June 17, 2008
Things are a bit different for me now. I injured my knee some years back after my daughter was born, which prevented me from running without pain. After rehab, I continued to not run without pain, although with some new unwanted pounds that slowly took up residence in and around my midsection. So I started running again in January 2007 and have run in a few races, mostly of the 5k and 10k variety, although last week's James River Scamble added some brutal hills into the mix. Now I want to get ready for the 13.1 miles that I'll have to run and I don't want my time to be too slow. For me. I don't really care what other people think. My best time in a half marathon is around 1:48, which time I don't expect to beat this year as I'm really, really slow now. I can run 9-10 miles right now, but I'd like to add a little speed to the mix. I started searching around for some training tips and stumbled onto this 9 week training schedule over at Runner's World. Excerpt:
Presenting a can't-fail nine-week program for beginners, experts, and everyone in between. For some time now, the half has been the hottest race distance out there, with dozens of new events springing up all across the land. Here's why: For newer racers who've maybe finished a couple of 5- or 10-Ks, the half offers a worthy-yet-doable challenge without the training and racing grind of the marathon.
For more experienced athletes, training for a half bolsters stamina for shorter, faster races, plus it boosts endurance for a full 26.2-mile challenge down the road. In fact, the half is the ideal dress rehearsal for its twice-as-long kin. And unlike a marathon, which can leave your tank drained for a month or more, you can bounce back from a hard half in as little as a week.
So find a flat, friendly half a few months out. To get you there primed and ready, turn the page to learn about the three can't-fail schedules we have on offer.
Four Training Universals
Rest means no running. Give your muscles and synapses some serious R&R so all systems are primed for the next workout. Better two quality days and two of total rest than four days of mediocrity resulting from lingering fatigue. Rest days give you a mental break as well, so you come back refreshed.
Easy runs mean totally comfortable and controlled. If you're running with someone else, you should be able to converse easily. You'll likely feel as if you could go faster. Don't. Here's some incentive to take it easy: You'll still burn 100 calories every mile you run, no matter how slow you go.
Long runs are any steady run at or longer than race distance designed to enhance endurance, which enables you to run longer and longer and feel strong doing it. A great long-run tip: Find a weekly training partner for this one. You'll have time to talk about anything that comes up.
Speedwork means bursts of running shorter than race distance, some at your race goal pace, some faster. This increases cardiac strength, biomechanical efficiency, better running economy, and the psychological toughness that racing demands. Still, you
want to keep it fun.
The novice schedule looks a little underwhelming, while the intermediate schedule looks a little taxing. I'll probably shoot for somewhere in between. Regardless, it will add some structure to my training, which is probably a good thing.
In case you're wondering why I'm trying a 9 week training program when the Richmond half marathon isn't until November, I'll simply state that there are other halfs between now and then which I'm thinking of using as a yardstick for my progress.
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