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.
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?