Saturday, February 19, 2011


Greetings Runners!

Lately, I've had several requests for a post that reviews a basic training plan for a half or full marathon.  And since nothing makes me happier than keeping the peeps happy, I have obliged...for those of you training for Calgary half or full, Police half or a variety of other races come spring (question: is spring EVER coming?), please have a quick perusal of the following...

To train for any kind of endurance event like a half or a full marathon, you must, you simply must put some miles on the bod in order to prepare it for the distance on race day.  Please, don't go out tomorrow and run for way longer or further than you ever have- that would be a very bad idea and would likely cause injury.  Instead, you need to consider doing one LONG RUN per week.  Start with a distance or time you can manage.  For example, if you are able to run for about an hour, then try go out for an hour ten or an hour fifteen.  Or, if you are a distance based runner and are steadily running a certain distance, then add a couple of km's or miles and see how you do.  Also, note that this is a long SLOW run.  Your pace should be a minute to a minute and a half off of your planned pace for race day.  If you have no planned pace, then a good guide is to be able to carry on a conversation the whole time you cover the long run.  This run is not about building speed, it is about building endurance and preparing to go the distance.  And yes, it is a must each and every week (or at least every second week) and should not be missed!

Another kind of training run is a tempo run.  With this type of run, you are working your pace and it is definitely much shorter than you will be out for the longer run.  Long run, think turtle.  Tempo run, think hare!  To do this kind of run, hit the pathway and start with a warm up.  You want to make sure you have a decent warm up as you are going to be pushing your pace and taxing your system.  Once you feel quite warm, you want to increase your pace so you are pushing out of your comfort zone.  What does that feel like?  You definitely would have a difficult time talking and it is quite difficult to hold the pace.  Hold it here for a few minutes, and then back the pace back down and recover.  Recovery doesn't mean stopping, it simply means slowing the pace.  You have to keep the bod moving to keep that lactic acid flowing through the muscles.  When you feel ready (don't wait too long), try the whole thing again...push the pace, hold on, recover...and repeat until your run is finished.  For those of you that think this training wouldn't be important for you because you\re not trying to run fast, it is STILL important as it trains your body to sustain a certain pace and to deal with adversity.  Trust me, on race day, you are going to put your body through a whole bunch of adversity!

The Hills
Hill training is simple.  Find one.  Run up it.  Run or walk down it.  And repeat.  Warm-up first of course.  And find different kinds of hills.  Steep ones, gradual ones, two levelled ones.  Hill training is a great way to add variety to your workouts and will go a long way towards a positive experience on race day.  Trust me.  There are usually hills on marathon and half courses...unless you go to Chicago to run.  Or Winnipeg.  Truly flat those places are.  And an aside- did you know that The Peg was once touted as "the Chicago of the North"?  Peg city.  Who knew.  Anyhow, hill training once a week (or at least every couple of weeks) is a fabulous way to supplement your training.  I love training hills.  If you are looking for a hill training friend, let me know!  There is nothing I would love more that to run a few hill with you...and YOU...and YOU!

And that's a basic training program in a nutshell.  Simple, yes?  I would advise throwing 1 more run per week so you are doing 4 runs per week, especially for those of you thinkin' full marathon.  But it really just depends on how your body is feeling.  I learned the hard way this week...when your body wants rest, listen to it and give it the rest it needs.  Or else you'll end up like me...and away from training for a week because you're sick...NOT recommended...not at all.

Anyhow, now you have a plan, so get out there and get training!  If only the weather would cooperate.  Looking for some inspiration?  Check this...I like it...a lot...

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