing a hard weight training regime at least thrice a week, so not all "rest days" where really so in this phase.

February

This month saw three races, Ballyhouras, Ticknock, and Trooperstown, then I went to Canada for 10 days, enjoying a few runs and snow-shoeing into the month of March. 73.72km done this week, but just 7 runs, 21 "rest days".

March

March saw just one race: Donard-Commedagh, but a total of 9 runs totalling 75.4km and 17 rest days and 5 days out sick.

April

5 races where on in April including the draining Wicklow Way Trail. I clocked 115.18km in this month over 11 runs with 14 rest days and 4 sick days.

May

Heating up towards summer, but injury at Stepaside meant only 3 races and a reduction of mileage to 110.12km over 10 runs. I was injured for 23 days in March but still managed to have just 9 days of total rest from running before light jogging was resumed.

Physiological testing with the Peak Centre commenced at the end of this month, and so did Altitude Training.

June

Still recovering from injury for the first 8 days of March (a total 31 days injury caused by the meniscus), but jumped up wildly to 208.04km for the month divided over 16 runs and with just 12 rest days.

One reason for the huge increase: 6 tough races.

First structured training plan from the Peak Centre requested at the end of June starting with July.

July

A step back to 162.37km for this month with 16 runs, 15 rest days, and 6 races culminating with the season's first official target: Snowdon.

August

After a few days rest marathon training commences and immediately steps up mileage to 257.68km for the month over 22 runs with just 9 rest days. Unfortunately, my holidays cause disruption and illness, meaning 5 sick days at the end of the month.

I still manage 3 races in August, however.

September

The first 9 days, I'm still fighting illness and the month sees 7 total rest days as a result. I improve to 267.88km over 23 runs, however, do 5 races, and stay narrowly on track with my training.

October

The present month. This first week has already seen 53.91km added, and I was supposed to add 28km to that today and 5km at the Rathfarnham race tomorrow. Add into that, a weekly Circuit Training session has now started that is not visible in the raw mileage figure.

Injury has struck again, though, and the whole plan is coming into doubt.

I recommend anyone doing season planning do a calendar like this to track their progress, look for explanations for deviations in form etc. I'll share my Excel Sheet on the site, but in the next article we will look at how this training actually came to be in form of a training programme.

It's Not Distance that Kills It's Speed

One thing that raw mileage won't tell you is how hard you run, so the figures above only show one side of the story. If I look at my AT1 (the lowest intensity) runs in January, for instance, I'll see my speed between 5:38min/km and 6.19min/km.

My speed in Sep/Oct for these runs has increased to 4:40-4:59min/km only dropping above 5:00 when I'm half-injured or carrying a backpack for early October runs.

Similar analysis of the development throughout the year, tells the same story, the AT1 runs get increasingly faster having a level of 5:00min/km to 5:30min/km for a majority of the year until structured speed training begins.

Top speed in the shorter races, obviously follows the same trend, meaning that not only does mileage increase, so does intensity. It's a double-whammy, so you must factor this into your historical data.

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