Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Berkshire coach Julie Cole's running rules

My desk is a mess as I'm in the process of wrapping up girls basketball and beginning boys track previews. I attempted to clear away a little clutter when I found an e-mail I treasure from Berkshire boys and girls track coach Julie Cole, who is my running hero.

The e-mail is about a year old. Julie was kind enough to send it to me when I asked her for some running tips when I fell into a rut.
The best part of her e-mail was the following line: Here's JC's Training 101.
As you can imagine, the training tips are not easy.
She started off by explaining to me the body responds to stress. She explained the SAID principle - specific adaptation to imposed demand. She explained it goes hand-in-hand with supercompensation.

I'd like to paraphrase what she wrote, but it's a little over my head so I'll quote her directly:

"If you've never run a step and go out for a half mile, that's plenty of stress and actually breaks down the body a bit.
On the next day, maybe you just go for a walk to recover. At that time, the body gets the idea that it needs to do something to keep up with what you're putting it through and it recovers just a little bit stronger (supercompensation).
As you continue adding training stress (mileage, intensity) and follow that up with recovery days, adaptions will occur and you get stronger, faster, and the workouts feel easier.
However, if you never vary the duration or intensity (very common for the average jogger), you get to a point where you're no longer challenging the body and you actually start to lose fitness, even though you're still doing the same 4-mile run.
You're still burning the calories, but as far as the psysiological changes, you're going in reverse. (This is really what the whole "no pain, no gain" thing is about)."

After reading Julie's e-mail, I realize I am back in a rut.
I can easily run three miles without stopping, but mentally that's where it ends for me. When I try to push it to four or five miles, I struggle. I'm good at blaming my inability to break the three-mile mark on the weather conditions - it's too cold, it's too icy, I don't like running on the treadmill, etc. In reality, I need to tape Julie's e-mail to my fridge and reread it daily.

Here's a running routine she gave me which is geared toward someone who runs six days a week, 30 miles per week. In Julie's running world, this training schedule is probably laughable. To me, it's nearly impossible.

Sunday - long run 7 miles
Monday - easy 4 miles
Tuesday - easy 2 miles, 2 miles at a quicker pace, 2 miles easy to finish
Wednesday - easy 4 miles
Thursday - steady 5 miles - faster than easy day pace
Friday - rest day
Saturday - easy 4 miles plus 4x30 seconds fast with 1:30 jog in between

Right now my running routine consists of about four days of running three miles each time out. I'm also lifting free weights twice a week. Sometimes I count power-cleaning my house as a workout.
I'll admit, this 40-something-year-old woman needs to step it up and quit making excuses.

So thank you JC for the awesome e-mail. It's still inspiring me one year later.

Happy trails!

- Theresa Neuhoff Audia


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