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Keeping Pace, Issue #009 -- Balancing Act
May 01, 2013

'Something's Gotta Give'

Very few of us have a personal coach following and tracking our progress as we move from one goal to the next, so to be the best runner that we can be requires our own involvement as a self-coach. This means that you need to be able to read or hear something, consider it objectively, and decide whether or not it’s a good fit for your individual situation.

The purpose of this month’s article is to provide you with a little more information about training stress and adaptation so that you can apply it to your situation to tweak the best program that’s right for YOU and your running goals.

By far the most frequent inquiry about training program development revolves around the safe but effective build-up of mileage. Specifically, how frequently and by how much you can increase your weekly long runs to get you to a solid level of preparedness for your chosen event.

You’ve likely heard of the 10% rule of safe mileage build up. That is, your total weekly mileage as well as any given individual long run should not be increased by more than 10% per week if you want to avoid injury and/or burn out. So if you’ve run an 18 miler last weekend, you can safely add 1.8 miles to the following week’s long run to round up for a nice 20 miler. Using the same strategy, one can also determine a safe total weekly mileage build up as 5 miles should be a safe distance to add to a 50 mile running week.

While this is typically sage advice, it’s also general advice that may or may not be right for you. The reason for this, is mileage build up is just one of 3 predominant factors that make up the training stress in a running program. Armed with this awareness, it's possible to manipulate your program to better meet your needs. For example if training time to your event is not ideal and your mileage leaps need to be aggressive.

Consider the following simplified stress model:

A running program should provide a runner with a good weekly balance of intensity (hard workouts), distance (how far/long you run in any given workout), and frequency (how often you run). As the weeks progress, the focus may shift from one element to the other to provide a well-rounded training stimulus.

However, there’s nothing stopping a runner who is training for an ultra from putting a very large focus on building distance and making larger mileage jumps as long as there is a respect for the stress balance. As shown below, an increase in distance takes up room which leaves much less room for the other two stresses in a program.

After a really long weekend run, there should be a focus on recovery time placed throughout the week so that the runner is ready for another big run the following weekend. This is one of the main ways that ultra training would differ from training for other distance events.

You may also find yourself getting ready in a short period of time for an upcoming marathon, where there is simply not enough time for a well-rounded workout profile so your emphasis would be building your long runs with more than usual recovery days in between.

There may be room for a couple of short runs including one higher intensity workout during the week as long as the focus remains on ample recovery time in between. The amount of recovery required will vary with age, experience, training time and injury history/status therefore something for you to decide.

Similarly, if you wanted to place focus on higher intensity workouts such as speed and anaerobic balance point training, it’s not a good time to build frequency and miles.

Good luck coach!

Nothing Fishy Here

Most of us know that fresh fish is right up there as a super food with it's long list of nutritional attributes for runners in training. Yet many of us still have a hard time getting enough fish in our diets. Maybe it's hard to get excited about anything that has a fishy taste, and perhaps harder to convince your family.

Here is an awesome recipe that completely infiltrates even the strongest tasting fish creating delicious, fresh-tasting and moist fillets. It is a staple mix in our house and particularly great on salmon and trout fillets.


  • 6 to 7 1 oil packed sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 big handfuls of parsley
  • 4 clovers of garlic
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Put all the ingredients in a food processor or container for hand blending and pulse until liquified. Brush the oil generously onto the thawed-out fillets and let stand for at least 10 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 deg. or BBQ as desired.


MYRG Quote of the Month

"You may avoid suffering and sorrow if you don't risk, but you simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. The greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing and has nothing. Only a person who risks is free."

Bob Proctor

Here's to keeping pace with your running goals!

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