This year’s first Ask Kikay Runner is about the structure of my training week.
Aldrin Galang asks: In a nutshell how does ur week training goes [sic]? Pwede pashare (Can you share it)? Hehe. Ilang araw rest day at what day usually (How many days do you rest and which day usually)?
I think I’ve answered this several different times before, but keep getting variations on the same question. You know what the answer is?
It depends on what I’m currently training for (or just exercising to stay fit). It also depends on how much time I have to spare for training and how physically demanding the rest of my week is.
For instance, when I was still working as a group exercise instructor, I taught six to seven classes a week. I fit my training in between the classes. Naturally I couldn’t do as much swimming, cycling, and running then so I made up for it by having more intensity and specificity in my training (no junk miles or recovery sessions).
Now that I’m working as a freelance writer (a job that is much less physical), I have more opportunity to swim, bike, and run in a training week. I can also now do my training first thing in the morning, something I couldn’t do when I was teaching morning dance and yoga classes.
Most runners who have trained for longer distances will understand the 10% rule of adding mileage. In triathlon it’s a little more complicated than that; juggling three disciplines isn’t easy. You need to balance out the need to increase mileage and intensity to prepare for racing with the need for your body to recover. There’s only so much training you can do before you burn out.
This is why I signed up with MaccaX. The basic membership of $29 per month gives me a free training plan of my choice, access to a library of videos and resources so I can better understand the relationship between different kinds of sessions and how they fit into a training week, and when I need it I can ask for advice from Macca and our team coaches plus a global community of athletes of all levels.
In the past few months I’ve been able to tweak my training week to maximize my free time and opportunity to get to training venues. So here’s how my week looks now that I’m training for a marathon with swimming and cycling as cross-training.
Monday – bike + run off bike with long efforts
A friend told me that the latter kilometers of a marathon feels like running off the bike — it’s the same kind of fatigue physically and mentally. This is why I’m continuing to do bricks, usually off indoor bike training sessions where I’ve been pedaling in a big gear. This is where I build my run strength: the ability to maintain a pace even when fatigued.
Tuesday – aerobic swim
Swim fitness translates to cardiovascular and respiratory fitness without pounding on the joints. Swimming is also great for recovery and flushing out muscle stiffness from the previous day’s efforts. I also will continue to swim regularly because it’s such a pain to start again from zero swim fitness.
Wednesday – track or treadmill speed run
I’ve found that for me, running fast makes for better running form overall. I don’t train for mastery over shorter distances like the 5K; most of my speed work is based off my 10K time and I’ve found that I get faster over the 10K as I get fitter for racing a marathon.
Thursday – swim speed/technique
Again, the swim here is a recovery session for the hard running from the previous day, but I also need to keep my swim form and speed sharp.
Friday – long run
Doing my long runs after the previous day’s hard bike session is great for increasing endurance and muscular tolerance to fatigue. I also have a lot more free time on Friday mornings than on Sunday mornings (which are reserved for family).
Saturday – long ride
The long rides don’t have to be any longer than 90 minutes indoor, or two hours outdoor. They’re done at an easy enough pace to benefit the cardiovascular system and keep my legs cycling-fit without putting too much stress on my body.
Sunday – recovery swim
This is optional, but I enjoy swimming these days so I don’t mind knocking out a kilometer in the pool.
This is the method to my madness and it’s what works for me at this point in time and at my level of fitness. As I progress in the training program towards my race goal, the sessions themselves will change in length and structure to become more race-specific. If my life’s schedule changes in the future (like it has in the past), I will be able to rearrange my training week to match because I know the logic behind it.