Understanding the Program
Good progressive programs have cycles of increased workloads followed by lesser workloads for recovery. This exists in your program, both within the micro-cycle of every week of training and within the macro-cycle within each month of training.
You’ll notice that during your weeks, Session 1 is the toughest, with harder efforts in the brisk intervals. Session 2 is a recovery from Session 1 and is the “easiest” session of the week. Finally, Session 3 is generally in the middle with medium volume and a little more running overall.
In the larger monthly cycle I like to “build” through 3 weeks and then have a 4th week of recovery with lesser workloads. This way your body will recover, rejuvenate and ready itself for another climb in volume and fitness. You can always look forward to “rest and recovery” every 4th week!
It’s important to enjoy yourself exactly where you are. This week, stick to familiar workouts with no brisk intervals. Resist the temptation to do more, even if you want to. Next week you’ll be building again, so enjoy the easier pace and be confident with the program.
Pay attention to any aches or discomforts in your body that do not seem to be going away. Imagine a scale of 1-10, with 1 being very little discomfort and 10 being extreme discomfort. Be aware of that scale whenever you run, and rate any discomfort you experience.
A "1 or 2" is probably ok and simply your body adjusting to these new physical demands. If it increases to a "4 or 5", start paying closer attention. If that awareness continues to increase to a "5 or 6 or higher", then it may be time to re-adjust your program.
Perhaps you've missed a few days, or you need a new pair of shoes for better support, or you need to run on a softer surface. It's also possible the program is simply too much for you right now and you need to do some cross training for awhile to remove the impact of running and allow your body to heal.
More on cross training next week!