5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 9

Run a 5k 8Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 9

By the end of week eight, you ran 23 minutes straight. Nice job! This week we’re going to add to that total. We’re also adding an optional speed workout. Just as your body makes adaptations to running (increased endurance, better aerobic fitness, structural changes to your bones, joints and soft tissue), speed work improves the way your body processes oxygen, and increases your stamina by raising the lactate threshold, that point at which your body has built up lactic acid and needs to slow down. (Missed week one? Click here to get started!)

This week will start off by repeating your 23 minute run from last week. In addition to your three key workouts, you may add the optional speed workout. If you choose not to do so, just do the active recovery workout.

Remember, all workouts start with an 8-10 minute brisk warm-up walk. On your rest days, feel free to do some strength training, yoga, Pilates, etc.

Run_a_5K_Program.JPGDay One: After your warm up, run for 23 minutes. Cool down, stretch ice.

Day Two: Active recovery. After your warm up, run for 10 minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat. Cool Down and stretch. Optional Speed Work: Warm up, then run for two minutes at your normal pace. For the next minute pick up the pace (think effort level of about 8-9 on a scale of 10). Slow down to your normal pace for two minutes. Repeat four more time (a total of five fast intervals). Cool down and stretch.

Day Three: Warm up, Run for 12 minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for 12 minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for three minutes, then cool down.

Day Four: Rest.

Day Five: Warm up, then run for 26 minutes. Cool down, stretch, etc.

Day Six: (Optional) Active Recovery. Warm up, run for 18 minutes. Walk for one minute, then run for three more minutes.

Day Seven: Rest.

Getting Faster

Getting_Faster.JPGRefer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts:

The Long Run: At this point in your training, your long run should be at least six miles. You can keep it at that or add another half mile. To add a little mileage to your week, add a half mile to one of your other runs (not the speed workouts).

The Interval Workout: We’re pushing it a little bit this week. Mile repeats. Four times around the track. They should be run at about your 5K pace (about 90-95% of VO2Max). Recover by jogging or walking 400 meters. Repeat two more times. Cool down by walking or jogging 400-800 meters. Stretch (and don’t forget to ice after your workout!)

The Lactate Threshold Workout: On the road for this workout. After your one mile easy warm up, run two miles at slightly less that your 5k pace (about 85-90% of your maximal effort). Cool down by jogging a half mile, and finish with a stretch.

Getting_Faster.JPGRemember, in addition to these workouts, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Week nine is complete. Just think, just three weeks until your race! See you next week!

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 8

Run a 5k 8Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 8

By the end of week seven, you were running 20 minutes without stopping. Just think about that for a moment. You’re a runner! This week we will build on that, by increasing the time/distance. Remember to take a body check from time to time. Shin pain in particular, can plague new runners. We’ve taken it pretty slow in order to avoid injuries, but be sure to use ice as prescribed and if something hurts a little, take an extra day or two off. (Did you miss week one? Click here.)

This week you will start where you left off, with a 20 minute run. By the end of the week you will add several minutes onto that. Like the other weeks you will have three key workouts with two other easy days (one of which is optional). Don’t forget your stretching!

Remember, all workouts start with an 8-10 minute brisk warm-up walk. On your rest days, feel free to do some strength training, yoga, Pilates, etc.

Day One: After your warm up, run for 20 minutes. Cool down, stretch ice.

Day Two: Active recovery. After your warm up, run for 8 minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat. Cool Down and stretch.

Day Three: Warm up, Run for 10 minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for 10 minutes. Walk for run minute. Run for three minutes, then cool down.

Day Four: Rest.

Day Five: Warm up, the run for 23 minutes. Cool down, stretch, etc.

Day Six: (Optional) Active Recovery. Warm up, run for 15 minutes. Walk for one minute, then run for two more minutes.

Day Seven: Rest.

Coming next week: We will continue to add time/distance to your run, plus add an optional speed workout if you would like to get a little bit faster for your race.

Getting Faster

Getting_Faster.JPGRefer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts:

The Long Run: At this point in your training, your long run should be at least six miles. You can keep it at that or add another half mile. To add a little mileage to your week, add a half mile to one of your other runs (not the speed workouts).

The Interval Workout: On the track for 800 meter repeats. After your 10 minute warm up, run 800 meters at slightly faster than your 5k pace (about 90-95% of VO2Max). Recover by jogging or walking 200 meters. Repeat five more times. Cool down by walking or jogging 400-800 meters. Stretch (and don’t forget to ice after your workout!)

The Lactate Threshold Workout: On the road for this workout. After your one mile easy warm up, run 10 minutes at slightly less that your 5k pace (about 85-90% of your maximal effort). Recover by jogging for two minutes. Repeat two more times. Cool down by jogging a half mile, and finish with a stretch.

Remember, in addition to these workouts, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Nice job on week eight. See you next week!

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 7

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Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 7

While last week (week 6) was a bit of a break, that only served to make you stronger by giving your body a well deserved rest. At the end of week five, you were running 20 minutes with only one break. Fantastic! We’ll be building on that this week. (Did you miss week one? Click here.)

By the end of this week, you will be able to run your entire 20 minute workout without a break. Again, you will have three key workouts, with two other easy days (one of which is optional). Remember to listen to your body, take an extra day off if necessary, don’t skip your stretching, and finally, enjoy yourself. You’re a runner now.

Remember, all workouts begin with an 8-10 minute brisk walk, and finish with about a five minute walk, stretching, and icing. On your rest days, feel free to do some strength training, yoga, Pilates, etc.

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Day One: Repeat last week’s day six workout: Warm up. Run for 10 minutes. Walk for one minute. Repeat. Cool Down.

Day Two: Active Recovery Day. After your warm up, run for five minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times.

Day Three: After your warm up, run for 15 minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for five minutes. Cool Down.

Day Four: Rest

Day Five: Here it is! Warm up. Run for 20 minutes. Cool Down.

Day Six: (Optional) Active Recovery: Warm up, run for six minutes. Walk for 20 seconds. Repeat two more times.

Day Seven: Rest

Coming next week: Now that you can run for 20 minutes straight, we will start adding on more time/distance.

Getting Faster

Getting_Faster.JPG

Refer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts

The Long Run: After several weeks of increasing your mileage, with one cutback week, you are probably running a sufficient distance in preparation for a 5k. If you want to continue to increase your mileage, go ahead and add on a half mile to this run. If you are running six miles or more for your long run, you really don’t need to add on more at this level of training. If you choose not to increase your long run, add a half mile to one of your other runs during the week (not the speed workouts). Don’t forget to stretch.

Getting_Faster.JPG

The Interval Workout: Back to basic speed work, on the track, 400 meter intervals. After your 10 minute warm up, run 400 meters at slightly faster than your your 5k pace (about 95% of VO2Max). Recover by jogging or walking 200 meters. Repeat 11 more times. Cool down by walking or jogging 400-800 meters. Stretch (and don’t forget to ice after your workout!)

The Lactate Threshold Workout: On the road for this basic tempo run. After your one mile easy warm up, run two miles at slightly less that your 5k pace (about 85-90% of your maximal effort). Cool down by jogging a half mile, and finish with a stretch.

Remember, in addition to these workouts, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Week seven is in the bag. See you next week!

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 6

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Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 6

You’re going to love this week. After five hard weeks of gradually increasing your running time, we going to take a little break this week. Oh, yes, you will be doing some running, but we will cut back a bit on some of the effort. This will serve to give your body a rest, which will help you get stronger when we resume training next week.

By the end of last week, you were running 20 minutes with just one short break. This week, you will be cutting back on the time and taking an extra day off. Strength training, etc., is still okay on your rest days, but I’d suggest one day of complete rest during this week. (Did you miss week one? Click here.)

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Remember, all workouts begin with an 8-10 minute brisk walk, and finish with about a five minute walk, stretching, and icing.

Day One: After your warm up, run for five minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times.

Day Two: Warm up, run for seven minutes. Walk for a minute. Repeat.

Day Three: Rest.

Day Four: Run for six minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat two more time.

Day Five: Rest. Completely.

Day Six: Warm up, run for eight minutes. Walk for a minute. Repeat.

Day Seven: Rest.

Ah, recovery. Feel rejuvenated after your light week. Take care of yourself and get ready for week seven.

Getting Faster

Getting_Faster.JPG

Refer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts

The Long Run: After your cutback last week, you are going to add that half mile back in to your long run.

The Interval Workout: We’re climbing the ladder this week, one of my favorite workouts. We are on the track. After your warm up, run 200 meters at your goal pace. Jog or walk 200 meters (that will be your cool down between each interval). Run 400 meters. Recover for 200 meters. Run 800 meters. Recover for 200 meters. Run 1600 meters. Recover for 200 meters. Run 800 meters. Recover for 200 meters. Run 400 meters. Recover. Run 200 meters. Cool Down. Remember since your goal is to run at about your 5k pace, or around 95% of your maximal effort, you should plan to run each interval at the same pace. So don’t blow yourself out on the 200, then have nothing left when you get to the 800.

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The Lactate Threshold Workout: Back on the road for this workout. After the warm up, run one mile at 85-90% of your maximum effort. Jog for four minutes. Repeat two more times. Cool down.

Remember, in addition to these workout, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Week six is complete! Halfway to your goal. See you next week.

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 5

Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 5

Well, you can call yourself a runner now! By the end of last week, you were able to run 20 minutes with only a couple of very short walking breaks. Nice job. (Did you miss week one? Click here.)

This week, you will continue to increase your running time and decrease your walking. You will have three key workouts this week, plus two additional easy running days (one of which is optional). Plus your off days, of course, which can be total rest, or where you can do some strength training, yoga, etc. Listen to your body and give it the rest that it needs.

Remember, all workouts begin with an 8-10 minute brisk walk, and finish with about a five minute walk, stretching, and icing.

Day One: Repeat last week’s day five workout: Warm up. Run five minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat three more times. Cool down.

Day Two: An active recovery day. After your warm up, run for four minutes, walk for one minute. Repeat three more times, then cool down.

Day Three: This will be a challenge because it your third day in a row, but remember, you’re a runner now! Warm up. Run for five minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for seven minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for eight minutes. Cool Down.

Day Four: Rest

Day Five: (Optional) Active recovery. Repeat day two workout.

Day Six: We are completely taking out two of the walking breaks! Warm up. Run for 10 minutes. Walk for one minute. Repeat. Cool Down.

Day Seven: Rest.

Nice job. Take care of yourself, eat right, stretch, ice, and of course, rest. Next week we get a little breather.

Running Faster

Refer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts

The Long Run: This week we are actually going to cut back the distance of the long run by one half mile. You’ve been steadily increasing your mileage for the last four weeks, and this cut back is intended to give your body a break.

The Interval Workout: Mile repeats this week. Three of them, on the track. You will be running at 90-95% of your maximal effort, with a goal to run each interval at the same pace. After your warm up, run four laps. Recover by jogging or walking 200 meters. Repeat two more times. Cool down.

The Lactate Threshold Workout: Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning “Speedplay.” A Fartlek workout can be done in a variety of ways, with the focus on fun We’re going to hit the road again for this workout. After your warmup, using targets such as telephone poles, street lamps or trees, pick up your pace to about 85-90% of your maximum effort and run to the next pole. Drop your pace until the next pole. Keep repeating this workout for about a half hour. It doesn’t matter if the distances are not the same. After all, this is for fun!

 

Remember, in addition to these workout, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Week five is done! See you in a week.

The Top 5 Marathon Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Marathon MistakesAh, the marathon. Twenty six point two miles of wonder, joy, and things waiting to go wrong. It’s hard to have a perfect race, but there are some things (aside from following your training plan) that you can do to make your experience as successful as possible. Start by avoiding these common marathon mistakes (that even the pros sometimes make).

1. Skipping Aid Stations

It was October 1999, in St. George, Utah. I was running the St. George Marathon. I was in great shape. I had trained all summer for this race. The race starts at an elevation about of about 5,000, it has a net elevation loss of 2,500 feet, which is misleading because much of the first 20 miles of the race are full of rolling hills, and what seems like plenty of elevation gain. It didn’t matter though. I felt fantastic. I was rolling along, at about a 7:15 pace. I felt so good that I didn’t want to mess with my stomach by taking in any gels or other sustenance (I had a history of extreme nausea during the second half of marathons).

This strategy worked fine until mile 20, and what should have been a final downhill cruise back into town. I hit the wall. Hard. I slowed down, struggled not to walk, and couldn’t even find a final kick as I approached the finish line.  What should have been a 3:10 marathon PR, ended up 3:16, still a PR, but not as easy to celebrate after losing over a minute a mile in that last 6.2.

I learned a hard lesson though. Start fueling yourself early and continue throughout the race. Practice during training so that your body adapts, and, either find out what they will be handing out in your marathon, or bring your own. Another tip when running through aid stations: Skip the first table or two, grab a cup from a volunteer, thank them, then pull out of the slow lane by the table (without blocking those that are bypassing the station). Try pinching the top of your cup. It will make it easier to swallow without spilling most of it down your front. If you’re using a gel, take it before your fluid.

2. Not Tapering Correctly

Tapering is hard. Who want to stop, at the peak of their training, and gradually do less for the last two or three weeks before their important marathon? It seems counter-intuitive. Won’t I lose too much fitness? Many a runner, from beginner to pro, has given into that temptation to run “just one more long run.”

Don’t do it. This is science people. After months of hard training, your body needs some recovery time so that it is rested and raring to go. Follow your training plan, which will probably allow some type of speed training up until the last week of your taper. Eat properly, drink plenty of fluids, and rest. Your well trained body will reward you with a good race. Find more information about tapering here:

Taper 14

Click on the photo for the full article.

3. Trying Something New

Whether it’s that adorable outfit you picked up at the expo, or the fuel that they are handing out at the race (if you didn’t plan ahead and use it during training), trying something new during your marathon is generally not a good idea, and could be a recipe for disaster. Many a runner has regretted choosing to run in those cool shoes that they picked up for such a great price, only to be plagued with blisters, knee pain, or other problems, midway through the race.

Everything that you will be using during your race should have been tried out during training. Even if you have a new pair of the same model shoe, test drive it for a few runs before your event. Plan your fuel, your race day outfit, your morning breakfast, ahead of time, based on what you have been doing during your training.

Marathon Quote

4. Starting Too Fast

This is probably the most common mistake among marathon runners of all levels, even the elites. When my husband Alan ran his first Boston Marathon in 1992, he had qualified, at the age of 43, with a sub-3:00 hour marathon. So, there he was, on the start line alongside the likes of Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter. Even as his jaw dropped to see those marathon legends next to him, a wise runner near him said, “Watch out. Don’t get caught up with these guys, or you’ll pay the price.” Then the gun went off. Alan tells me he hit the 10 mile mark in an hour. He managed to recover from those 6:00 minute miles (which would be a 2:37 marathon), by finally catching himself, slowing way down, and managing his race.

What is it about running that tells us, after training for months for, say, a 4:00 hour marathon, that once we get started and find ourselves running 8:00 minute miles, that some little imp inside our head says, “Yes! This is your day! You can run an half hour faster that you planned!”

Don’t listen to that imp. He lies. Stick to your running plan, and run at your goal pace, or even a little slower, as your start. Work through those nerves, don’t worry about what the other runners are doing, and run your own race. You’ll thank yourself. Remember, there is no such thing as “money in the bank” in marathon racing. It just doesn’t work that way.

5. Judging Yourself Too Harshly

So you’ve been training hard. You have hit all your targets, stuck to your plan. You followed all of the advice above, raced smart, fueled correctly, all of it. You know you’re on pace for that elusive PR. And then…it doesn’t happen. You fail.

Marathon Quote 3

Whoa. Back up! Erase that last word. You did all of the things above. You finished 26.2 miles with pride and strength. There is no failure in that. So many things go into the perfect race. Things over which you have no control. The weather. The race route. Road conditions, hills, turns. Sometimes things don’t fall into place. The stars don’t align.

Instead of beating yourself up, analyze what happened. What went wrong. Was it just a bad day? Were you ill? Take a look at the big picture. Then, pick yourself up, and try again. (After an appropriate recovery of course.)

On April 23, I will be running my 37th marathon, the SLO Marathon. Believe me, I have made all of the above mistakes over the last 18 years of running marathons. Hopefully I’ve learned from them. Although I will not be trying for a PR in San Luis Obispo (those are long behind me), I plan to run strong and smart. If you’d like to join me, you can save $10 when you register by using the code WOODAMB.

While this post is about marathon mistakes, many of them apply to races of any distance, especially the half marathon. What would you add to the list? What is the biggest mistake you made at a race of any distance?