Hardest Week Ever!

From Gerry Lindgren to Bill Rogers to Joan Benoit Samuelson, we know legendary training weeks, but often times don't get the nitty-gritty on the legends of the future. It's not very often that professional runners “open up the play book” and show the general public how they're training. Flotrack has been lucky enough to get in contact with a handful of the top distance runners to share their secrets, paces and weekly totals. Remember that this kind of volume and extremely high-quality training is not for everyone. Enjoy this compilation!

Scott Bauhs, Adidas


For me the hardest weeks of training are not so glamorous. They are the first few weeks back after a two-week break after a long season. Every mile feels like three miles as I glance at my watch every 30 seconds hoping to see that five minutes have gone by. In the first workouts five-minute pace feels like four-minute pace and every hill is a mountain. These weeks were hard at sea level, they are even worse at altitude.
My great weeks with workouts that have left me feeling like I'm on top of the world actually seem quite easy. Last year, as I transitioned from a college kid to a professional runner, I expectations that reached the stars. I had a lot of weeks with a knock out workout followed a few days later by a disaster. There was one week however that I managed to pull off fairly well.
The week started with Prefontaine Classic. This was the first real 3K that I had ever done (since Chico doesn't have an indoor season) and it was quite an introduction to the event. I think I came through the mile in 4:04 and then as Dan Pfaff put it "the wheels fell off."

Monday: I had a 90-minute long run.

Tuesday: started with an hour run with the last five minutes at up tempo and ended in the evening with six by 150 after a 20-minute run.

Wednesday: I did a nine-mile tempo with Ryan, Dan and Alistair. According to Ryan's Garmin, we ran five-minute pace, but I think that Ryan set his Garmin to lie so that he has to run faster to hit his paces.

Thursday: I ran 75 minutes and took the evening off.

Friday: I ran three by two miles. The first was on the track in 9:00. The second was on a dirt path in 9:20 and the third was back on the track in 8:56. Alistair had to drag me through this since it may have been the hardest workout I've ever done.

Saturday: I ran an hour in the morning and a half hour in the evening.
 
Sunday: I ran an hour and 40 minutes with eight 30-second sprints in the middle. I got sick soon after this week and didn't quite perform as well as I would have liked at at the USA Champs.

This was just one of the lessons that I learned last year, I'm sure I would have benefited from taking the edge off a bit but I also think that some week soon I will be able to survive a week like this or even harder with out being any worse for the wear.

Nate Jenkins, Saucony

October 26 to November 1 2009

Monday: AM: mostly trail 1:45:22, tot. 15++
PM: 41:16 easy then exercises for strength (17:20), tot. 5++
XT: stretching, exercises for strength (7x10 jump squats, 7x20 jumping jacks, 7x10 each leg high knee single leg hops, 30s rest after all)

Tuesday: AM: 1-mile warm up, 10 miles 54:17 on road, splits (5K-16:59.3, 10k-33:44.8(16:45.6), 15K- 50:47.2(17:02.4)) very easy aerobically but working hard to hold good form to protect/fix hammy. 1.7 mile cool down, 11:55, tot. 12++
PM: 39:16 to fields, exercises for running technique 3x100m each with jog back rests- 28:24, bit under a mile back to house 6:39, tot. 7
XT: stretching, Butts, exercises for running technique (springing, high knees, butt kicks, bounding, skipping- felt very flat on these)

Wednesday AM: Holt hill 9+ easy, 1:01:45, tot. 9+
PM: 43:15 easy then 10x200m hill sprints with jog down rest, then 4:10 jog back to house, VERY tired, it was cold and raining and dark out, one of the more unpleasant sessions I have had, tot. 8++
XT: stretching, mika warm up, walking lunges focusing on glutes, butts

Thursday AM: 3+ warm up to track, 23:28, VERY tired didn't want to do workout, couple strides with jog back rest, light stretch 20min tempo on track goal 3:06 per K, splits 1K-3:03.7, 2K-6:10.1(3:06.4), 3K-9:16.6(3:06.6), 4K-12:22.9(3:06.3), 5K-15:28.8(3:06.0), 6K-18:33.6(3:04.8), 4 miles-19:48.3 stopped at 20:00.7. This Felt very good! Nice and relaxed and more to the point I was still comfortable, holding form as compared to the last couple weeks when I was really struggling by the end to hold it. Light stretch then 3+ cool down, 22:01, tot. 11
PM: 5.6 easy, 41:40, solo on road, tot. 5++
XT: stretching, mika warm up, lunge walk focusing on glutes, butts

Friday AM: 1-mile warm up, 7:53, light stretch, 13.1 mile tempo-1:12:20, Very easy aerobic effort, much better time holding form, still struggling by the end but muscles starting to do there jobs better. splits 5K-17:11.2, 10K-34:23.0(17:11.9) 15K- 51:28.6(17:05.6), 20K-1:08:34(17:06.4), 2-mile cool down 14:38 tot.16+
PM: 40:30 easy to fields, then 10 minutes diagonals- did 16 sprints and 15 jogs, smaller field than last week because there was a game on my usual soccer field. mile plus back to house, 7:59, tot. 8+
XT: stretching, mika warm up, lunge walk focusing on glutes, butts

Saturday AM: VERY tired, didn't want to run, 3 warm up, 21:52, structured fartlek around Phillips fields, soft VERY windy 25mph, 3 minutes hard and 3 minutes easy for 48 minutes. Went much faster than I have been able to before on this session and I was covering more then a full loop of the fields-1800m- each lap, ended up at 8 full loops at 47:08- so 5:16 flat mile pace with the rest included. Little under 4-mile cool down 26mins, tot. 16
PM: 6.2 solo easy, 45:50, tot. 6+
XT: stretching, lunge walk focusing on glutes

Sunday AM: watch Manchester marathon
EARLY PM: watch replay of NYC Marathon on TV- Totally awesome! GO MEB! GO USA!!!!
4PM: 30:24 warm up, 4x1200m hill repeats (Porter Hill) with jog down rests, 4:11.2(5:22.4), 4:09.4(5:27.4), 4:09.1(5:33.6), 4:04.6-new best time (old best 4:07) (5:36.3) Best session yet on hills total time for 4 reps 13.1 seconds better then previous best session. Still I haven't done long hills or medium hills with any consistency in the last couple of years I kinda expected more improvement from week to week in this area. I'm not disappointed or worried as I feel I'm running these very well, just a little surprised my first session went as well as it did I guess. I still really want to break 4mins on this hill, getting closer though. 12:47 cool down, tot. 12
8PM: 5 miles easy, 39:11, tot. 5
XT: stretching

Summary 137 miles for the week- 5 or 6 workouts for the week- depending on if you call the 200m hills a workout or a short hill session. 3 tempos, 1 fartlek/interval session, 2 hill sessions. Also a good set of diagonals and 2 circuits.

August 18 to 24 2008

Monday 6:50AM: 9 1:05:53 tot.9
10:30AM 7, 55:49 tot. 7
4PM 9 w/ Courtney Welk, no time, tot. 9
XT Myrtle hip routine

Tuesday 6:50AM 31 min w/up, 3+ miles(one hill), 16:05, (5:27, 10:50), 3min rest,
 3+miles, 15:40, 3 mins rest 1+ mile, 4:59, 16 min c/down tot. 12+
 10:30AM 3.5 w/up, 12x14 sec hills, 3.5 c/down tot. 8+
 4:15PM 7, 51:36 easy w/ Adam Tenowitz, tot. 7
 XT core stuff

Wednesday 6:50AM 11, 1:16:23 w/ E. Ashe, tot. 11
11AM 9, 1:03:21 w/ Adam tot. 9
4PM 7, 57:24 w/ Liz, tot. 7

Thursday 7AM 7 easy shake w/ Courtney and Amanda, 55:22 tot. 7
11AM w/ E. Ashe, 3+ w/up strides, 5 mile hard, 25:23, tough loop, 3 c/down tot. 11+
5PM 3 w/up w/ Adam, 16x14 sec hills, 3c/down tot. 7

Friday 9AM 24, easy, first 13 w/ Courtney, tot. 24
PM 5+, 42:02 w/ 400 runner from CMass, finish w/ Amanda, tot.5+
XT Myrtle hip routine

Saturday 7AM 11+ w/ E.Ashe, 1:19:03 tot. 11
Noon 9 solo, 1:03:42, tot.9
3PM 6+ w/ Shannon on trails in Tewksbury tot.6+

Sunday 10:30AM at mines falls, 3.5 w/up, strides, 4x4k(tough loop by mines falls standards), 12:49, 12:50, 12:57, 12:54, 3-mins jog rest between efforts, 3.5 c/down tot. 17+
 4PM 3.5 w/up 18x14sec hills, 3.5c/down back at Foss, tot. 9
7PM showcase 6+ w/ add on, 52:31, tot. 6++

Summary – 191 miles for week, 3 solid workouts, 3 sets of short hill repeats. Lots of easy miles on hilly roads and trails.

Patrick Rizzo, Mizuno

This from my Boston training last year. It's about a month out. It's generally our highest week. I have from Sunday to Saturday...143 miles in the week. No triples, just doubles.

This is March 8, 2009:

Sunday: we did a 24-mile long run with three miles at race pace. It was five-flat, 4:59 and 4:59. That's about 18-20 miles in. Mind you that these miles are where every seven minutes count as a mile, even if you pass mile markers at 5:30 apart. This was probably more like a 155-mile week.

Monday: was a 12-mile morning run and eight-mile afternoon run after work.

Tuesday:
here is another 12 and eight.

Wednesday: was a two-three-two workout, averaging 4:58. I have here: 31 degrees, 50 mph wind gusts, 35 mph sustained winds. I remember this workout very well. I have here in my comments: “It's days like today, Al—my college coach—used to remind us not how to get through a workout, but what we can get from it.” We were on a hilly course with head winds we faced. I'd say we got a ton out of it and to have hit pace, that just makes it that much tougher. I guess that's what it's going to feel like if there's inclement weather at Boston. I did an afternoon run with (Brian) Sell after work at 9 p.m.

Thursday: apparently I only slept about three hours that night. I did 14 and six, hitting 5:30s coming back on the trail.

Friday: we're down to 12 degrees now and it was a 12 and a six. This is my shortest day of the week. It's pretty weak, I know. I should have went over 20 to make sure I was getting the mileage.

Saturday: another long run in 20 degrees. First hour in the pitch-black, starting at 6:30 a.m. and our “go” miles were 5:05, 4:59 and 4:58, hitting—at the slowest—5:40s on the way back.

There were two long runs in that week. This week was followed by another 130-mile week and another 139.

You didn't even cut it back after a week like that?
No, because two weeks later was the big week, the simulator week before the marathon. We stay high until the simulator.

How much of that mileage is on soft surfaces or off-road?
Most of what we were running on was dirt roads, when we could. Looking at that week, though, I know there a few weeks where it was really icy and really nasty. Since getting hit by a car a couple years ago, I'm really conservative on ice. If it's icy, then I'm staying the heck of anything that drives and is bigger than me.

What happened?
Well, a car just slid out of control and hit me at about 45 mph. It was full-on. It hit my head and my hips. It was a Jeep Wrangler, 45 mph, rear quarter panel.

How long did it take you to come back?
A week later, I starter running. That doesn't mean I was running well. Running is just a relative term at that point. Here I'm looking and I know it happened in February 2008 (referencing his running logs in front of him). I'll pull it up. Yup, Monday, February 18th. “I will not put an overall feeling on how I felt during the run today. It was going fine until mile 12 when a Jeep slide sideways and into me. Nick narrowly escaped it. I did not.” If I hadn't landed on a snow pile, face first, I'd probably be dead. I landed on my face. If that was just gravel, I would literally be dead right now.

Did it change the way you run or was it just another day out there?
You just take it in stride and...whatever.

On all those long runs, are you still always mixing in those three miles hard?
It depends on what we're training for. I'm in a different group now out of Michigan and into Boulder. During marathon training, we do a little more. I haven't done a marathon segment yet, but during a marathon segment, we'll vary up the pace a little bit. For it right now, we're just keeping it easy.


Sara Hall, Asics

This was a pretty grueling week of base training in early January this year.  I was coming off of hosting both of our families for the holidays, which was less stressful than I expected, but still taxing!  The first part of Tuesday's workout would have been hard enough, but adding on the long hill sprints at altitude at the end was brutal!  Especially because at the end of each one I couldn't keel over and catch my breath, you had to keep running down to the next start.  You get a really intense lung burn that stays with you all day. 
The tempo on Saturday was my best-ever on Green Church Rd (7,000 ft), which was exciting since these are not my strength.  It was a freezing cold morning and during part of it, my arms went totally numb.  But I battled through, trying (unsuccessfully) to hang with Deena Kastor running up the hills (she is incredible at hills at altitude!)  After this workout, my lungs burned and stomach hurt all day. 

All between 5,000 ft and 8,000 ft. elevation (Mammoth Lakes)

Monday: 2 runs, Short hill and flat Sprints (50 meters), 1 hour Pilates Class
Tuesday: 1 mile 4:49, 5 min rest, 3x mile 5:18, 5:26, 5:18 w/ 90 sec rest, 3x(300m hill, 200m hill, 100m hill) all out with 100m-200m brisk running (down to next start) in between, afternoon run, weights
Wednesday: 2 runs, weights
Thursday: 30 minute progression tempo (6:15-5:30 pace), 8x300 in 52-50 sec. w/ 50 sec rest, 8x100 in 14-15 sec. w/ 20 sec. rest, afternoon run, 1 hour Pilates class
Friday: 2 runs, weights
Saturday: 8 mile tempo at 5:33 pace, afternoon run, 17 miles total for the day, weights
Sunday: 1 hour 45 min long run with 1 min pickups at the end

Magdalena Lewy Boulet, Asics

Sunday:
Long run of 22 miles
After spending 3 weeks in Flagstaff, the race in Houston last week did not go well. I felt horrible from the very first mile and it was not much fun. Today is the first day after coming down from altitude where I feel great.

Monday:
AM: warm up 4 miles + Rpace: 4x200 w/200 jog + 4x400 w/400 jog + 4x200 w/200 jog + 4 mile warm down (33’s/200 and 68/400) + strides on grass. Met John Cheng at CAL. Workout felt under control, a little windy. Excited for cross-country nationals coming up. Tested my new pink shay cross-country spikes today on the grass. They fit like a glove.
+ weight lift session at Montclair Swim Club
PM: Easy 6 mile run from Transports

Tuesday:
AM: Nice and easy 10 mile run at skyline
+ AIS stretching session
PM: Easy 8 mile run from CAL + strides on grass with cross-./country spikes
+ Phil Wharton ankle weight routine

Wednesday:
AM: Easy 10 mile run at skyline
PM: Easy 8 mile run at skyline

Thursday:
AM: warm up 4miles + 8x400 at Ipace (75/400) w/1min rest+ 4mile warm down + strides on grass With John Cheng at CAL. Felt awesome to do some 5k type stuff
PM: Easy 6 mile run from Transports
+ Phil Wharton ankle weight routine

Friday:
AM: warm up 2miles + 4x2miles at Threshold Pace with 2min rest + 10mile Run (threshold: 5:20’s/mile)
+ weight lift session at Montclair Swim Club

Saturday:
AM: 12 mile run from Transports. Had to get up really early because Riche had to work and I was taking over Owen

Total mileage: 122
4 days of doubles
One AIS session
Two ankle weight session
Two weight lifting sessions
One long run of 22 miles
Total Rpace : 2miles
Total I pace: 2miles
Total Tpace: 10 miles

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