Prorating Miles and Training Load

I’ve had two questions in the last week about how I structure my training cycles, one very nice from Ryan and one not so nice. I can guarantee that this blog makes me feel the opposite of impressive. Exposed and vulnerable maybe, but not impressive.

Yep, just boosting my self esteem.

Yep, just boosting my self esteem.

What does it mean to “prorate” an off day and why do I do it? The short answer is that I prorate to make sure that my daily volume is accurate for whatever week I’m in. From a physiological perspective, our legs don’t know that it’s Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. They respond to a cumulative load over a period of time. I run on a 4 week microcycle with 3 weeks at volume (75 to 80 miles a week right now) with 1 adaptation week (85% of volume, so 66.6 miles). I also take two full off days a month, giving me 28 to 29 days of training a month depending on the month.

For volume weeks, I take 80 miles, subtract my long run distance for the week (say 18) and divide the remainder by 6, which leaves me a daily volume of 10.3 miles. I do the same for adaptation weeks, but start with 66 miles instead, which reduces my daily volume to 8. When I have an off day, I just record the day as equal to the mileage I would have run that day. If I miss an unscheduled day (like I did after the Great Desert Adventure of 2014), it goes in as a zero.

Could I leave planned rest days as zeroes? Sure. I used to do that but found that it was harder to look at cumulative work when I had to always go back and figure out if that week was one with a rest day or if I had messed up my mileage. For example, if I drop out my prorated days from the last month, my miles would have been 68.6, 79, 51.8, 78.8. It’s easier for me (and my coach) to watch patterns when it’s 78.1, 79, 59.4, 78.8 (Volume, Volume, Adaptation, Volume).

How do you plan out your rest days? What kind of a mileage cycle are you on?

5 thoughts on “Prorating Miles and Training Load

  1. carlb40

    I only run 4 days a week so my rest days are built in. I lift and do yoga those days. I’m running 7.5 Tuesdays, 6 Thursdays, long on Saturday (at least 10), and 6 on Sundays. No real rhyme or reason, but it seems to be working. Like I’ve said, I have no idea what I’m doing half the time. Haha.

    1. runnerunderpressure

      That’s very similar to what I did when I first got back into running; 4 days of running, 2 days of cross training and an off day a week. Regular days were 5 to 6 and weekend run was 8 to 10. Now that you mention it, I kind of miss that!!

  2. Laurel

    Oh man, haters gonna hate. I hear you about feeling exposed and vulnerable. I get nervous about posting my race times or workouts I do because I don’t want people to judge me. For the matter, I think you’re pretty impressive, though!

  3. bpangie

    Interesting. Never really thought of doing it like that… I’ve got to read up on microcycles like that, thinking of trying to implement them when I start training for real, again.


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