I admit it. I
believe in the three-day-a-week workout plan. Run three
days, take the other four off. Call it lazy, wimpy,
absurd. Call it whatever you want. But the three-day
workout week works for me and many people I coach. It’s
pure gain without pain.
You only need to
run three times a week to maintain or boost your current
fitness level. ON this schedule, you can improve race
performances, train for and complete marathons, recover
from injuries more quickly and have more days free for
your family, work, social life and other athletic
Here’s why it
works so well. Every time you run long or hard, small
micro-tears may occur in your leg muscles and tendons.
Even if you shorten the distance of the workout and run
slowly the following day, you might prevent those tears
from healing quickly.
So if you’ve
been struggling to find the time or motivation to run six
days a week, relax. You have another option: my three-day
plan. To do it, cut out slow recovery runs instead. For
instance, let’s say you’re currently doing a weekly
long run of 8 miles and four shorter runs of 4 miles. Just
switch th three 8 mile runs.
IF you have any
doubts about whether this method works, remember the story
of the late Dr. George Sheehan. He experienced a slowdown
in his marathon times during his late 50’s. So he
switched from running 5 miles a day, six days a week to
two 10 mile runs and a weekend race. At age 60, he ran a
lifetime marathon best of 3:01.
Here’s how to do it.
Do a long run.
Running long distances once a week can significantly boost
your fitness. Increase your long run by 1 mile each week
until you reach 10 miles. If your training for a marathon,
keep adding 1 to 2 miles every other week until you reach
18 miles. At that point, you can increase the distance by
2 to 3 miles every third week. The pace of your long runds
shoulb e about 2 minutes per mile slower than your
marathon race padce. On the weekends, when you don’t add
miles, your long run can equal about half the distance of
your effort. For instance, if your longest run equals 20
miles, you can run 10. Or substitute a race for your long
Do a fast run. To
boost performance, devote one day each week to speedplay.
If you don’t want to run with a stopwatch, simply
accelerate for at least 100 meters, slow down, speed up,
slow down. Repeat 5 to 10 times. Make sure to include a
warm-up and cool-down.
Do a fun run.
Explore. Find a scenic trail. Run with fun, talkative
people. Let your kids chase you around the yard for 45
minutes. Do something new. Be adding novel, entertaining
components to one workout each week, your running won’t
become stagnant. And you’ll subconsciously carry the fun
into your other runs, which will keep you motivated.
cross-training interesting, pick a few different exercises
you can do for 5 to 15 minutes at a time. For instance,
try riding an exercise bike for 10 minutes, throwing some
weights around for 15 minutes, then hitting the pool for 5
minutes of aquajogging.
Make up for your
losses. On your days off, you’ll miss the stress release
allowing you to go farther and faster. I guarantee
you’ll get faster.
For more on Jeff Galloway and his
run training techniques, log on to www.jeffgalloway.com