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Author Topic: Run more or cross train?
nikki

Posts: 114
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Post Run more or cross train?
on: June 19, 2013, 07:49
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I'm about to start training for marathon #4. I'm still playing around with my training plan, but I really like Runner's World Smart Coach, so I will probably use that with some adjustments. Right now the plan calls for 3 run days and 4 rest/XT days. I'm used to running 4-6 days a week, but I also feel like I've hit a bit of a plateau with running. So, should I add in a 4th day of running, or focus on actually doing some XT on a few of the off days? (Typically I'm bad about XT, but I'm determined to start biking.) Which would be more beneficial?

Ang J

Posts: 367
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Post Re: Run more or cross train?
on: June 19, 2013, 11:28
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So you're thinking that switching up your training routine might bring better results? Is it a run-less-run-faster type of plan? Most of the marathon plans I've ever looked at have at least four days of running per week. Do you have a reason for wanting to run only three days - e.g. avoiding injury, or time constraints? I would think if you go the cross training route you'd want one of those days to be cardio, the rest strength in the form of weights, exercises, classes, etc (your choice). You say you're bad about cross training, but that means something different for everyone. I think if you haven't incorporated any kind of regular strength work before you'd definitely benefit from that. Personally, I am injury-prone and four run days a week is about what I can handle - I need the off days to rest and build strength to help support my running.

nikki

Posts: 114
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Post Re: Run more or cross train?
on: June 19, 2013, 14:32
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Yes, I'm hoping that changing things up will help me out. I know that I don't like running 6x a week, I get too burnt out....

I'm using Smart Coach to create my plan, and it keeps spitting out plans with only 3 runs a week. 🙂 I trained for my 1st running 3x a week, my second running 4-5x a week and my third running 5-6x week. I definitely prefer the 4-5x a week. So, I was considering following the Smart Coach plan and throwing in a 4th run each week.
I haven't read much on the run less, run faster stuff, but I know what feels good to me. The 5-6x week running plan that I used this spring totally wore me out, and I feel like I got slower. (No way to really prove that, the training ended in a miserable marathon where I had lots of tummy trouble and finished an hour and 10 minutes over my goal!)

When I say I'm bad at cross training I mean that I do yoga 2-3x a month, and that's all of the cross training that I do. 🙂 But I biked today! I'm probably going to bike for most of the cross training days, plus some yoga.

Ang J

Posts: 367
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Post Re: Run more or cross train?
on: June 19, 2013, 19:09
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I wish someone else would chime in here, but I'm thinking if you're running 4x/week strength training is going to benefit you more than biking, unless you are biking fast enough or up enough hills to really build your quads and core. I've seen enough people say it's helped them improve, and I feel like it helps me too, so I'm a believer.

nikki

Posts: 114
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Post Re: Run more or cross train?
on: June 20, 2013, 07:14
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No worries, Ang. I've looking into some strength stuff, I think I'll give it a go. Thanks for the suggestion! I'm going to use hand weights at home, we have a tiny gym in our complex that maybe I'll go to occasionally but I'd prefer to not do strength training in front of other people. 😛

I'll use biking as a fun workout, and if get burnt out on training I'll sub some biking in for the easier days. If I plan to run 4, sometimes 5, days a week I shouldn't have to worry about that too much, though! 🙂

Jana

Posts: 432
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Post Re: Run more or cross train?
on: June 20, 2013, 07:53
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The smart coach plans lean to the conservative and put most of the stress on that long run. If you put in your current mileage, it will divide out the miles but make sure you get that long run. If you were on the top end of the mileage range when you set it up, you may be dropping down in mileage at first. If that is the case, I would feel free to add in that extra mileage on a fourth day - just make sure that you don't make a big jump in weekly mileage. I have used smart coach as base for a couple of half marathons and I like the program. His suggested paces are slower than McMillian so I pick them up a bit.

I wholeheartedly agree with Ang that the best thing you can add is strength training. Even bodyweight stuff in your livingroom if that is what is most comfortable to you. A strong core - not just abs but hips and bum too - will go far in keeping you injury free.

nikki

Posts: 114
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Post Re: Run more or cross train?
on: June 22, 2013, 07:28
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Thanks, Jana!

Oddly, I've seen a lot of differences between the online Smart Coach and the phone app! I think the phone app includes a 4th run for most, if not all, weeks. I will follow the app bc I love having my plan on my phone, and that is what got me in excellent condition for Seattle last year. 🙂

My fav part of the app is that it gives paces, I'm going to look into McMillian now too. Thanks!

This also has me convinced that I need to get to yoga more than 1x a week. The instructor that I prefer knows I'm a runner and he kicks my butt, it really helps!

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