Mile Markers: Intuitive Running

Mile Markers: Intuitive Running

When I am training for a race, I always have a training plan that progresses, cuts back, peaks, and tapers. But when I’m not 12-16 weeks out from a race, I let my running become more intuitive and flexible. I will set intentions for each week – this number of runs, one long run, one faster run, and a few strength workouts, for example – and then go with how I feel each day as the week progresses. 

Last week was a week of intuitive running. I had my intentions in mind and completed those runs when felt best (and when the weather was best) and had a great week of running.

Mile Markers: Intuitive Running

Monday: 5.8 mile trail run

One of my friends (who I also coach) invited me on trail run since it was a holiday. We began running on a long hill, descended and climbed again as we looped through a local state park on dirt trails, and descended back down the giant hill for a total of 750 feet elevation gain. While trail running is certainly not my forte (I am not fast on the trails and inevitably have to power hike some of the steepest hills), I really enjoyed this run and the company. 

Mile Markers: Intuitive Running

Tuesday: 5.2 mile run & 30 minute strength train

I felt the past three days – the first long run in 6 weeks, ski lessons, and a trail run – on this run, so I kept the mileage low, the terrain flat, and the effort easy. I ran Ollie, who was practically vibrating due to his excess energy, for four miles, and then I took Charlie out for 1.2 miles. Charlie and I got caught in the rain, only to see the sunshine emerge about half an hour after we completed our run. 

Ryan does his speed workouts on Tuesday nights at the gym (at least right now, when it’s dark before 5 PM), so I tagged along and did a strength training workout:

3 sets of 10:
Cross-body lunges
Plank with knee dips 
Medicine ball slam
Bridge with alternating leg raises
Med ball Russian twist
Med ball thruster
T-raises on the stability ball
Jump squats

I followed up the workout with some hip and shoulder mobility work.

Wednesday: 35 minutes Pilates

My hip flexors were sore and tight, so I took a rest day from running and hit the mat for a magic circle Pilatesology workout. My workout focused on hip, core, glute, and back strength and mobility and finished with a few minutes of stretching out the hip flexors. My posture felt back to normal after this session and I was ready to run again! 

Mile Markers: Intuitive Running

Thursday: 7 mile progression run

My legs felt fresh after the rest day, so I decided to run a little farther and faster. I took Ollie with me to tire him out. We ran the first three miles easy, the middle two miles moderate, and the final two miles comfortably hard.

In the final mile, we were sustaining a surprisingly quick clip for the effort – a 6:55! – until we hit the final stretch along a boardwalk. The bouncing of the boardwalk and the slick surface of recently rained-on wood made me nervous; I had a mental image of Ollie seeing a bird and pulling, sending both of us careening off the boardwalk at that fast pace and crashing straight into the bog. So, I reined in our pace a bit and we finished strong (and more importantly, on dry land) with a 7:08 mile. 

Mile Markers: Intuitive Running

This winter’s weather has been so strange and therefore difficult to dress for, and I let the slightly warmer temperatures trick me into thinking I didn’t need gloves. I need to learn that if I plan on running hard, I need gloves even if it’s almost 40 degrees. I had to run my purplish hands under hot water once we got home to even be able to text Ryan about my run! 

Friday: 4 mile easy run & Pilates

I took Charlie out for an easy three mile run. In authentic puggle nature, our run involved more potty spots than miles. I took Ollie out for a quick mile to get to four for the day, then completed a short Pilates workout. 

Saturday: Rest day

Originally, Ryan and I had the intentions of completing our long run on Saturday. We got out later than planned and found that our long run route was being used as a race course. We were both hungry at that point and Ryan was feeling slight under the weather with allergies, so we opted to move our run to Sunday. 

Instead, we went shopping for ski boots. Just like running, a properly fitting boot makes a significant difference in efficiency and comfort. We visited a local shop (Eastside Ski and Sport for local readers) and got fantastic service and brand new ski boots. 

Mile Markers: Intuitive Running

Sunday: 10 mile long run

Ryan’s training plan called for a 10 mile long run with the last 2 miles at half marathon race effort, and Ollie and I joined him because company always makes long runs better. Our run started out in the rain and wind, which quickly dissipated. We maintained a comfortable pace in the low 9’s until mile 8, and then we picked it up to finish with 7:59 and 7:54. 

Mile Markers: Intuitive Running

Linking up with Weekly Wrap

How was your week of running?
Do you start each week with a plan or do you base your week off of how you feel?


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22 Responses

  1. I’ve been sort of doing the same thing lately with having an intention for the week and then doing what makes sense as the week progresses. However, I think I need to be better about planning out my days so I can spread out my workouts a bit more. Looks like you had a great week of running!

  2. When I was training, I always had a plan. I wrote it out every Sunday night, when I would do my workouts based around my group runs, races, etc. Now that I’m coming back from injury, I still plan SOME things, but it is much more flexible and I’ll skip a run if I need to and cross train… and I’m cross training a LOT more. I think it’s good to have a plan but you really just have to roll with it with life too. It is kind of nice mentally to not deal with a plan too.

  3. I always have a loose plan of how I want my week to go. 4 runs, one long, 2 free, and one speedwork. I have 2 CrossFit/cross training workouts, one strength and one conditioning. There’s always yoga in there. With our winter, the speedwork hasn’t been happening.

  4. I was running intuitively for a while (rehabbing from knee surgery and just trying to get back out there) but I’ve hired a coach and now have a plan. I enjoy running intuitively and normally I would because I’m not actively training for anything big just yet but I like having the coach and having a plan. She’s also helping me build up a strong base so when I do start officially “training,” I’ll be ready.

    What kind of dog is Ollie that he can go run 7 miles at that pace with you?

    1. Ollie is a lab-blue heeler (cattle dog) mix! We think it’s the heeler that gives him such impressive endurance and speed. He’s been running with me for over a year now and we feed him the Purina athletic food to support the intensity of his exercise. I’ll admit though, that run tired him out which I loved – he is a bundle of energy usually!

  5. It’s so refreshing to have these weeks of running and training! And this weather, I mean what is going on? I feel for you with the numb hands and not being able to even text. That has happened to me more times than I can remember.
    Looks like it turned out to be another great week (congrats again on the fast mile!) and love that you were able to get ski boots as they really make a huge difference.
    Hope the weather is more predictable there this week…

  6. Honestly, since being able to run post-injury, it’s been nothing but intuitive running for me. I think I’ll get over that, sooner or later. When I do, I’ll probably fall between intuition and planning.:) NICE WEEK!

  7. I’m currently trying to plan what to do when at the beginning of the week, but base how much I do on how I feel any given day. But last week wasn’t a very good test run since I got sick (or it was, because I didn’t do anything when I didn’t feel up to it?)

  8. When I don’t have a goal race in mind, I go with a general idea of the mileage of types of runs I should do. This way if I see a race I’d like to participate in, I can do so at the last minute (relatively speaking). I wish I lived closed enough to the ski slopes to need my own boots. Since we only get to go occasionally, we rent everything. It’s good to see you back on the Weekly Wrap!

  9. I think intuitive running is one of the best things you can do for your body…. and the more experienced you get in your training, the better you’re able to adjust your workout schedule every week. I think having an overall goal for the week, but being flexible with your workout sessions is key not only for keeping things fun, but also for seeing progress.

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