Hi friends! After sharing a bit about my cut back week recently, I had several questions and wanted to address them here. I’m a big fan of the cut back week!
There are phases in our training when we can push through without consequence, and then there are lines we cross where we can end up injured. The problem is we can’t see how close we are to that injury line.
Having crossed those lines and learned the hard way in the past, I am now very careful to be proactive with my recovery.
I heard recently that there is no such thing as over-training, only under recovering. Isn’t that an interesting perspective? It puts the responsibility on me.
As long as I give my body the proper recovery time, I can continue to improve and stay injury free. When I don’t, aches or pains can crop up and turn into more serious issues.
How can you use cut backs in your training?
You should implement cut back days, cut back weeks and cut back months/seasons or training.
Cut back days are simply adding in those easy days to offset the hard days. Most coaches believe in a pattern of hard-easy-hard-easy-hard. Or possibly easy-moderate-hard-easy-hard-easy-moderate… etc.
For cut back weeks, you want to build both intensity and mileage for 2-3 weeks and plan a cut back week on the 3rd or 4th week during which your mileage is slashed by 25-30% and the intensity takes a step back as well.
I will sometimes run all easy for the week. Other times, I will keep a harder workout but cut back the intensity. Instead of 5-6 miles at tempo, I might run 2-3. Or instead of 12 400m repeats, I might do 4-6.
Typically, a cut back month will come after a big goal race, such as a half marathon or marathon. The first few weeks will focus on recovery and the last week or two would begin slowly building the mileage back again.
Your body is getting stronger in the recovery phase. It’s where you best absorb all the work you’ve done and heal the microtears and stress to the body so that you can come back stronger.
Do you plan cut back weeks into your training, or do you wait until your body gives you signs of over training?
Do you break your running into seasons over the course of the year?