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Step-back week mileage

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Step-back week mileage Empty Step-back week mileage

Post  Stephanie on Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:09 pm

I am not following a training program these days (making my own up for the most part) and was wondering if there is a recommended amount I should scale back my weekly mileage on a step-back week?
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Post  Dave Bussard on Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:10 am

Stephanie O wrote:I am not following a training program these days (making my own up for the most part) and was wondering if there is a recommended amount I should scale back my weekly mileage on a step-back week?

I don't know...I never do an intentional step back week. Maybe I do them but don't realize it, but it's more of a decrease in intensity rather than miles, when I'm feeling whipped. But...I've heard some do them every 3rd week or so. Probably should have Googled it before replying...
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Post  Nick Morris on Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:37 am

@Dave Bussard wrote:
Stephanie O wrote:I am not following a training program these days (making my own up for the most part) and was wondering if there is a recommended amount I should scale back my weekly mileage on a step-back week?

I don't know...I never do an intentional step back week. Maybe I do them but don't realize it, but it's more of a decrease in intensity rather than miles, when I'm feeling whipped. But...I've heard some do them every 3rd week or so. Probably should have Googled it before replying...

I believe that Hal's programs have them every third week. The long run get's scaled back. If I recall right, the first few are only a couple of miles, but as the long runs get longer the gap between a step back long run and a weekly long run gets larger. I think the actually total weekly mileage is going to very based your experience level and your intensity of training.
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Post  Schuey on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:03 am

These days I only try and take a stepback week when I feel that my body needs it. In general most people take a stepback every 3rd or 4th week. So it could be running steady mileage or an increase of mileage for 2 or 3 weeks and then a stepback week. Another way that you can do things is bases it off a % of your peak week mileage.

So if 100 miles was going to be your peak you can then base the rest of your mileage plus a stepback week by % of that peak mileage. I would say that for a stepback week you could scale back the mileage from 78% to 84% of peak mileage. So in this example of 100 miles a stepback week could be 78 to 84 miles. Now again I think a lot of different factors could be added in an even if you % it is still good to listen to your body and cutback more if you had to or even keep mileage the same as the week before if you are feeling fine. Also another thing to take in account is that if you feel that your body breaks down during training you could do a stepback week every 3rd week.

Anothe words you would train hard for 2 weeks then stepback week. Again this approach could work for someone you has a history of inury or burning out during training. By doing a stepback like this it may help prevent inury and also help keep one fresh.

Even thought my training has changed over the years and how apporach things but here is % break down that I have used before for a 18 week plan.

Week % of Peak
1 70%
2 74%
3 78%
4 80%
5 82%
6 82%
7 87%
8 78%
9 92%
10 92%
11 96%
12 92%
13 100%
14 89%
15 89%
16 66%
17 49%
18 Race Week
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Post  Admin on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:42 am

I think that whether or not one 'plans' for step back weeks should be based on how much they are increasing the training stimulous. If following a schedule where you are increasing miles/intensity significantly beyond where you've been before, planning for a step back week every 3rd week is probably a good idea. However, if your plan has you gradually adding miles/intensity such that you are not pushing your body hard enough to 'break', then it makes more sense to simply back off when you feel you need to, instead of having pre-planned step back weeks.

If you do plan step back weeks, I think 75% of the prior weeks' mileage is probably a good benchmark.

YMMV.

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Post  Stephanie on Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:01 am

@Dave Bussard wrote:I don't know...I never do an intentional step back week. Maybe I do them but don't realize it, but it's more of a decrease in intensity rather than miles, when I'm feeling whipped.
This sounds like a good approach to me... doing it when you feel you need it.

@Schuey wrote:These days I only try and take a stepback week when I feel that my body needs it.
Hmmm, seems like this is a common approach - reduce according to feel rather than a scheduled plan.

@Mr MattM wrote:I think that whether or not one 'plans' for step back weeks should be based on how much they are increasing the training stimulous. If following a schedule where you are increasing miles/intensity significantly beyond where you've been before, planning for a step back week every 3rd week is probably a good idea. However, if your plan has you gradually adding miles/intensity such that you are not pushing your body hard enough to 'break', then it makes more sense to simply back off when you feel you need to, instead of having pre-planned step back weeks.
This makes perfect sense Matt especially about the step-back being based on how much a person has increased their training and if they've done that before. I am not necessarily injury-prone but I am coming off an injury hence the caution with how much I push myself as I try to rebuild to where I was pre-injury. Seems it may be a delicate balance. Reminds me of Dave-O's signature... Stress. Recover. Improve. You'd think any damn fool could do it. Razz
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Post  Dave-O on Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:35 pm

Stephanie O wrote:
This makes perfect sense Matt especially about the step-back being based on how much a person has increased their training and if they've done that before. I am not necessarily injury-prone but I am coming off an injury hence the caution with how much I push myself as I try to rebuild to where I was pre-injury. Seems it may be a delicate balance. Reminds me of Dave-O's signature... Stress. Recover. Improve. You'd think any damn fool could do it. Razz

Hey, I recognize that line....

The difference between coming off an injury is a big one. In that case, you really need to let your body be your guide. If you feel okay, step back weeks aren't as necessary, or don't need to be as drastic, if you're rebuilding to a previous volume level.

Now, when you're pushing a previously untouched volume, that's when the step backs become more important, in my opinion. In that instance 15-25% percent seems to be a good guide. However, Dave B's point of cutting back on the pace is well-taken too.
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Post  Kenny B. on Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:42 pm

Great replies and this is something that I think is custom to the runner through experience. If your somewhat new to this marathon thing I would stay on the conservative side and cut back every 3-4 weeks 15-25% of mileage.

I myself tend to cut back every 3 weeks both for physical and mental break typically in the 15% range.

Martin- thanks for your breakdown pretty interesting how you peak 6 weeks out as far as mileage is concerned. What is the thought behind that if any?
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Post  charles on Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:10 pm

In the past I have treated step back weeks as a week of recovery runs. I have done 5 miles a day Mon - Sat and then an easy 10 on Sunday for 40 miles. On Tuesday and Wednesday I feel like crap. By Friday I am really to run hard, real hard and by Sunday I feel like I'm ready to race. Two weeks ago I did this but ran 15 on Sunday instead of 10. I think it was a properly timed step back week. The problem was last week I ran less because of a vacation. So maybe the timing wasn't so good after all.

I think if I were to advise an experienced runner - I would say step back when your body tells you to and that could be something as simple as three or four days of reduced mileage. A beginner/novice runner I would advise to stick to their schedule of cut back weeks every couple of weeks.

Runner's World or Running times had a brief one page article recently about reducing mileage. I thought it was interesting in that it advised the injury prone to step back every two weeks. It advised the road warriors every four weeks.
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Post  Stephanie on Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:29 am

@Dave-O wrote:The difference between coming off an injury is a big one. In that case, you really need to let your body be your guide. If you feel okay, step back weeks aren't as necessary, or don't need to be as drastic, if you're rebuilding to a previous volume level.

Now, when you're pushing a previously untouched volume, that's when the step backs become more important, in my opinion. In that instance 15-25% percent seems to be a good guide. However, Dave B's point of cutting back on the pace is well-taken too.
Thanks for pointing this difference out Dave-O!! I am definitely focusing on rebuilding to previous a previous volume; once I am there I will follow a program. For now, listening to my body is a HUGE appeal to me and it's what I've been doing for quite sometime now and I will continue to do so. I am also finding it very liberating to run without following a specific training plan.
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Post  Schuey on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:25 am

Stephanie O wrote:] For now, listening to my body is a HUGE appeal to me and it's what I've been doing for quite sometime now and I will continue to do so. I am also finding it very liberating to run without following a specific training plan.

I think it is good that you are listening to your body during this rebuild phase and I think that it would be a huge benefit for you to continue this even after you are back to your normal mileage or even increasing your mileage. I have been a big fan for sometime about using the body signals as the indicator for what to do with one's training.

As for your statement that you "find it very liberating to run without following a specific training plan", I have found the same over the past few years. When I go into a specific training cycle I still don't follow a specific training plan, rather I have an outline for the whole cycle and for each week. Another words instead of saying I have to do this on this day or this week or this month I leave the training open to have the freedom to do what will help keep my training fresh. I will add that I do have the structure of each phase and what I want to accomplish in each phase for example: base phase, endurance phase, etc...

Now I will say that training without a specific plan from coming back from an injury is one thing and is different then when training healthy and trying to get ready for a specific race. So you might find that you are like others that you need a lot or more structure in your training then myself. Still I think the bottom line is whether you have little, some or a lot of structure I still think that it is very important for one to be in tune with their body and make the right choices on what to do by what signals one's body is giving.
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Post  Jerry on Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:02 am

Stephanie O wrote:
I am not necessarily injury-prone but I am coming off an injury

lol!
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Post  Stephanie on Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:51 pm

@Jerry wrote:
Stephanie O wrote:
I am not necessarily injury-prone but I am coming off an injury

lol!
Oh Jerry... you always make me chuckle!! Hahaha!

@Schuey wrote:Now I will say that training without a specific plan from coming back from an injury is one thing and is different then when training healthy and trying to get ready for a specific race. So you might find that you are like others that you need a lot or more structure in your training then myself. Still I think the bottom line is whether you have little, some or a lot of structure I still think that it is very important for one to be in tune with their body and make the right choices on what to do by what signals one's body is giving.
I will most definitely continue to listen to my body. This injury has probably turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me in terms of my running in the long-term. Ya it sucked in the short-term losing so much time, but boy did I ever learn a lot!!! Before I used to cling to a training plan because I thought it would guarantee that I'd get faster & stronger and not end up injured... heck, if the plan says I should do that, it must be good for me, meanwhile the niggles were starting to scream at me.

Good ol' hindsight... it's 20/20.
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Post  Peg Coover on Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:50 pm

Stephanie O wrote:
@Jerry wrote:
Stephanie O wrote:
I am not necessarily injury-prone but I am coming off an injury

lol!
Oh Jerry... you always make me chuckle!! Hahaha!

@Schuey wrote:Now I will say that training without a specific plan from coming back from an injury is one thing and is different then when training healthy and trying to get ready for a specific race. So you might find that you are like others that you need a lot or more structure in your training then myself. Still I think the bottom line is whether you have little, some or a lot of structure I still think that it is very important for one to be in tune with their body and make the right choices on what to do by what signals one's body is giving.
I will most definitely continue to listen to my body. This injury has probably turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me in terms of my running in the long-term. Ya it sucked in the short-term losing so much time, but boy did I ever learn a lot!!! Before I used to cling to a training plan because I thought it would guarantee that I'd get faster & stronger and not end up injured... heck, if the plan says I should do that, it must be good for me, meanwhile the niggles were starting to scream at me.

Good ol' hindsight... it's 20/20.

My stress fracture was also good for me in the long run! It was back at then end of 2005 and I found the HH forums and have obviously learned a ton about running, but more importantly, training! I haven't had anything major since then because I do listen to my body and I do take extra rest days if something does start to bother me.
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Post  Stephanie on Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:48 am

@Peg Coover wrote:My stress fracture was also good for me in the long run! It was back at then end of 2005 and I found the HH forums and have obviously learned a ton about running, but more importantly, training! I haven't had anything major since then because I do listen to my body and I do take extra rest days if something does start to bother me.
Oh Peg, this is great to hear!!! I'm glad things have been going so well for you!! I guess it all comes down to 'living & learning' and it sure helps to have these forums to guide us through our blunders. Smile Happy running!!
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