Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Maximum Performance Running Launches New Coaching Options

Maximum Performance Running has initiated new coaching service options for distance runners of all ages and ability levels.  Options that are both effective in producing great running results, and affordable for most any budget in these tough economic times.
On-Line Coaching
On-line coaching is the coaching option designed for the serious runner looking for a personal running coach to help them take their running to the next level.   In this option Coach Mark Hadley becomes your personal running coach, consulting with you on all aspects of your training, and designing for you custom training programs in order help you reach your goals.  You and Coach Hadley have regularly scheduled feedback sessions, schedule adjustments and optimizations, and he is available to you 24/7 for when urgent situations occur that require immediate feedback and discussion.  Let Coach Hadley use his 30+ years in the sport of running, and his vast experience in successfully working with runners at all levels, to help you achieve your goals in the sport.
On-Line Coaching Includes:
-        Initial consultation(s) with Coach Hadley to discuss your running and training history and future goals and race schedule
-        Complete and customized detailed training program, designed a training cycle at a time, but updated weekly
-        Weekly e-mail exchange with Coach Hadley to report your results from training, get feedback on the week, have training paces and any specific instructions assigned for the following week, and to make any adjustments to the program/schedule that are needed for optimization.
-        24/7 access to Coach Hadley if problems/issues arise or urgent communication is needed
-        Personalized race strategies based on your training, strengths and weaknesses
Price:  $125 per month*
*Discounted to $75 per month for members of the: 2016 U.S. Marathon Trials Project
On-Line Coaching replaces “Personal Coaching” as a streamlined, more affordable option but one that still includes all the personal attention and customization that is critical to maximizing your running performances.
Click here to go to MPR's On-Line Coaching Page
Custom Training Programs
Custom program is the perfect choice of the runner who in the past has used a generic program found on the internet or in a book in order to train for their big races.   An MPR Custom Training Program helps them boost their performance through a training schedule that has been custom designed specifically for them, taking into account their strengths, weaknesses and personal situation (work, family, travel, vacations, race schedule).  You put a lot of time and effort into training, don't entrust that to some generic program, you deserve better!  Let Coach Hadley build you a personalized training program, so you can get the most from the time and effort you put into training for your next big race.

4 Easy Steps:

1) Select the program length you want (8-24 weeks) depending on your goal race and then register on-line
2) Coach Hadley sends you (via e-mail) a Runner Questionnaire to fill out
3) Fill out and return the questionnaire and Coach Hadley will follow up if there is any need for clarifications / additional information
4) Coach Hadley will design your custom training program and have it to you (via e-mail) within 5 days after receiving your questionnaire back.
Each Custom Program Includes:
-          Detailed Custom Training Schedule
-          Custom Race Plan
-          Tips, charts and fun extras
8 week -         $99.99
12 weeks  -  $124.99
16 weeks  -  $149.99
20 weeks  -  $174.99
24 weeks  -  $199.99
Click here to go to MPR's Custom Program Page
Consulting Session
The MPR Consulting Sessions are designed to help runners get answers to their running questions?  Coach Hadley offers 1-on-1 consulting sessions to help runners get answers, whether it is through a planning session, training plan review or design, or situation analysis.  The MPR consulting sessions is a chance to sit-down 1-on-1 and pick the brain of a coach with over 30 years of experience in the sport, and one who has successfully trained everyone from masters to youth and from beginners to elites?  Consulting sessions are available on the phone from anywhere or in person in the Charlotte, NC area. 
Price:  $50 per hour
Click here to go to MPR's Consulting Sessions Page
Making A Difference – Giving Back
Not only can MPR’s coaching services help you achieve your goals in running, but it can help make a difference for those with special needs.  MPR founder Mark Hadley’s family has been greatly affected by Autism (his youngest daughter and his nephew both have Autism).  So in order to be a good steward of the coaching skills he has been blessed with, Coach Hadley is donating 10% of all revenues from MPR’s coaching and consulting services to charities that focus on Autism Spectrum Disorders research, advocacy, and support.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2016 U.S. Marathon Trials Project in conjuction with Maximum Performance Running is excited to announce the formation of the: 2016 U.S. Marathon Trials Project
Numerous years ago I got into the field of coaching because I have a passion for helping people chase and achieve their goals and dreams. And I have spent my time in coaching mainly focused on the marathon as my specialty, helping multiple runners achieve an elite level in the event.  So I am super excited for the opportunity to combine my specialty in coaching with my passion for helping people chase their dreams through the formation of's 2016 U.S. Marathon Trials Project.
- Coach Mark Hadley

Project Premise and Goals
The more people the United States has seriously training to run a high level marathon, the stronger, deeper and more competitive we become as a marathoning nation. For many serious runners, the goal and dream of competing in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials keeps them training and competing at a high level, and motivates them to continue to improve. The 2016 U.S. Marathon Trials Project has been established to foster both of these things, to help deepen our country as a marathoning nation, and to help serious runners chase and accomplish their goals and dreams.'s 2016 U.S. Marathon Trials Project has 3 goals:
1. Help as many people as possible qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials
2. Help as many people as possible obtain the A Standard for the trials
3. Help as many people as possible finish at or near the top of the field in the trials race

Once we help a project member reach the trials standard, we help them work towards achieving the "A" standard (if not already acheived), once the "A" standard is achieved we help them work to maximize their placing in the trials race.
2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifying Standards

Men:       A standard - 2:15  B standard - 2:18  Alternate B Standard - 1:05 half marathon
Women:  A standard - 2:37  B standard - 2:43  Alternate B Standard - 1:15 half marathon

Qualifying window: August 1, 2013 until 30 days before the trials (est. winter 2015/2016)

Qualifying Standards To Join The Project

The project is open to any U.S. citizen who has run 1 (or more) of the below standards in the past 12 months.

Men:       Marathon - 2:30:00   Half Marathon - 1:11:00    10k: 32:00
Women:  Marathon - 3:00:00   Half Marathon - 1:25:30    10k: 38:30

Project Athletes Receive

Athletes in the Project will be trained using the training philosophy described on this site, that has been developed over the past decade by Coach Hadley.

- Initial consultation with Coach Hadley to discuss your running and training history and future goals and race schedule

- Complete and customized detailed training program, designed a training cycle at a time, but updated weekly

- Weekly e-mail exchange with Coach Hadley to report your results from training, have training paces and instructions assigned for the following week, and to make any adjustments to the program/schedule that are necessary.

- 24/7 access to Coach Hadley is a problems/issues arise or urgent communication is needed.

- Other items/resources as provide by sponsors/donors.

Project Cost To The Athletes

$75 per month*

*Discounted through sponsorship from Coach Hadley's coaching business, additional sponsors/donors being sought to lower this cost further.

Register / Questions
To register to be a member of the Project or for more information see our webpage:

or email Coach Hadley at:


The 2016 U.S. Marathon Trials Project is seeking sponsors and donors to:

- Provide the project members with free or deeply discounted products and services that may help them in their training and preparations.

- Provide funding to reduce the monthly cost of the project for members

If you or your company is interested in being a sponsor of the 2016 U.S. Marathon Trials Project, please contact Coach Hadley at

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Predisposition & Marathon Potential

Pezz exploring her range
Given equal preparation, how much an athlete slows down as the race distance gets longer depends on many individual variables ranging from muscle fiber make-up, to bone structure, to mental wiring and personality.   Some people’s minds and bodies are better suited for longer races and some for shorter races.  I call this aptitude towards different distances their natural predisposition.

It only makes sense then that our natural predisposition will play a large part in what our potential is in the marathon.   If we have 2 people with the same 10k PR but one has a shorter distance predisposition (person A) and one has a longer distance predisposition (Person B), then Person B will have better potential in the marathon than Person A, and Person A will have greater potential at the 5k than Person B.  This helps explain why Desi Davila and Shalane Flanagan are pretty evenly matched in the marathon but Shalene has a 10k PR more than a minute faster than Desi.   This also helps explain why Dick Beardsley could run even with Alberto Salazar in the marathon when he might have been lapped by Alberto in a track 10k.  Desi and Dick may simply have greater long distance predispositions than Shalane and Alberto.  This doesn’t mean that a person with a longer distance predisposition can’t run very good at shorter races (or vice versa), it just means that their potential is better at the races closer to their predisposition. 
Doing some research and investigation on this subject over the last several years, I have made some general findings.  The typical neutral predisposition distance runner will slow roughly 4.5% each time the distance is doubled (starting at 5k) if they are equally as well prepared for each race distance.   Being neutral means they will fair roughly the same in equally competitive races at different distances.  Their 31:00 10k PR, translates up into 1:08:31 half marathon and 2:23:12 marathon potential and down to 14:50 5k potential if equally as well prepared for each race. 
With 4.5% representing neutral, I find the standard range to be roughly 3.5% (strong long distance predisposition) to 5.5% (strong shorter distance predisposition).   This range can make a big difference in the athlete’s potential at various distances.  If we you use a 31:00 10k as our base time we see that a runner with a strong shorter distance predisposition may only have 2:26:02 marathon potential (slowing 5.5% each time the distance doubles), but a neutral predisposition may have 2:23:12 potential (as given above), and runner with a strong longer distance predisposition may have 2:20:23 potential. 
While there may be a few individuals who fall outside of this 3.5% to 5.5% range, I think the range captures 99% of all serious distance runners.  I break this range down into 5 sub-categories: 
Strong Long Distance Predisposition:   slows roughly 3.5%
Moderate Long Distance Predisposition:  slows roughly 4.0%
Neutral Predisposition:  slows roughly 4.5%
Moderate Short Distance Predisposition:   slows roughly 5.0%
Strong Short Distance Predisposition:  slows roughly 5.5%

My terminology is distance running specific so “short distance” is 3k-5k and “long distance” is the 30k to marathon.

Using our example above (31:00 10k PR) these sub categories produce the following results at various distances: 

Strong Short Distance
Moderate Short Distance
Moderate Long Distance
Strong Long Distance

We have all seen this, and numerous time recently at an elite level.  You see 2 guys who run roughly the same times in the 10k but when they move up to the marathon there may be 3, 4 or 5 minutes different in their performance.  This doesn’t mean that the coach of the runner who ran slower didn’t necessarily train them as well as the other runner’s coach did, it may simply mean that the faster runner has a greater predisposition to that distance than the other runner.   

It is important to note that all of this assumes the runner is equally as well trained for each distance.  This will not be the case for a lower mileage runner, as 60 miles a week will not allow you to be as well prepared for a marathon as it will for a 5k or 10k.  For this reason it is hard for some recreational or even sub-elites to fully judge their predisposition based strictly on race times. 
Our predispositions are not something that we can influence or change to a great degree, rather it just shows us what distances we are naturally best off focusing on for greatest potential.  This can be very valuable information for a runner and/or coach to have.
For example, when I began coaching Stephanie Pezzullo in late 2011, she was primarily a Steeplechaser and 5k runner, and most in the sport (including Pezz herself) thought of her in that light.  But as I began to coach her and saw her workouts and began to help her explore her range, I noticed that while she had primarily run the shorter distances in the past, she in fact had a neutral predisposition.  This meant that she had the potential to run much faster than she had ever thought of in longer distance races like the half marathon or marathon.  Based on this, in the spring of 2012, I told her I thought it was possible for her to run 2:32-2:33 in a fall marathon if that was of interest to her.  She decided to go for it and she ended up running a 2:32:42 debut in Chicago.  Until we discovered she had a neutral predisposition, the idea of running a 2:32 may not have even occurred to her as an option.
Understanding a runner's predisposition also helps a coach and athlete to understand the approriate paces to use in training.  For example, if I coach 2 runners with 31:00 10k PR's, but one has a moderate long distance predisposition and the other a moderate short distance predisposition, and I send them out to do a 10 mile aerobic threshold (AT) tempo run, the approriate pace will be different for each of them because of their predispositions.   The runner with the moderate shorter distance predisposition will need to do this workout at about 5:30 pace while the runner with the moderate longer distance predisposition can probably handle about 5 seconds per mile faster.  Similarly if we are doing some VO2 Max repeats the runner with the shorter distance predisposition will probably be able to hit slightly better times than the longer distance predispoition runner.  Knowing the runner's predisposition helps in setting expectations and avoid over-training.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


designing training is like preparing a good stew
In the last 3 blogs I have talked about the first 3 tenets of my training philosophy:  consistency, capacity, and frequency.  So today I want to finish off with the 4th and last tenet:  mixture.   Mixture is the most commonly talked about aspect of training, with countless books and articles written about the various stress workouts we do and about how to use them. 
In my philosophy mixture is about making sure we get in all aspects of training on a regular basis.  These means that we touch base on all 3 categories of stress workouts:  speed, stamina and endurance in a systematic manner in our training.  I discussed the various workouts we use to do this in an earlier blog (here).   While we will phase our training, the phases just determine how often we work on a certain category, not whether or not we work on it.  All aspects of training are included in each phase (Fundamental and Specific), just with varying frequency depending on what we are trying to achieve. 
In a Fundamental Phase of training our mixture is relatively even, as we work in all categories and sub-categories on a regular basis.  In a 3 base unit micro-cycle (usually 7 or 9 days in length), we will work on each of the 3 categories once.  In a Specific Phase we focus in more on the category or categories that are the emphasis for our goal race distance and as such those categories will get workout more in our training.  But we still periodically touch base on the other category(s) so that they don’t become weaknesses that hold us back. 
Similar to the tenet of consistency, one of the reasons we do this is so that we can keep our fitness level increasing as much and often as possible without back-sliding.  By keeping all aspects in our training, we never develop weaknesses that could hold back our progression in fitness.   This become especially important in a sport such as road racing where the athlete races much of the year without a typical off-season. 
Some people find it helpful to look at this tenet as cooking.  You never make a good stew with just one ingredient, you have to add multiple ingredients in the right proportion in order for the end product to come out perfect.   Too much stock or not enough salt or too many carrots and the end product isn’t quite what you intended.  Just like in cooking, part of being a good chef, (or coach in this case) is the art of knowing how much of what to add and when.  So a large part of designing a successful training program is knowing the athlete, where they are in each aspect of their fitness, and where they want to go, and then being able to put together the right mixture of the right workouts to get them there. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012


There are 4 tenets that anchor my philosophy for training distance runners.  In the last 2 blogs, I have discussed the first 2 tenets, consistency and capacity, and so today I want to talk about the 3rd tenet: frequency.  When talking about frequency in terms of training for distance running, I am referring to both the number of times you run in a given period of time and distribution of runs in that same time period.   

There are several reasons why frequency is a major tenet in my philosophy. Most important is the fact that our bodies adapt best to something that is done most frequently. There is a familiarity and efficiency, both mentally and physically, that comes only through repetition.  There are certain hormone releases and enzyme activities that occur each time we go for a significant run (> 20 minutes).  This release and activity spurs growth, speeds recovery and enhance our adaptation to the activity of running.  By running more frequently we are getting these benefits and adaptations more frequently.    
But there is a balance that needs to be struck, as there are benefits and specific adaptations that we need as distance runners that can only be achieved through extended runs.  So we must balance the benefits of running frequently with the need to run for extended periods at points in our training.   
Just like we discussed in the last blog on capacity, we need to be gradual in our build up in frequency in order to allow our bodies to adapt and adjust to the routine.  So to help distance runners (5k to marathon) find that balance and make that progression, I have generated some simple progression rules on frequency that guide how I train athletes with respect to this tenet.  The runners would step into this progression at whatever level they are currently at and stop the progression once they reached their lifestyle maximum or have reached the end of the progression.

1) Add one day per week per training cycle (12-24 weeks) until 7 days per week is achieved
2) Once you are running 7 days per week and the duration of your average easy/recovery run reaches 60 minutes, then begin to add in daily second runs into your schedule
3) Add in 1 or 2 short (20-30 minute) secondary runs per training cycle until you reach 5-7 secondary runs per week (or whatever level fits your lifestsyle/time constraints).
4) Increase the duration of the secondary and primary runs as is appropriate
Example:  If a runner is running 5 days per week this training cycle, and their time/lifestsyle permits it, they would progress to 6 days per week next training cycle and then 7 days per week the following training cycle.  Once they are at 7 days per week and they have built up their normal easy/recovery runs to 60 minutes in duration, we would begin to add in a second run of 20-30 minutes once or twice a week.  They would continue to add secondary runs, as long as time, commitment and lifestyle permits, until they are running twice per day most every day. 
Most world class distance runners run 12-14 times per week. This appears to be consistently the gold standard for runners focusing on the 5k to Marathon distances and has remained so for decades after much trial and error by runners and coaches.  Some run less and some more, but the majority of elites eventually settle on this number as what works best for developing them to their full potential. Typically this is done as 2 runs per day most days.  So this is the direction we would work towards, to the extent the runner has the time and desire to do so.
Pretty simple rules, just a gradual and incremental increase in frequency until you are running a maximum of 12-14 times per week, or stopping at whatever level is appropriate for the time and commitment you have.  

When adding a second run into a day, ideally the run should be 12 hours removed from the start of the last run and 12 hours before your next run.  But this is not always possible, so I recommend shooting for that as a goal, but at a minimum try and get at least 6-8 hours in-between the start of your 2 runs.
Note:  It is also important to note that running is a very specific sport, in which we use certain muscles fibers at certain intensities and in certain ways. Other cross training exercises, while maybe good in general for increasing heart rate and general fitness or generally working muscle groups, will not specifically work the exact same muscle fibers in the exact same way as you do in running. This means they are somewhat poor substitutes for developing and training these muscles in the ways we need to use them in running. Running is still and always will be the best way to train for running.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Work Capacity

The Legend of Milo illustrates increase in capacity
In my last blog, I talked about the one of the tenets of my training philosophy: consistency.  In it I explained that I believe while short regeneration breaks (1-2 weeks) are in order after goal races at the end of long training cycles (≈2 times a year), for the most of the year we want to adopt a consistent, sustainable training approach so that we can slowly build our fitness and capacity over time.   
In today’s blog, I want to talk to about another tenet in my training philosophy, and that is: capacity. Capacity refers to the amount of work we can handle in training on a sustainable basis.  By work I am referring to both the quantity of the mileage and the quality of the mileage we run.  We all know that running 80 miles a week by running 11-12 miles at an easy pace each day, is not the same as running 80 miles a week with 2 quality workouts and long run included.  So we cannot just look strictly at mileage when looking at capacity, but must consider the quality of that mileage as well.  In his book “Daniels’ Running Formula”, Dr. Jack Daniels attempts to address this issue of a mixture of quality and quantity in total training capacity, by developing a chart (Table 2-2 in his book)which assigns a point value for each minute spent running at different intensity levels.  While I don’t directly use Dr. Daniels’ charts, I like his approach in considering the value of each component in determining and equating total training capacity. 
My philosophy on capacity is simple: the greater our sustainable work capacity is, the more we can accomplish in training and thus the higher we can raise our fitness level.   As such, we should seek to increase our work capacity over time until our maximum effective capacity is reached. 
The human body has amazing adaptive abilities if the changes are made gradually and we are consistent in its execution.   Each of these points, gradual changes and consistent execution, are keys to success in increasing our work capacity.   Gradual changes mean that we need to keep the incremental increases small and we need to allow plenty of time for the body to fully adjust to the new work capacity level before another increase is made.  Consistent execution means that we keep our work load at roughly the same (new) level as consistently as possible in training, so that our body can adapt to it.  If we fluctuate our work capacity levels too much in training, our body struggles to adapt to the new level as it is constantly changing.   Thus I think of work capacity as the total sustainable work we can do, not just the highest one week total we have hit.
When I say we keep our capacity level consistent in a training cycle, please don’t mistake that with doing the same thing each week.  The types of workouts we do and our phases of training will change and progress as talked about in previous blogs, but the total amount of work performed (combo or quality and quantity) will remain consistent for the most part on a week to week basis.   But one week’s capacity total may include fast repeats and LT wave run while the next weeks capacity total may include groove repeats and an AT tempo run.  I’ll get more into that when I talk about the tenet of mixture in a later blog.
Useful Maximums
Each runner will find they have a useful maximum in terms of work capacity.  This is the maximum work capacity that they can sustain and that provides good results.  This maximum will be determined by numerous factors, including physical build and make-up, age, lifestyle and other life obligations.  These useful maximums can and will change with time, as the various factors change.  It often takes many years, decades even, for most runners to each their useful maximums.
My Approach
The way I like to approach building capacity, to make a small increase in each training cycle, and keep it consistent at the new level for the whole cycle, in order to allow the body to fully adjust to that new level.   As most of my training cycles are between 12 and 24 weeks in length, this allows several (3-6) months for the body to fully adjust to the new capacity level before another small change is made.  The size of the change will depend on the level and background of the runner, but changes are kept relatively small (example: an extra 5-7 miles per week on similar quality levels) and conservative, with the knowledge that future increases can be made but over-use injuries cannot be undone.
This approach takes great patience, planning and discipline in execution. But I have found that this approach greatly reduces the risk of over-use injury, and helps the runner work towards and eventually find their maximum useful capacity. 
Common Mistakes
The three most common mistakes I see with runners trying to build their work capacity are:  making their increases too big, making increases too frequently and lack of consistency.
Too big:  many runners are impatient.  Their passion for the sport and desire to improve cause them to bite off increases in their work capacity that is too big.  Their bodies struggle to adapt to the size of the increase and they end up coming down with an over-use injury or illness.
Too frequent:  again a sign of impatience.  In a desire to get better quickly, many runners increase their capacity level too frequently, not allowing enough time for their body to fully adapt to one capacity level before they change it again.  After a series of too frequent changes in capacity, their bodies eventually fail to keep up with the adaptations asked of them, and they come down with an over-use injury or illness.
Lack of consistency:  The body requires consistency in order to fully adapt to new work capacity level.  Many runners adopt training routines that do not provide for a consistent level of work to be performed.  The body then never fully adapts to a new level of capacity, or takes longer to adapt to it.  The lack of consistency compromises the adaptation process making it less likely for future increases to be possible or at least as successful.
Synergy of Tenets
Each of the 4 tenets of my training philosophy (consistency, capacity, frequency and mixture) are inter-related and provide a synergy when balanced together.  Consistency (as talked about in the last blog) and capacity are very closely related.  As I just talked about, the building of capacity is most efficiently and effectively accomplished in an environment of consistency.   Consistency enables work capacity to be built, and an increase in work capacity provides additional fruits from our consistency. 
Next Blog Topic:  The tenet of frequency

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sustainability Debate


There is an interesting dynamic and debate going on in the sport of long distance running and I wanted to weigh in with my take on it.  The debate is about 2 different approaches, one is intense training with regular scheduled breaks, and the second is long term sustainable training with little to no breaks.   As usual there are people lined up and passionate on both sides of this debate, convinced they are right and the other side is flawed.
Before I weigh in on my view, let’s start with an over view of each side, its origins and the reasoning supporting each side. 
Intense Season/Cycle with Regular Breaks
This is the classic sports model.  You work hard and intensely in training and racing and follow that with an off season to recover from the intense demands of the season.   Often the need for the break is both mental and physical because of the intensity of the training and/or racing.  We see this especially in the scholastic side of the sport, where there are 3 seasons and each season is followed by several weeks of down time before the athlete begins to gear up for the next season.   The reasoning is simple, if high intensity is maintained for too long then a physical and/or mental breakdown is likely to happen, so the regular breaks give the athlete the rest and down time they need to recover and be ready to undergo another intense season again. 
In longer distance races (outside of a scholastic or seasonal setting), this usually equates to an intense period of training (usually 8-16 weeks) for a specific race followed by down time recovering before preparation for the next goal race commences.    The intensity (mentally and physically) of the training will dictate the length that the cycle can be before a break is needed.
The down sides of such an approach is that a substantial portion of each training cycle (or season) is spent on a break or regaining past fitness, thereby making  the athlete  only ready to race at a high level for a fraction of the year.  Additionally the coach and athlete must carefully gauge the intensity of training and racing so that a break is not mandated before the goal race occurs, making timing and tapering less predictable.
Sustainable Training
This is an approach that differs from the classic sports model, in that training and racing is engaged in a sustainable fashion so that it is able to be continued all year long (and year after year) with little to no sustained breaks.  In order for this to work the integrity of the stress and recover cycle must be strictly maintained so that lingering, long term fatigue does not build-up (mentally or physically) to the point where a break from training is mandatory.   The reasoning behind this approach is 2 fold, 1 it works well for a sport in which there is no definable season (such as road racing) in that the athlete can be ready to race at any point during the year, and it allows for a long-term gradual build-up of training capacity and fitness which is very beneficial in endurance sports. 
In longer distance races (outside of a scholastic or seasonal setting), this usually means yearlong  training with regular (but not too frequent) racing with small breaks only taken after major efforts (such as a goal marathon) and then the breaks are kept only to the length needed to physically fully recover from the race.  (i.e. a completing of the stress and recover cycle – a super hard stress – the race - requires a somewhat extended recovery – short break).
The downside of this approach is that an athlete (and coach) must be careful to make sure the integrity of the stress and recover cycle is maintained and that lingering mental or physical fatigue is not built up.  This is a learned skill and contrary to how many of us were introduced to the sport in a season/scholastic setting.  As such the athlete’s life must be set-up for extended training with regular sustainable routines.
My View
I center my coaching mainly on the longer distances (10k – Marathon) and on road racing primarily.  As such I find the sustainability model the most appealing and to most closely match my training philosophy (the 4 tenets of training).   As such I encourage many of my athletes to engage in this approach if possible for their life style.  
There are several benefits for longer distance athletes I see to this sustainability model:
·       You are able to race at a high level for much of the year – as opposed to the “regular break model” in which the major portion of year you are either in a break or training to regain past fitness, leaving on a fraction of the year where you can race at or near your best.   In a sport like road racing, one without well-defined seasons, being able to race at a high level for most of the year is very advantageous for competitors.
·       Progressions in fitness can continue on an on-going basis.  By being able to stack stress and recover cycle upon stress and recover cycle on an on-going basis, you are never very far removed having worked on any component of fitness and as such you are better able to sequence training for long term gains and progressions.  As such the capacity (volume and/or intensity) you can sustain on your stress days continue to build/increase over time.  But this process of building is interrupted continually in a “regular break” model.  
·       I believe this method of training is best for the long term development of the runner because it fully adheres to the basic principle of all physical training: stress and recover.   By the very nature of the “regular breaks” method you are always at some state of being over trained because the intensity or volume is not sustainable.   This means you are not fully recovering from the stress and as such are not gaining the full benefits from it (cutting the super compensation short).  Eventually this causes the needs for sustained breaks.  But in the sustained method, your training and thus fitness level can continually progress.
·      Tapering/resting for races in a sustainable training program becomes short and simple and predictable. 
One of the arguments I usually hear against the sustainability model is that many coaches/athletes believe it does not allow for peaking.  I do not believe this is necessarily true.  I find that you can still go through a phased training cycle, as I described in my last blog, while training in a sustainable manner.  What changes is not the intensity or sustainability of your workouts but rather the sequencing of what type of workouts you do within a sustainable setting.  By increasing the frequency of certain workout types in my sustainable training model, I am able to increase my fitness and adaptations to and race more effectively (i.e. peak) for a certain race distance.  While I caution against a lopsided program (in terms of workout types) for a prolonged basis, a carefully phased sequencing to produce optimal results in a key race in a sustainable program is very much possible.  Then after the goal race, my recover break only needs to be as long as is physically necessary to recover from the stress of the goal race, as I don’t have the added need of recovering from over-training.
Requirements of Sustainable Training 
In order to make the “sustainable model” work, the athlete and coach needs to set-up a regular routine that ensures all aspects of training and life are addressed on a regular basis.
·         Establishing a repeatable base unit (one stress and recover cycle) that includes ample stress (workout), recovery (including recovery therapies),  and ancillary work.  For many longer distance runners I find the following 3 day base unit to work well for promoting sustainability:
o   Day 1:  Stress Workout(s) + core circuit
o   Day 2:  Recovery/Easy Run(s) + strength/drill circuit (that includes strides)
o   Day 3:  Recovery/Easy Run(s) + core circuit
Often the athlete will schedule a certain recovery therapy (ice bath, whirlpool, massage, chiro, ART, rolling, etc.) on one of these days on a regular basis, often after certain types of stress workouts.
·         Also important to this is a making sure there is a balance in the athletes life so that training is mentally sustainable as well.  If the athlete does not have other interests or activities in their life, they can often become mentally burn-out during sustained training.  The key is finding a sustainable level of other activities that fit in a sustainable program.
·         Guard against deficiencies – in a sustainable program each area needs to be looked at and addressed so that over time no deficiencies manifest themselves.  Areas that need to be looked at include:  vitamin/minerals intake, sleep, ancillary/strength work, workout types, recovery therapies, non-running activities.
As with all training, sometimes small adjustments will need to be made for unforeseen circumstances or to catch or adjust for deficiencies before they become a problem or grow to require a sustained break.