Hello everyone and Happy Monday!
It’s that time of year again here in North Dakota. The holidays are over, football is officially over for the season and we are 3 months into a cold, dry winter. Breakout the face masks and winter tights…it’s time to RUN!!
And by run I don’t mean to the Caribbean, although that is really a great idea as well. I definitely wouldn’t mind laying on the hot sandy beach in Puerto Morelos with a slushy, sweet Pina Colada in my hand!
Ahhhhh….but back to running.
So what I’m actually talking about is the physical act of running. Running for exercise, running for stress relief, running towards a goal. Whatever kind of running you are in to. But sometimes, the thought of running is better than actually doing it.
I just started training for my 4th half-marathon and let me tell you, it is harder than you think to get back into running. Since getting pregnant about 2 years ago, I’ve run no more than a couple of miles at a time. And I was taking it pretty easy whenever I did run. So let’s just say I’m not in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life.
But if I can go from hardly running a mile to running 13.1 miles, so can YOU!
There are countless plans and programs out there to help get you to the finish line. Depending on your fitness level, you may need to try something like the Couch to 5K plan to get you going. This is a great training program for beginners. The website provides a ton of great advice for those people who want to get into running slowly and safely plus a bunch of other resources and plans. This is the type of plan I used when I first started running over 8 years ago. It’s an easy, gradual way to get into running that most people can handle.
The 16 week half-marathon plan:
Now that I’ve been running for years, I’ve come up with my own version of how I train for an event. I came up with this schedule for a half-marathon based on a bunch of different plans I’ve used over the years and tweaked it to fit my current schedule. I don’t have a ton of time during the week so I limit the times I train to only twice during the week and both Saturday and Sunday. Obviously, you can tweak my plan to fit your schedule. I would also mention that my plan is for someone who has already been running and can somewhat easily run 3 miles with only a few breaks. The mileage in the plan goes up every week so it is a little intense for beginners.
Explaining the plan:
As I mentioned before, because of my limited schedule, I only run 4 days a week. Some people like to run 5-6 days a week but I just can’t fit it in. I plan my long runs for Saturdays with a recovery run on Sundays, and two medium length runs during the week.
My Tuesday run is my longer mid-week run and that is the run where I just focus on my distance. I don’t worry about speed or anything else but getting the miles in.
My Thursday run is either a hill or speed run. The hill run is great to help build stamina and give those quadriceps a good workout! Doing hill runs will benefit you if you are doing pretty much any race, even in the flat lands here in North Dakota. I remember the first time I ran the Fargo 1/2 marathon and came up to an underpass. Running up the other side of that thing after already running 10 miles was ridiculously hard because I hadn’t added any hill runs into my training. Even those little tiny hills can wear you out if you aren’t prepared for them!
The speed run is to help with…you guessed it…your speed! If this is your first race, it’s probably the last thing you care about but you may want to add a speed run into your training plan if you’ve already ran a race and want to improve on your time.
Oh the boredom of stretching! Pretty much everyone I know hates stretching but it is SO important! It not only helps lengthen your muscles for a longer stride but helps prevent dangerous injuries. This article from Fitday does a great job explaining the benefits of stretching. I only actually schedule myself one day off because I use my other “off” day to do some extra stretching or yoga. You can certainly replace the Stretch/Yoga day for an off day if you want but I would highly recommend trying to fit some kind of stretching in to your other off day.
The last thing I wanted to mention about my plan is the Strength Training day. I really have a tough time fitting this in but strength training for runners is so beneficial! I think Runner’s World says it best that “supplementing a running program with strengthening exercises will not only aid in injury prevention but will make you a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner.” These 10 exercises can easily be done in only 30 minutes and can be done once or twice a week as time allows.
Okay folks, let me know if you have any questions or need any advice. I’ll do my best to help if I can!