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Road to Marquette:
Training for the 2004 National Masters

April Showers Bring May Intervals...
May 7, 2003 - By Mike Muha

April's training went very well, not only because it was relaxed, but because I took time to think about what I was doing. 

That was the LAST thing I ever expected from a fortune cookie, but there it was in black and white. If that's not vindication for my training plans, I don't know what is! (And my wife rolls her eyes...)

Hey, Jeff Potter, looks like the gods have spoken: the "structured, minute-eensy- weensy-detail training plan" will overcome your "Willy-nilly Backyard Action Plan". You might want to thing about changing your training strategy.  More...

For example, I decided to compare heart rates, perceived effort, and recover time for easy distance sessions for biking, running, and rollerskiing. Findings: Biking is less stressful - I can bike longer than I can rollerski at a lower heart rate, and not feel as stressed (especially road biking). For building up a cardiovascular base during spring, replacing some of my usual rollerskiing sessions with biking looks to be the way to go. And being less stressed in my distance sessions means I have more left for my interval sessions.

You see much more biking in my training log this year than last year.

I also adjusted heart rate zones because I felt I was training at too hard of a heart rate for my distance sessions last year. Based on a max heart rate of 176, my new zones change quite a bit at the low end compared to my last year’s zones that we set up. I think almost all my distance training last year was in this year’s Level 2. And I think that negatively impacted the quality of my interval training in the fourth quarter last year.


Last Year's
Training Zones
Revised Training
Zones For This Year
Used to
Create New Zones
Level 1 114 - 139 106 - 123 60 - 70%
Level 2 124 - 144 123 - 141 70 - 80%
Level 3 144 - 154 141 - 154 80 - 87.5%
Level 4 154 - 164 154 - 167 87.5 - 95%
Level 5 164 - 174 167 - 176 95 - 100%

The May Training Plan

"When should I start doing interval training?" NOW! If you've been keeping up with the training literature, you'll know that interval training is basically year-around now. Gone are the days of long, slow distance training everyday through spring and summer, then starting intervals in the fall. Today, it's a mix of easy distance and intervals training starting in the spring. And for most of us part-timers who aren't training like World Cup athletes, a long rest period after racing season is not really required.

So interval training begins with my May training plan. I do one "quality" session a week. This month includes 4x4 minute gentle uphill running intervals, 3x6 minute running intervals, a 15 minute bike pace session, and a running time trial - all starting out relatively easy and getting harder during the session.

I'm also doing a 10K trail run this month for fun - who could miss a trail run called the "Rocket Dog Ankle Biter Trail Run"?

My plan of also calls for in lots of strength training, some of it hidden in distance sessions. Most weeks call for two sessions of weight training in the gym. But I also do a 30 minute "skate without poles" distance strength session, and my classic workouts will be doublepole and kick doublepole only - no diagonal stride, even up the steepest hills. I've also found that a weight room session the day after a good doublepoling session goes very well!

And you?

Your May training should include two distance sessions, an interval or pace session, and a strength session each week. And you can do to in one session if you include strength training in a distance session (no poles or only poles). Get going!