Happy Almost-Spring, running peeps! For me, the start of March is always so hopeful! Even if we are buried in snow here in Boulder, Colorado, I know that Spring is on its way, eventually! I’ve noticed that we don’t need our headlamps for the start of the Fun Run (6pm) anymore. And I’m actually not wearing my Smartwool for every run anymore!
Along with the promise of Spring comes the promise of races yet to be run! All of us have the Eugene Marathon or Half Marathon on our calendars, and the time for the serious training has begun!
There are many training plans out there and I’m not going to reinvent the wheel or tell you a new magical one! I suggest just sticking with what you know! That being said, if you’ve been tootling along without a plan, it’s time to find one so your Eugene experience can be wonderful!
There are two basic methods – the run/walk or the solid run. Within those two categories are scores of training plans. Many of my friends use Jeff Galloway’s Run Walk Run plan. In fact, one friend of mine ran a half marathon with me using this method. When she would stop to walk, I would run on and she would catch me every time! She ended up beating me by two minutes! We laugh at that, but it goes to show that the method works!
Before I joined my running group, I followed the Hal Higdon Training Program. It got me to my first marathon (Chicago in 2011) uninjured and ecstatic with my success. I ran it in 5:26.
For the next year, I wanted to get faster. I discovered the Nike Training App right on my iPhone and cut 49 minutes off my time (4:37). The addition of speedwork was the biggest difference, I think, as well as more overall mileage.
Then I found my wonderful running club, Revolution Running, and follow the schedule put out by our leader, Ewen North. Two years ago I ran Chicago in 4:34. I should have come in under 4:30 but it was my own fault – never trust your running splits! Watch the actual stopwatch function. I thought I was running too fast and kept slowing down. That annoys me to this day! Still, the training was awesome.
On Tuesdays, we do speedwork, either on the track or intervals on the roads, or hill repeats. On Thursdays, we do tempo runs. And Saturday is the long run, with three 20-milers scheduled for the slower runners (that’s me) and 23-24 for the faster runners. We also run easy on our other days, with one day completely off.
This system has worked well for me. Last year’s Chicago was a disappointment; I was right on pace with my 10:10 pacer, when someone ran out across the street and knocked into me! I fell hard and hit my fist into my larynx, which made it really hard to breathe! It was terrifying. Luckily my running buddy picked me up and got me to the med tent, where I spent 40 minutes lying about having a concussion (oops!) before finally being allowed back onto the course.
Anyway, the point is, find a plan! Have a training schedule and write it on your calendar, or upload your runs to Garmin or Strava where you can see them and track your progress. I am so old-school that I still have a paper running log! I also have a small calendar (this year’s is from the Audubon Society – just use any free calendar you have around). On the small calendar I write out my training schedule before each race. Even if I fall short of the mileage, it is written down so I know what I need to do each day.
Two years ago, a friend showed me an even more visual way to track her races and big mileage weekends. She downloads a full year calendar (I like this one) and pencils in all her races for the year and the preceding long runs before the races. Once she is solidly into race-specific training (12-20 weeks is usually standard, she writes in the daily training too. She can look at her calendar at any time and see where she is in her training program.
However you choose to train, find a plan and stick with it! Explore the methods I’ve mentioned or spend a relaxing few hours at the library or bookstore reading about training methods. Whatever you do, do something! Eugene is 10 weeks away!
See you in Eugene!!!