Race canceled … Build base? Build speed? Get leaner?

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    Pittsburgh Half Marathon was canceled right as I was into my longest runs and peak condition (~35-40 miles/week). I still plan to complete the virtual race on May 3rd (don’t want to bankrupt the nonprofit that runs it via a refund), but that’s just not the same so I’ll probably aim for Richmond in November as my next race. I’m also going to have a lot more unstructured time given I’ll work from home exclusively until September… more time for training!

    I’m 51 yrs old, 6′ tall and 195lbs with body fat between 21% (summer) and 24% (December/January). My half marathon times are consistently between 1:50 and 1:58 and 5k times range from 21.5 min to 24 min. I’d like to get my half time below 1:50 and my 5k under 21 min.

    So … any advice on whether to focus on getting leaner, focus on getting my regular running base up closer to 40 miles/week, or spend more time at the track? Any ideas on balancing all of these goals consistently versus periodization with a focus on one or two at a time?

    Thanks, George

    David Warden


    If you’ve been using our 80/20 plans, consider “leveling up” to the next Level to make that next breakthrough. If you have been on the Level 1, go to the Level 2. You can always switchs level for free with 80/20 plans.

    If you are doing you own custom plan, I’d focus on 800M and mile repeats, something like 4-6 x 800M on 5-6 minutes easy, or 3-8 x 1 mile on 1-3 minutes rest. A killer HM workout is 12×1 mile at race pace on 2 minutes rest, but you have to build up to that based on the previous mile repeat work.

    Sure, you can work on general and specific training at the same time, but that is rarely as effective as true periodization: first focus on building your base threshold and speed, then switch to the specific demands of your event.

    You can pound the miles while you build speed, but pound too much and you can’t recover fast enough to build new speed the next time.

    Yes, getting leaner will automatically make you faster, but it’s not my expertise.


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