I love the plan so far and I'm seeing good results. No knee problems or shin splints. That is a first for me. Very happy to have found you Eric!
I was looking ahead to this week's workouts and saw that on day 25 of the plan, the workout is called "Program Start-up vVO2 Test - 1 mile". It says the following:
BT: WU: 20 min. in zone 1-3. TEST: The test is best done on a track or flat course. TEST - After your WU, run as steady as you can for 6 minutes. This effort should be as hard as you can run STEADY. Do not go out too hard and struggle to finish. It is better to error on starting too easy. CD: 5-10 minutes nice and easy walking.
Data RECORD: Capture your average heart rate for the 6 min. test and estimate your distance traveled so you have a camparision for your week 8 test. Follow the directions below to create your HR training zones.
This looks exactly like the workout I did to kick off the plan.
(1) Are we supposed to use the average heart rate from this 2nd test to update our zones for future workouts?
Also, I have noticed that my HR zones seem a bit low. To maintain my HR in zones 1-2, my pace is really really slow, nothing like I used to run. As soon as I lift my knees higher and increase my pace, my HR pops into zone 3. My cadence is quick so I'm not plodding along, it's just more like running in place! I suspect I've been guilty of over training in the past and I should just follow the program patiently :-) That said:
(2) Are slow pace times typical at first when training using the strength plan?
Thanks again for the great plans. I will definitely get another one after I finish this one. I just have to figure out what distance I want to tackle.
I did the test this AM. I was faster than the first time with the same average HR. I definitely feel much stronger. Sure was nice to see tangible results in such a short amount of time.
Of course now I have a couple more questions:
(1) Should I be doing any exercises besides the running? If so, how often and when?
(2) Regarding training plans: Which one next... The intermediate strength plan or 5K?
Eric has some videos on the website with some foot strengthening exercises included. He has a video coming out at some point that should contain more exercises as well...he can probably tell you more about when it might be coming out.
As for a next plan, it would depend on what you want to run. I did the trail half marathon plan last fall and finished with a half marathon. I followed that with the 8 week strength/endurance, and in the spring I did the 12 week intermediate/advance strength/endurance. The good thing about Eric's training plans is that you are working within your own heart rate zones, so as you noticed with your mid-way retest, your zones will move as you get fitter.
One thing I am not sure about, and would like Eric to chime in on if possible, is exactly what you are asking, but more in a general sense...i.e. if I am not particularly training for a specific race, should I keep going on a training plan for whatever particular distance I am used to? For instance, I didn't make it into the NY Marathon this year, but would like to do some half marathons in the fall. Should I restart the trail half marathon training again, or keep on with another 12 week intermediate strength/endurance? I don't know if Eric grades his training programs in a progression from easy to hard, or if it is just a matter of alternating weeks of distance with weeks of hill repeats. Eric?