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# What to do after cut back week

Posts: 4,212Member Member
So, I didn't want to clutter up another monthly challenge discussion, so I'm posting this here.

I've been at 4-4-4-6 for my weekly runs for 2 weeks now, and I have that schedule for the next week as well. in 2 weeks, I have a cutback week, going to 3-3-3-5. I'm not training for a specific race at the moment, as the only races I have on the schedule are a 5 mile in July, and a HM in in September. The 5 mile I'm planning to run as a training run for the HM, and not really race it My question is, what to do after the cutback week? I want to add some mileage, but looking for ideas of how much and where in my schedule to put it.

Thanks
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## Replies

• Posts: 6,592Member Member
Different ways and different philosophies. It all depends on preference and how well you adapt to increases and what works in your schedule. Here are 3 examples....

10% Rule

4-4-4-6 - 18
3-3-3-5 - 14
5-4.8-4-6 - 19.8 << added 10% of 18

Just add a mile each week

4-4-4-6 - 18
3-3-3-5 - 14
5-4-4-6 - 19
5-4-5-6 - 20
5-5-5-6...

Jack Daniels (add # of miles for how many days you run and hold for 4 weeks)

4-4-4-6 - 18
3-3-3-5 - 14
5-5-5-7 - 22 (4 days, 4 miles added to 18)
5-5-5-7
5-5-5-7
5-5-5-7
5-5-5-7
6-6-6-8
6-6-6-8......

• Posts: 6,592Member Member
My advice, make small increases each week and determine how well you respond. (That would make the add a mile each week the most conservative approach). Then if you respond well, then decide on a more aggressive approach like the 10% rule (I round up to the nearest 1/2 mile because I hate decimals) or maybe even Jack Daniels suggestion.

Make sure you insert cutback weeks as needed and don't do speedwork as you are increasing.
• Posts: 2,406Member Member
@Stoshew71's advice is A+, I'd say.

Though I'd do something more like this, from next week and the cutback onward:
4-4-4-6 - 18
3-3-3-5 - 14
4-5-4-7 - 20 (4 days, 4 miles added to 18)
4-5-5-7 - 21
5-5-5-7 - 22
3-4-3-5 - 15 (<--- I usually do 3 weeks train, 1 week cutback)
5-5-5-7 - 22
4-6-5-8 - 23
5-6-5-8 - 24
etc. etc. Play with as you like.

I prefer small build-ups per week, still about a mile per week at the mileage you're looking at, and more variety in each day so you can work in different routes. If I'm doing the same miles, I'm probably doing the same routes, so it's good to change it up.

And obviously the midweek runs, training for a half marathon, will top out somewhere. Probably at a 5-7-5 rotation midweek. If you wanted to add a run, I'd suggest a 3-4 mile run EITHER the day before or after your long run, either to fatigue your legs going in the LR or to use as recovery, whichever one you feel benefits you most with some trial and error.

But with a schedule building in this way (like mine or like Stoshew's; pretty similar!) you'll be ready to rock for that 5 miler and you'll be more than ready to jump into HM training by building up your weekend LR.
• Posts: 2,406Member Member
Stoshew71 wrote: »
My advice, make small increases each week and determine how well you respond. (That would make the add a mile each week the most conservative approach). Then if you respond well, then decide on a more aggressive approach like the 10% rule (I round up to the nearest 1/2 mile because I hate decimals) or maybe even Jack Daniels suggestion.

Make sure you insert cutback weeks as needed and don't do speedwork as you are increasing.

DON'T. DON'T. DON'T.
When I was building from ~40 mile weeks last summer up to 50-55 mpw (I did this over ~2 months), I did zero speedwork. Plus you won't want to do speedwork as it gets hot. But then once I worked speedwork into my training starting in September, it was so easy because my body was used to the miles. Trying to build mileage plus the stress of speedwork is a good recipe for injury.
• Posts: 4,212Member Member

Should have mentioned that my running days are Sun-Tue-Thur-Sat, with Sat being the long run, and Sunday me running really easy
• Posts: 4,212Member Member
@Stoshew71 and @kristinegift last time for now.

ok, I "think" I have an idea...it's a little of a hybrid. I'm looking at going to 4-5-4-7 the week after my cutback. it adds 2 miles, but I've added 2 miles in a week before no problem. I'm adding 1 mile to my T run, and one to my Sat long run. Basically I'm shaping things up for my T run to become another long run, down the line. It's not too aggressive, but it will also put me where I want to be at pushing into the 20 miles per week arena.

Does that sound right?
• Posts: 2,406Member Member
That sounds right to me! That's the same mileage I recommended post-cutback.

Really, until you get to your HM training plan, you'll be making your weekly schedule as trial and error. But you've been doing well so far, so have faith in yourself!
• Posts: 4,212Member Member
That sounds right to me! That's the same mileage I recommended post-cutback.

Really, until you get to your HM training plan, you'll be making your weekly schedule as trial and error. But you've been doing well so far, so have faith in yourself!

Thanks, yeah, I did kind of just steal what you said, only difference is that I'm planning on keeping the mileage the same each week. I like the Daniels method, but wanted to try something a little less aggressive first and then go for it if thisfirst trial works well..
• Posts: 4,212Member Member

To add to the discussion, when I'm in a training plan (looking at starting at the beginning of June) do I keep the cutback weeks in? Or is it a matter of doing what the plan says?

Also, I did some figuring and with cutback weeks and adding roughly 3 mpw after the cutback in my current "plan" I'll get to 10-mile long runs at 2 weeks out from the HM. Is that enough distance?

I'm not looking to crush it, but I would like to finish in ~2:30:00 which should be doable with my current pacing, but I'm not sure if I need to get my long run mileage up. I top out with 29 miles in a week with how I have it set up....3 weeks training, 1 week cutback, add 3mpw to the last training cycle mileage.
edited April 2016
• Posts: 2,912Member Member
To add to the discussion, when I'm in a training plan (looking at starting at the beginning of June) do I keep the cutback weeks in? Or is it a matter of doing what the plan says?

Any good training plan should have cutback weeks built in. That having been said, there are times when you shouldn't do what the plan says. Mostly, these fall into the category of Something Happened and you need a different routine than the plan.

Example 1: I caught a cold, and crapped out of a tough speed workout. Coach told me I was done for the day, and should rest the next day regardless of what the plan said. I ended up cutting the workout after the rest day by about a third as well. That's how I missed one of my peak long runs.

Example 2: If you have a race in the middle of the training plan, you want to tone down the speed work for a few days before the race in recognition that you'll run the race hard. Depending on how hard you run the race, you may need to tone down the speed work for a few days afterward as well. If it's a really challenging race, you might need to cut miles before and/or after it; but this is not typical for B races that are part of training for your A race.

Example 3: Later in the training plan, you may feel pretty beat up. This is a signal to back off. You don't make progress by pushing hard all the time; you make progress by recovering well after working hard. If you need more recovery than the plan has built in, take what you need.

Most of us have to experience injuries on the road to learning what needing to back off feels like. But that doesn't stop us from trying to explain it to runners who have never been injured.
Also, I did some figuring and with cutback weeks and adding roughly 3 mpw after the cutback in my current "plan" I'll get to 10-mile long runs at 2 weeks out from the HM. Is that enough distance?

A 10 mile long run is certainly enough to prepare you physiologically for running a half marathon. You may have psychological issues with never having run the half marathon distance. It was very important to me psychologically to run 13 miles in training before my first half.

Also, if you're trying to run the half faster than your long training runs, you can expect the last few miles to be a mental challenge. This will be particularly true for your first half; it may be less true for later halfs.

I topped out at 35 miles in the training cycle before my fist half, and that was enough. If you have to make a choice between running more miles in a week or building a shorter but more solid base of running miles, I'd say go for the more solid base.
• Posts: 4,212Member Member
Thanks @MobyCarp The psychological aspect is something I'm thinking about. in my mind, I'm saying it's a 10 mile run with and then a 5k. If I can get through the 10 miles and not be totally beat, I'll know that I only have a 5k to go and I'll have run that distance a ton before hand. OTOH, I might be very naughty and throw in a 13 miler just to see how it goes. I have that route already planned out anyway.

About going faster than my training runs. My current training pace (used the mcmillan calculator to come up with it) is actually faster than what I would need to do a 2:30:00 half, and feels good out to 7 miles right now.
• Posts: 6,592Member Member
@MNLittleFinn

Per training plan question... I wrote a blog on this if you haven't already read it.

http://therunningstan.blogspot.com/2016/02/my-gripes-on-training-plans.html

What i think @MobyCarp and @kristinegift are saying is what i say in my blog above. Use the training plan as a guide not as an absolute. A good plan should have cutback weeks in them already. And even if they do, your body may need them sooner or not as often. And life can get in the way which will disrupt your plan.
• Posts: 6,592Member Member
Also, what @kristinegift outlined is perfectly fine alternative. My intent was to give a simple example. I couldn't possibly outline all the different permutations on how you could execute adding a single mile or even 2 miles per week. I like what @kristinegift is suggesting because variety is the spice of life. Plus it suggests that you can be flexible to your own personal schedule.
• Posts: 4,212Member Member
Stoshew71 wrote: »
@MNLittleFinn

Per training plan question... I wrote a blog on this if you haven't already read it.

http://therunningstan.blogspot.com/2016/02/my-gripes-on-training-plans.html

What i think @MobyCarp and @kristinegift are saying is what i say in my blog above. Use the training plan as a guide not as an absolute. A good plan should have cutback weeks in them already. And even if they do, your body may need them sooner or not as often. And life can get in the way which will disrupt your plan.

Just actually read your blog post right before coming back here. I think my problem is I'm trying way to hard to map things out. I have 24 weeks, starting Sunday, and not including the race week, which I'm planning on only running minimally. Since I stay at home with my little man during the summer, I'm trying to get a general frame so I can get to the mileage I need before the race. I think my problem is that I'm just overanalyzing things....I tend to do that when my OCD kicks in
• Posts: 6,592Member Member
@Stoshew71 and @kristinegift last time for now.

ok, I "think" I have an idea...it's a little of a hybrid. I'm looking at going to 4-5-4-7 the week after my cutback. it adds 2 miles, but I've added 2 miles in a week before no problem. I'm adding 1 mile to my T run, and one to my Sat long run. Basically I'm shaping things up for my T run to become another long run, down the line. It's not too aggressive, but it will also put me where I want to be at pushing into the 20 miles per week arena.

Does that sound right?

yeah, it's not at all uncommon to have a midweek medium long run (another long run that is not quite as long as your weekend long run).

Be completely honest with yourself if you add 2 miles per week over several weeks. If it starts to get too much, then slow down or hold steady. Just because you can add 2 miles 3 weeks in a row without any problems doesn't mean doing that for 2-3 months straight (even with cutbacks) won't eventually wear you down.
• Posts: 6,592Member Member
MobyCarp wrote: »
Most of us have to experience injuries on the road to learning what needing to back off feels like. But that doesn't stop us from trying to explain it to runners who have never been injured.

A post I wrote back 2 years ago I think best sums this up:

http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1233328/how-can-you-not-injure-yourself

edited April 2016
• Posts: 4,212Member Member

I think i'm just worried about getting in the proper mileage before race time, because I try to do my runs in the morning before everyone else gets up, and there's only so much getting up earlier that I can do.

Then I remembered, my little man loves stroller rides....I can turn my 2 mid week runs Tue/Th into daily doubles, when the mileage gets big....That should help me get my miles AND force me to have some slower runs, making things better, and making the cutback weeks even better.
• Posts: 2,912Member Member
I wrote some more about adjusting the plan in my latest reply (4/1/2016 2:52 PM EDT) to my Boston Training thread in the Long Distance Runners group. I've been thinking about that a lot lately as I struggle to convince myself to back off enough.
• Posts: 4,212Member Member
Just because I was wondering, How much do ya'all cut back on cut back weeks? I was thinking about cutting back to a standard distance, like 3-4-5-3 which is one of my early weeks and/or 3-2-4-5-3 if I go to 5 days, so that my cutback provides more perceived rest as the training weeks grow longer

so as an example I might have a cutback to 3-4-5-3 between weeks of 5-5-8-5 and 5-2-6-9-5 respectively, to rest before adding a day and later, have a cutback to 3-2-4-5-3 between 5-2-6-9-5 and6-3-7-11-5 weeks of .

All these are just examples I've tossed together, not necessarily what I'm planning to do, as my plan will flow depending on how things feel. Does that make sense?
edited April 2016
• Posts: 6,592Member Member
It all really depends. Anywhere from cutting back 25-50% is not at all uncommon. I would cut back on the larger runs first and then make up the difference to the smaller runs or cut a single smaller run by adding in an extra rest day. There really is no science to it. it's more what works in your schedule and what your body needs.