Unless you've had your head buried in the sand, you may have noticed that race season is fast approaching, and weekend run events are popping up left right and centre! Which is all well and good, but hang on un momento, did you 'training wheels' fall off back when the first signs of rain and cold started showin' like mine? Do you need to get some actual structure back into your workouts because your plan to 'just go for a 30min jog' doesn't seem to get you out the door the same way that the satisfying crossing out of a specific day's target on your running plan does?
Ok my little cherubs. I know the deal was that I was serving you with an abundance of running guides but because I'm an oh-so-busy woman and you are oh-so-busy people - I've cut the crap and I'm delivering to you the refined end product.
What do I look for in a training guide?
As little running as possible. Seriously. I will never stick to a plan if it has 6 days of running - I've learnt that the hard way and it just ain't me. I have a friend who swears by this method and she is gearing up to run in her first ever marathon in just 8 weeks time and she LOVES these intense plans. Me? I need cross training options; different types of runs and something that gives me enough time to look forward to my next run (and, usually, that ain't less than 24hours). I refuse to drop my other fitness loves like riding, yoga, classes and netball, but don't have the time to do these in addition to daily runs so you see my dilemma. I'm still looking everywhere for a book titled "Half Marathons for the Eclectic Personality - running 21kms with the funnest training (acrobatics, yoga, rock climbing) ever and no actual running required" but I can't seem to find it*... What else do I look for? A guide that uses freakin' kilometers instead of miles. I cannot compute 'miles', my brain gets the dumbs.
What doth a good guide make?
For a comprehensive and safe running guide - it will likely include a variety of runs. It will have:
+ A weekly long run (usually scheduled on a weekend) in which the goal for this run is slowly but surely ticking off the kays and getting your body accustomed to the increases in distance. Aim for approximately 2-3mins slower than your usual pace (according to Runner's World magazine).
+ A tempo or interval workout. The only way to run faster is to practice running faster (duh). A tempo workout will see you push your pace, over short but regular increments of time, and build up that leg speed! Hard and fast workouts, pow pow.
+ Hill training. It's very rare to come across a plan that doesn't incorporate hill training or some sort of run that challenges and changes up your running environment. Hill training boosts leg strength and muscle capacity and it essential in your preparation for runs/races that involve incline. Ouch, but vital.
How long (distance) should I aim to train for?
Berm berm. If ever you ask yourself something and it has the pesky 'should' word in it - ignore that mother. 'Should' is your sneaky ego implying that there is an obligation for you do something because of an external influence (story of my life but I'm working on it). If your heart isn't in it or if you're trying to achieve someone else's dream, guess what sugar? It ain't going to happen. Focus on what YOU want to achieve. Make it challenging, make it a specific and measurable goal (ie. 21km in 2hours) and make it personal. If there's a fundraising run coming up and it's a cause near and dear to you - take that as the universe givin' you a little nudge baby.
Guides (and where to get 'em)
+ All distances
http://my.asics.com.au/ (Allows you to develop personalised plans. Huzzah!)
+ 10 to 12km
http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51126/15K-10-mile-Training-Guide (This is a goodie but, be warned, it measures in miles. Ugh)
+ 21km Half Marathon
AND Check out the latest Women's Health for a BRILLIANT 21km plan (Emily criteria approved!)
+ 42km (Marathon)
I hope this 'mini-guide' helped you a little bit and has sparked a little fire in your belly. Grab a friend (four legged friends are fine!) and get out that door. Get running. Your butt, legs, head and mood with thank you for it.
Blessings from my double knotted laces x
*I kid of course. I joke that I hate running but it is truly a love/hate relationship. When I am focussed and motivated and determined - running is the most incredibly rewarding sport I could treat my body to. But when I'm not feeling it, I question how I ever went for a run and enjoyed it. The fact that I get out there and give it a go is my what I like to focus on though - I am a persistent little sausage and I definitely have some unfinished business between me and me ole mate 'Running'.
Side Note! On Friday 21st June MNB released this article on all things running. Thank you Universe for your always serendipitous timing!