This winter season, we are going back to basics. For the first six weeks of training, we will be trying to accomplish one thing, and one thing only. Getting as many miles under our feet as we can.
We will be progressively increasing our mileage, about 5% per week, in order to reach our goal of a solid aerobic base by the beginning of February. We are not shooting for 100 miles per week, but we are going to be able to consistently run for 60-75 minutes at a time.
Running lots of miles accomplishes many things. I blogged about this four years ago, you can re-read it if you want. But, in the time since that initial blog post, I have learned a few things about what I used to call LSD. (Long Slow Distance)
First of all, it shouldn't be automatically long, or automatically slow. It should start off at a distance that taxes you, then you should slowly increase that distance so it keeps taxing you. The pace should not always be super slow, nor should it always be super fast. The pace should change with the terrain, the weather, your overall fitness level, even with how you are feeling minute to minute. These runs should be fun, meaning if you want to pick up the pace a bit, go for it. And if you are feeling a little sluggish, don't be afraid to shuffle a mile to get warmed up.
Let your body tell you how fast to go. Don't be concerned with paces or miles or anything like that. Go out and just run. Have fun with it. Know that the time spent running now will help guard against injury and sickness, help prevent fatigue, enable you to do a greater number of intervals with shorter recovery, and allow you to get that top speed that much faster.
My old ski coach used to say, "You gotta go slow to go fast." and that applies here. Intervals, tempo runs, plyometrics. All that will come later. Build your foundation of aerobic miles now, so you can tolerate and utilize all of those speed and strength workouts.