If you’re looking at this training plan and thinking “Rubio’s lost it” hear me out. Yes I’m experimenting a bit this fall, trying a few new twists trying to get the best program in place for your 2020 season.  A story for background.  In the 90’s I had a 1500 runner I started coaching again after he was done at Fresno State – he previously ran for me at Cuesta College.  At the time I was a marathoner and far removed from mid-distance training.  In the 90’s we were a largely low volume, low intensity nation which resulted in the worst level of performances we’ve seen as a nation. Not trying a new approach with this athlete really wasn’t an option, I needed a system to hook my cart to.  I read a book “Obsession for Running” by a man named Frank Horwill and I found a page or 2 that caught my interest. 

Within the book Franks mentioned his multipaced training system where you would over the course of 5 consecutive workouts do 5 different paces (ie 800 or 1500 or 3k or 5k or 10k) and repeat.  It was an easy to understand system and easy to execute.  Frank helped Peter Coe implement the program with his son Seb that resulted in many 800-mile WR’s, major champ victories and Olympic medals.   In my 1500 runner’s case he went from 1:52, 3:50 and 14:49 down to 1:47, 3:40 and 14:12 in 1 season.  Probably had more to do in the fact he committed to a runners lifestyle of consistency, tempo work, double days and overall volume than the workouts, but the workouts certainly helped.

I ultimately found Frank a few thousand miles away and I started communicating with him.  Frank and I would write back and forth about training - he was in the UK and I in SLO so it took forever for our letters to go across the Pond.  This was before email and the internet, I wrote and waited a while for a response.  Frank’s idea resulted in many of my athletes having some fairly significant improvement using the principles of the program.  Since then I’ve traditionally been a multipaced training kinda guy - it's very good plan, but can it be improved?  

Much of the current literature on training from the better up and coming US programs is based not so much on hitting each pace specifically (i.e. 800, 1500, 3k, 5k, 10k pace) within a certain workout over a series of hard workout days and repeat. Instead several programs are having success using a larger volume of tempo type, moderately based efforts at less intensity with short rest and adding in a faster component at the end of the workout on top of a consistently large volume of weekly mileage.  So they are effectively bookending the multipace/VO2 max portion of the system and they are getting very solid results.  I thought we’d try some of that.  

I’m looking at this and liking a lot of what I see - we’re building aerobic strength at more modest intensities for a longer period of time which should result in a stronger, healthier animal.  For the MD people, the addition of some shorter, faster controlled efforts at the end of workouts should result in an easier transition to indoors if one chooses.  

Are we throwing out the old program entirely? Of course not, we’ll just be doing the multipaced stuff we’ve had success with later in the process.  Also, no need to freak out on the larger volume of weekly miles I mentioned above, this will be based on the individual - but still a higher volume for each person.   

This tweak is just me being me, success never arrives by staying status quo and not taking a few well thought out, calculated chances.  As Russell and Dug and Kevin famously proclaimed - “Adventure is out there!"

9/2-9/29:      4 weeks Pre-Season:  Main goal is to work back into things, JV efforts for now, let’s plan on being varsity down the road.  Max weekly mileage should be achieved by now - if not there yet, that’s the primary goal.  Workouts for now are still pretty mellow.  80% runs + hill reps, strides and shorter, relatively quick bursts of unstrained speed. Drills, strides and overall strength work introduced.  Mid week longer runs and weekend long runs should be a focus.

Races:  Any races at this time are for fun.  Just like the workouts scheduled during this time, tempo type efforts, no going to the well.  

9/2-9/8

Mon:  45-60 min + Light set of drills and strides post run. 

Wed:  Poly lower grass rec field.  2-4 mi warmup, light drills, 80-100m strides at good relaxed speed. - be warmed up and strided out by 6:30 PM for the start of the workout.  3-6 miles at 80% 3-5 min + 1-2 sets of 3 x 300m hill reps (#1 with great upright form, foot landing under center of mass, #2 at moderate XC race effort, #3 at 1500 effort) all w/ jog down recovery.

Sat:  Cuesta 8:00 meet up - park at Fairbanks.  2-4 mi warmup, light drills, 80-100m strides at good relaxed speed. 4-8 mi at 80% on roads + 4-8 x 15 sec at a fast, relaxed effort/45 sec off on grass.  1 mile easy.  Optional hurdle drills + strength work.  Run back to Fairbanks  <OR> Sun: Golden Gate Park XC Open, SF.

9/9-9/15

Mon:  45-60 min + Light set of drills and strides post run. 

Wed:  Poly lower grass rec field.  2-4 mi warmup, light drills, 80-100m strides at good relaxed speed. - be warmed up and strided out by 6:30 PM for the start of the workout.  2-4 x 1600 at tempo on grass w/ 60 sec rec. + 1-2 sets of 3 x 300m hill reps (#1 with great upright, foot landing under center of mass form, #2 at moderate XC race effort, #3 at 1500 effort) all w/ jog down recovery. 2 mi warm down

Sat:  Cuesta 8:00 meet up - park at Fairbanks.  2-4 mi warmup, light drills, 80-100m strides at good relaxed speed. 3-6 mi cutdown.  Start at 80% and cutdown each mile 5 sec.  5 min + 4-8 x 20 sec fast, relaxed/40 sec off on grass.  1 mile easy.  Optional hurdle drills + strength work.  Run back to Fairbanks  Run back to Fairbanks

9/16-9/22

Mon:  45-60 min + Light set of drills and strides post run. 

Wed:  Poly lower grass rec field.  2-4 mi warmup, light drills, 80-100m strides at good relaxed speed. - be warmed up and strided out by 6:30 PM for the start of the workout.  3-6 miles at 80% (see attached) 3-5 min + 1-2 sets of 3 x 300m hill reps (#1 with great upright, foot landing under center of mass form, #2 at moderate XC race effort, #3 at 1500 effort) all w/ jog down recovery.

Sat:  Cuesta 8:00 meet up - park at Fairbanks.  2-4 mi warmup, light drills, 80-100m strides at good relaxed speed. 6-12 x 1k at tempo w/ 60 sec recovery.  5 min + 4-8 x 15 sec fast, relaxed/45 sec off on grass.  1 mile easy.  Optional hurdle drills + strength work.  Run back to Fairbanks.

9/23-9/29: Easy week.  Cut back all runs by 15-20% - the goal is to exit the week fresher than you entered it.  Week will feel like crap BUT you should be mentally and physically ready for the next jump up the intensity charts.  

Mon:  45-60 min + Light set of drills and strides post run. 

Wed:  Poly lower grass rec field.  2-4 mi warmup, light drills, 80-100m strides at good relaxed speed. - be warmed up and strided out by 6:30 PM for the start of the workout.  2-4 x 1600 at tempo on grass w/ 60 sec rec. + 1-2 sets of 3 x 300m hill reps (#1 with great upright, foot landing under center of mass form, #2 at moderate XC race effort, #3 at 1500 effort) all w/ jog down recovery. 2 mi warm down

Sat:  Cuesta 8:00 meet up - park at Fairbanks.  2-4 mi warmup, light drills, 80-100m strides with good relaxed speed. 3-6 mi at 80% + 3-6 x 20 sec at fast, relaxed effort on grass/40 sec off.  1 mile easy.  Optional hurdle drills + strength work.  Run back to Fairbanks  <OR> Sun: Johnny Lawson XC Challenge, Marin

Example weekly structure:

Sun:    Long Run 60-120 min easy as a single.  Hills are good if you can work them in.  

Mon:  AM:  Easy 20-40 min*                    PM:  Easy 30-60 min + light drills and quick turnover strides

Tues:  AM:  Easy 20-40 min*                    PM:  Easy 30-60 min

Wed:  AM:  Easy 20-40 min*                    PM:  Workout

Thurs:            Mid Week Long 60-90 min w/ last 3-4 miles at an 80% type effort hilly run as a single.  You can flip Thursday w/ Tuesday if it works better for your schedule

Fri:                  AM:  Easy 20-40 min*                    PM:  30-60 min super easy recovery jog or day off

Sat:                 AM.  Workout                                  PM:  Easy 20-40 min*

*The second 20-40 min run on many of the days are for people looking to get 60 or greater miles per week.  If you’re in the 40 or so miles per week range, remove the 20-40 min second run.  If you’re in the 40 miles per week range consider substituting the 20-40 min easy run with a walk, hike or swim instead.  If you’re looking to add 5 or so miles a week to what you ran last year, an easy thing to do is add a mile on a few runs per week.

Potential races for the fall:

9/30:             Johnny Lawson XC

10/7:              Urban Cow 1/2m, SAC PA Champs, USATF 10m Champs

10/20:            Matt Yeo XC - our home meet

11/11:               Clarksburg 1/2m

11/18:              PA/USATF XC Champs, Golden Gate Park

12/2:               CIM USATF National Marathon Champs

12/9:               USATF National Club XC Champs

12/16:              Xmas Relays

1/20:                Houston 1/2m

2/2:                  USATF XC Champs

The basic plan for the fall for Club XC’s, Indoors or an early 2019 half or full marathon:

Pre-Season:

9/2-9/29:      4 weeks Pre-Season:  Max weekly mileage should be achieved by now.  Workouts still pretty mellow.  Hill reps, longer 80% runs - 6-10 miles for LDs.  3-7 miles for MD’s.  Warmup drills and overall strength work introduced.

Early-Season:

9/30-11/24:  8 weeks Early-Season:  Multi Paced Strength work while maintaining the weekly miles.  Workouts and races are consistently solid efforts.  Full warmup routine including drills and accelerations, strength work for those inclined:  400’s at 10k, stuff at 3k, longer moderate tempo runs, mid length tempos w/ some sort of longer paced interval tacked on, mile reps, 800’s for the LD people.  400’s at 10k, stuff at 3k, 200’s-400’s at 1500 following a moderate length tempo, mid length tempos w/ some sort of longer paced interval tacked on, mile reps, 800’s for the MD people.  Full slate of warmup drills and strength work.

Peak-Season:

11/25-1/20:  8 Weeks Peak-Season:  Event specific workouts, solid races.  Look for a goal half marathon, cross or indoor performance through the early part of 2019.

The basic plan for CIM:

Pre-Season:

9/2-9/29:      4 weeks Pre-Season:  Max weekly mileage should be achieved by now.  Workouts still pretty mellow.  Hill reps, longer 80% runs. Warmup drills and overall strength work introduced.

Early-Season:

9/30-10/27:      4 weeks:  Multi Paced Strength work while maintaining the weekly miles.  Workouts and races are consistently solid efforts.  Full warmup routine including drills and accelerations, strength work for those inclined:  400’s at 10k, stuff at 3k, longer moderate tempo runs, mid length tempos w/ some sort of longer paced interval tacked on, mile reps, 800’s.  

Peak-Season:

10/30-12/1:    4 Weeks:  Event specific workouts, MP paced races.  Long tempos, moderate length tempos + longer paced intervals, long intervals, - some short intervals as well to keep it interesting.