Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Training Plan 2011

With the start of the new year, I have a new training plan that I intend to follow... okay, maybe not to the exact minute, but I need to start thinking about reaching a goal I have set for myself. Along with my sister-in-law, I have signed up to run the Hippie Chick Half Marathon in May. I have never run this distance before in my life. In fact, the longest I have ever run is a 10K, or 6.2 miles. So, the thought of running 13.1 miles is more than a little overwhelming to me.

To keep me on track, I have set up a plan for myself which will loosely follow a plan laid out by Jeff Galloway. For those of you who might not be familiar with Jeff, he is a runner himself who has devised multiple week training schedules that will allow almost anyone to go from a sedentary lifestyle to being able to run. Jeff advocates a run/walk ratio that gradually increases the amount of running over a period of weeks. He has developed a slightly slower (16 weeks as compared to 9) version of  sedentary to 5K running program that starts slowly and builds gradually, using his run/walk intervals. This schedule is how I returned to running a couple of years ago after being away from it for over fifteen years.

Not ready to tackle the C25K? Well, Jeff even has a plan to prepare you to get ready to run by getting you comfortable with walking first. Developing cardio-vascular strength as well as some muscle strength are important first steps if you've been away from any kind of exercise for a while... believe me, I know!

In the past I haven't ever really felt the need to have a specific "plan" for my running. I've always just gone out and run, figuring that once I was to a certain point of endurance, then I could enter a 5K or even a 10K. But earlier this fall, I began to realize the shortcomings of this mind-set. Yes, I was running about 5 miles every other day, but it didn't seem like I was really seeing too much improvement in my speed... at least not like I thought I would. I figured that if I continued to add time to my workout that the speed would follow. And while this is true to a point, I still felt like I needed a little more of a kick in the butt. Anyway, I have started following Jeff's run/walk program, which he advocates even for more seasoned runners and have been surprised to find that my speed is actually picking up.

Ironically, now that I have started working on my speed, I need to start focusing on my time and endurance again in order to prep for this upcoming half. Okay, yeah, ideally I would continue to work to improve my time as I improved my speed, but that might be asking my oxygen-deprived brain (not to mention body) to do too many things at once. It might be like rubbing your head and patting your belly... sounds pretty basic but we all know it is much more difficult in practice. For now, I think I'll just content myself with just getting through the distance... at least with a plan in place I feel like I might be able to get my arms around that much... at least I hope so!

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