Welcome to Phase 3

It’s a Phase 3 kind of week around here. Joe, the MMU girls team and I are all starting Phase 3. Phase 3 is a Jack Daniels phenomenon (the acclaimed physiologist, not the booze), the goal of which is to optimize the components of training that apply to your event of primary interest.

For the girls that I coach, this represents the transition from general fitness to 5K specific speed. We spent the bulk of the summer running easy miles and climbing up mountains (literally) around Vermont to build as big an aerobic base as we could muster. In the past few weeks, we’ve started basic workouts to remind our legs that in fact, we can move fast. Starting today, we’ll move to workouts that prepare them more specifically to race a 5K. This includes intervals, tempo runs and full speed work. We’ve also revamped our drills to improve form and will spend a day a week working on tiny details like how to run downhill, how to pass and how to run tangents.

For me, the transition to Phase 3 always feels like the beginning of “real” training. I know I’ve been training for months but Phase 3 always feels more real because workouts become more traditional in terms of repetitions and effort. Daniels also states that phase III is usually the most stressful in terms of quality training sessions and I would have to agree. That stress is one of the reasons that Will didn’t have me start Phase 3 until I had a week of sleep under my belt. Other changes for Phase III for me include aiming for 10 hours of sleep a night, emphasizing rest when I’m not running and no alcohol until Philly. Giving up beer and wine isn’t a big deal, but I’m definitely struggling with the new rest schedule. I’m not a great sleeper and I’m definitely bad at relaxing. By Thursday last week, I texted Will to ask what I’m supposed to do between workouts. His response? Sit on the couch. Thankfully I’m doing a reading month and have lots of interesting obstetrics articles to catch up on, but sitting is still tough.

Are you a Daniels person or do you follow Higdon, Pfitz or another plan? What parts of training are you best at? And what do I start watching on Netflix?!?!

Join the Conversation!