Morning! Today was the first day that I woke up and didn’t want to strangle a small child in exchange for coffee. 🙂 The future looks bright!
I had hot water with lemon instead.
Hopefully, I’ll survive working a new shift today. As most of you know, I work from home. My company has decided to do four 10-hour workdays instead of five 8-hour days. So I’ll have every Friday off, but I have to sit in front of the computer from 7 AM to 5:30 PM Monday – Thursday. There’s pros and cons, for sure!
I made a different (but yummy) breakfast.
I sauteed about 1/2 cup of slaw with some EVOO, vinegar, and pepper and added two scrambled eggs to the top.
It was like a warm egg salad. Pretty good!
Plus a side of fruit…
Reader Q&A: Give Me the Rundown on Training Programs!
Today’s Reader Q&A comes from Alessa at On the Run. I thought I’d share my very long-winded answer with everyone because I get many similar questions in my e-mail!
I have seriously looked at so many training programs in the past and just never went ahead and signed up for a race. I am so happy to finally taken that step. My best friend and I will be running the half together (I live with her) and we go for runs together a couple times a week, as is. So we are going to start talking more seriously about a training schedule towards the end of March. I know to slowly increase my mileage to avoid injuries, etc. But what kind of cross training do you enjoy doing? I have to say, I like spinning but its hard for me to always get to the spinning classes at my gym. And I think I definitely need to get back into more weight training. SO sorry to go on and on.. you just seemed like the perfect person for me to ask questions to! Did you ever actually run 13 miles during training, or did you just build up to 11 or 12? ~Alessa
Congrats on training for a race! I love that you love running just for fun! But, training for a race gives me a lot of satisfaction, and it’s makes running a little more interesting. 🙂
Choosing a Training Program
I have always used a modification of Hal Hidgon’s programs. He has programs for 5K, 8K, 10K, 15K, Half Marathons, and more. Each program has "intensity levels," like novice, intermediate, expert. You can look at the "novice" versions of the programs and kind of get an idea of where you are currently at.
Runner’s World has a training program that you can entirely customize according to your current fitness level– it’s pretty cool!
Couch to 5K (which is for NEW runners) is another excellent program for beginners.
A Half Marathon Rule of Thumb
To do a half marathon in 12 weeks, you should currently be running at least 12 miles a week.
If you’re not at that level, do a few weeks of a 5K or 10K training program first. I always modify training programs to what will work for me — and sometimes that means adding or deleting weeks. You certainly don’t want to push yourself too hard and too fast because you could get an injury.
Other Training Tips
For cross training days, I just do a non-running cardio activity. I also kind of use "cardio" days as a light workout day to give my body a chance to recover. As in, I typically go to the gym and do 30 minutes on the elliptical while reading a magazine. Occasionally, I swim. I have a bike that I ride around the neighborhood every now and then, too. I view cardio days as a way to give my knees a break from the pounding! 🙂
There are three types of running that should be incorporated into your training plan: Tempo Runs, Speedwork, and Easy Runs. The energy you put out on these runs is either 1 = 50% output, which is roughly a comfortable jog; 2 = 75% output, which is a faster, but maintainable pace; and 3 = 100% output; or a sprint. For me, a Level 1 is a 10 minute mile; a Level 2 is a 9 minute mile; and a Level 3 is a 8 minute mile.
Tempo runs begin at a Level 1 run — a comfortable jog. During a tempo run, you stay at Level 1 until the run is 2/3 complete, and then you move to a Level 2 run for the last 1/3. The pace buildup should be gradual, not sudden.
Speedwork runs alternate 400-meter (or 0.25 mile) Level 3 sprints with a rest period of Level 1. I described a 5K speedwork plan the other day in this post. To make it more challenging, do 800-meter sprints.
And Easy Runs are typically done on your longer run day, when you focus more on distance than speed.
In terms of what your longest distance should be before your race, it’s really up to you. Some training plans recommend running up to 11 miles, others say run 14. I chose to run 14 miles two weekends before my first half marathon (read the post here). The week before I ran a 15K race on my long run day. If you only decide to go 11 before the race – DON’T WORRY – you’ll be able to finish the half marathon because you’ll be so excited and pumped!
And Be Safe!
My last bit of training is BE SAFE! You don’t want to get an overuse injury, such as a stress fracture or a pulled muscle. It’s important not to increase your distance too fast. As a rule, I try to never increase my mileage by 10% from week to week. Also, LISTEN to your body and take days off if you need to. I try to follow a program at least 90% of the time. If you miss a day or two, it won’t ruin you!
***REMINDER*** Meghann’s Blogging Bake Sale begins today at 11 AM EST. Check out her blog for more information. I’m baking for the event, of course. All proceeds go to charity!