Maybe you ran long yesterday. Today you plan on running a few miles….tomorrow you plan on a challenging workout. Do you know why?
It is important to know the reason behind a workout or a series of workouts. Your training plans need to include goals other than weekly mileage or time improvement.
Unless you are running just to run, which many of us do and that is A-OK, then every workout in your training plan should have a certain purpose and you should know why you are doing a particular workout.
Your workouts should have variety in distance, workload, pace, and intensity to assist you in reaching your race, or race series goals. Planning your training on a broad platform is commonly referred to as “periodization”. This is where you go through different phases of training, lasting several weeks or you incorporate each phase of periodization into your weekly training regimen, depending on your fitness level. Periodization allows you to focus on different aspects of your running in every workout and in every phase.
Typically the first phase is building your aerobic base; increasing your endurance by increasing your volume at a comfortable pace. The next phase is to build strength and stamina. In this phase, the intensity of your workout increases as the duration decreases. Tempo runs, workouts with incline, etc. are introduced in this phase. Running within your aerobic zone remains a part of this part of this phase as well as not all work outs during this phase are just high intensity. The last phase is one in which you are working at higher intensities, reaching your peak periodically during your workout. This phase is brief, and you may plan your training calendar for this to happen right prior to a taper phase for a big race event.