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!

Running Strong with (in spite of) Exercise Induced Asthma

I have suffered from Exercise Induced Asthma ever since I started running, especially once I started racing and training at a higher intensity level. I didn’t realize at first what was happening. At the end of a race I would feel dizzy, nauseous, and weak, and take up to an hour to feel better. I chalked it up to my hard effort and really didn’t worry too much about it. But, as these things do, it got worse. Here’s a little timeline of my history with Exercise Induced Asthma.

Exercise Induced Asthma

May 1996: I was running a 10k in Yucca Valley. It was shortly after Alan and I had met, and he was going to pace me to a PR. He did that, but I don’t remember the last 2/10 of a mile because I was so seriously oxygen deprived that I passed out at the finish line. While I never coughed or wheezed, I was not getting enough oxygen to fuel my muscles, and it took me over two hours to fully recover. For a while I couldn’t even lift my arms up. On a happier note, I did finish second overall and first in my age group.

Later that same week while on an easy run, I had my first incidence of a full blown asthma attack. I coughed, I wheezed, I cried (it’s very scary and emotional if you don’t know what’s happening) which made it even worse. Because my mother had suffered from asthma all her life, I figured out what was going on, made a doctor’s appointment and got my first inhaler.

December 1996: I ran my first marathon, in Honolulu. Starting about mile 16 in the race, I started having problems breathing and began using my inhaler. It slowed me down considerably, but I finished.

Honolulu-Marathon

1997: My doctor tried a variety of medications. At one point, I was using three different inhalers and a pill that I took daily. It did help, but that’s an awful lot of medicine.

1998: I created a holster in which I could carry my asthma inhaler. After seeing a woman using a similar one at the San Diego Marathon (it was a gift so she didn’t know where it came from), I used the belt loop part of a flashlight holster with a big paper clip. The inhaler fit perfectly and was easily at hand whenever I needed it. I should have patented it and gone into production. I was asked about it at every race I ever did.

June 2002: The first marathon I ever dropped out of because of my asthma, Rock and Roll in San Diego. You can fight through a lot of things, pain, tiredness, but you really need to be able to breathe, and I couldn’t. I also dropped out of the same race two years later. The only races I’ve ever dropped out of for any reason.

2006: After a knee injury slowed my times and I just got tired of fighting the asthma, I ran my last marathon. For the next few years, I continued to run and race, but never trained at a very high level. I still had the asthma problems during races, but they were infrequent enough so that I stopped taking all the preventative medications and just stuck with my rescue inhaler (albuterol).

2013: With renewed enthusiasm for running, I decided to train hard with a goal of running a sub-2 hour half marathon for the first time in years. That meant adding speed workouts back to my schedule and running longer and harder. It also meant the return of the asthma. Alan (who suffers from asthma too) had been having great success with montelukast, which is the generic version of Singulair. I decided I wanted to try it as well, and after multiple allergy and other tests given by my doctor, I picked up my first prescription.

Exercise Induced Asthma - Health Ox Oximeter

In my first race while using the montelukast, I still had a few issues. I think one of the problems is that I was taking it in the evening before bed. I should have taken it in the morning, a couple hours before the race. Hindsight is 20/20, but I will know this for next time. I did, however, accomplish my goal of running a two hour half marathon.

Fast forward to 2015. After running the Rock and Roll Marathon last June, my first in over eight years, I am now training for the SLO Marathon, which is in April. I have stated that I want to run a strong race, so that means thinking about asthma medication again. I’ll be sticking with the combination of montelukast, along with a rescue inhaler. I don’t start using the medication until about three months out from the race. That is when I start to increase both the intensity and distance of my runs. I’m hopeful that the combination of medication and sticking with my training program will get me across the finish line one more time.

That’s my story. Now a little bit about Exercise Induced Asthma.

What is Exercise Induced Asthma?

If you cough, wheeze or feel out of breath during or after exercise, it may be more than exertion that is the cause. If you feel tingling in your extremities, dizziness, or like you are breathing through a straw, you may be experiencing Exercise Induced Asthma. Even if you’ve never had any breathing issues in the past, EIA may be causing you to slow down, drop out, and begin to wonder if exercise is all it’s cracked up to be.

Having Exercise Induced Asthma does not mean that you should stop exercising. On the contrary, exercise helps to strengthen your entire cardio pulmonary system, and proper treatment of the condition can help keep you active, whether you are an elite level swimmer, an age group runner, or a weekend warrior.

Symptoms of Exercise Induced Asthma

Some of the symptoms of Exercise Induced Asthma include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, tightening in the chest, fatigue during exercise, and poor athletic poor performance. These can happen during or after exercise. Many people don’t realize they have EIA because they think the symptoms are their body’s response to exercise.

My personal symptoms start with a feeling like tingling in my extremities. I always think that they feel like they are not getting enough oxygen. I start to feel weak and my body suddenly needs to slow down. If I try to push through, I feel like the continued lack of oxygen will cause me to faint and even feel like I have encroaching blackness in my peripheral vision.

As asthma attack can be a life threatening occurrence. Get immediate medical help if your symptoms continue to worsen even after using a rescue inhaler or if your symptoms continue after you are finished with your workout.

Causes & Risk Factors

While no one really knows why one person suffers from EIA while another doesn’t, some things that increase the likelihood of an attack include cold, dry weather, air pollution, high pollen counts, chemicals (such as chlorine in a swimming pool), and having a cold or other respiratory infection.

Again, my personal experience is that warm, humid climates make it more likely to have an attack (contrary to everything I have read, but have heard from others). I also have difficulties at high altitudes, especially during the adaptation period. And while I will occasionally have an EIA attack during shorter, high intensity exercise, I seem to have more problems during lower intensity, but longer efforts.

Those who have asthma that is triggered by other causes are more likely to have EIA, as are children, smokers, and high intensity exerciser (like runners).

Treatment

asthma

So what is an athlete to do? For many people, a couple puffs from a quick relief inhaler such as Albuterol is enough to control symptoms.  These are called bronchodilators and can help open the airways during an attack as well.

If a bronchodilator is not enough, speak to your doctor regarding the medications that are available to prevent asthma attacks. This type of medication is taken on a daily basis to help reduce inflammation and keep your airway open.

In order to prevent an EIA attack, several things are known to help, including a long warm-up of 10 minutes or more, trying to breathe through your nose, covering your mouth in cold dry weather, and if allergens cause you to experience EIA, avoid them as much as possible (maybe skip a workout on a high pollen or pollution day).

Don’t stop exercising. As I mentioned, exercising improves your lung function, so it is an important factor in the control of asthma symptoms. And don’t be discouraged. It may take a while to find the right combination of medications. I have finished 36 marathons with (in spite of) Exercise Induced Asthma, with a PR of 3:16, and many races of shorter distances, so it is possible to race and train at a pretty high level.

Remember, I am not a doctor! If you are experiencing Exercise Induced Asthma symptoms or feel like you are having difficulties breathing during exercise consult your own physician. While I researched the topic, I am speaking from my own experience and yours may be completely different.

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.

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 4

Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 4

By the end of last week, you had accomplished several things. (Did you miss week one? Click here.) You were able to run five minutes at one time. You were also running about 18 minutes during a single workout, with very little walking. Is everything feeling good? Any aches and pains? Take a body check from time to time. Even though we’re taking things slow, you are still adding a great deal of exercise into your life. Be smart, if you’re feeling sore or tired, it is okay to take an extra rest day now and then. Your body talks to you. You just have to listen.

This week, we will be adding an optional extra running day into the mix. It will be shorter and easier that the others, but still it will be an extra day. Because of that addition, we’re not going to make a huge change in the length of your running intervals, but we will cut down a little on your rest intervals. If you have any shin or knee pain, do not add this extra day (and you should probably take an extra day off). Remember, each workout starts with an 8-10 minute brisk walk and ends with a 5 minute slower walk, stretching and icing.

Day One: Repeat last week’s day six workout: After your warm up, run for four minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for five minutes. Walk for one minute. Repeat both intervals.

Day Two: The point of this workout is to decrease your walking rest periods while maintaining your running intervals. Warm up, then run for four minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times. This is a little less total running than we’ve been doing, but because we’re adding on another running day tomorrow, we don’t want to overdo it.

Day Three: (Optional) You may be feeling tired this morning, but unless you are hurting, try to push through it. It will be a pretty easy workout. After your warm up, run for three minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for four minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for five minutes. Cool down.

Day Four: Rest Day. Strength, Yoga, Pilates, etc. are okay.

Day Five: This is your key workout of the week. Hopefully you are feeling strong after your rest day. Warm up. Run five minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat three more times. Cool down.

Day Six: Repeat day five, with only three intervals.

Day Seven: Rest Day. You can take it completely off if you’d like, or do some weights, etc.

Congratulations! You’ve been running for a month! Great job! Next week we will lengthen the intervals, and one of the workouts will be all running (except the warm up/cool down).

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 add one half mile to your run on one day of the week.

The Interval Workout: We’re still on the track for this workout. Warm up for about a mile. This is a ladder workout. Each interval will be a little longer than the previous. You will be running each interval at about the same pace, about 90-95% of your max effort, though, so be careful not to go all out on some of the shorter intervals then not be able to keep the pace on the longer ones.

Interval 1: 200 meters (halfway around the track)
Interval 2: 400 meters
Interval 3: 600 meters
Interval 4: 800 meters
Interval 5: 1000 meters
Interval 6: 800 meters
Interval 7: 600 meters
Interval 8: 400 meters
Interval 9: 200 meters

Finish with a cool down and a good stretch.

The Lactate Threshold Workout: We are back on the road for this workout. After your warm up, increase your pace to about 85-90% of your maximum effort. Maintain this pace for one mile. Drop the speed and jog for about 3-5 minutes. Repeat one to three more times, depending on you current mileage (don’t exceed the distance of your long run). Finish with your cool down and stretch.

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 four is in the bag! Great job!

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 3

Run a 5k

Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 3

By the end of last week, you were running up to running two minute intervals, with walk breaks of only 30 seconds. Hurray for you! (Just getting started? Here’s week one.) Hopefully, you’ve been following the plan, resting when prescribed, icing, stretching, etc. Our goal for this week is to bring the running up to five minutes straight! Let’s get started.

Remember, you always want to start your workout with a warm up, and for now, it will be walking briskly for 8-10 minutes. And always take about five minutes at the end of the workout to cool down, nice easy walking is best.

Day One: You’re going to start with last week’s Day Five workout. After your warm-up, run for two minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat five more times. Finish with your cool down. Do not skip the stretching and icing.

Day Two: Kind of a mixed bag workout. After your warm up, run for two minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Now, run for three minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for two minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for three minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for two minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for three and a half minutes. Cool down. (If you feel like you need a little longer break after the longer intervals, please go ahead, but don’t walk for too long.)

Day Three: Still your rest day. Yoga, weights, etc. are okay.

Day Four: After your warm up, run for three minutes. Walk for one minute, then run for four minutes. Walk for 30 seconds, then run for three minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for four minutes. One minute walk, then a final three minute run. Cool down, stretch, ice.

Day Five: Complete rest today, we’ve got a big one tomorrow.

Day Six: After your warm up, run for four minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for five minutes. Walk for one minute. Repeat both intervals. Cool down, stretch ice.

Day Seven: Rest. You had a tough week, but look what you’ve accomplished! A total of 18 minutes of running with very little walking time. You can do some strength training, etc. but complete rest is okay, too.

Week three is complete! Congratulations. Next week, we’ll add another running day and increase those running intervals a little more.

Running Faster

CIFRefer 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 add one half mile to your run on one day of the week.

The Interval Workout: After your four lap warm up, run 800 meters at about your goal 5k pace (that’s two times around the track). Walk or jog for 200 meters. Repeat two more times. Finish with a cool down and a good stretch.

The Lactate Threshold Workout: This week we are doing this by time instead of mileage. Warm up for eight minutes. Run at a pace about 20 seconds slower than your goal 5k pace for five minutes. Jog for three minutes. Depending on your current mileage abilities, repeat once or twice more (don’t exceed the mileage of your “long run” day). Cool down for five more minutes and finish with a stretch.

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 the last post.

Keep up the good work! See you next week.

Create Your Own Marathon Training Plan

Seven steps to making your own 16 week training program.

Marathon Training Plan

Are you planning to run a spring or summer marathon? Well, good for you! Do you have a training plan yet? It’s never to early to start planning your training, building a base, and mentally starting to prepare. While many of us can’t afford a coach (though it may not be as expensive as you think), a generic internet training plan doesn’t have to be the only option.

Believe it or not, you can create your own effective and safe training plan whether you are a beginner, looking to improve your times in your second or third marathon, or an experienced runner who wants to run at a high level. Just follow the steps below to create a 16 week marathon plan. Beginners, follow just the first five steps. If you have longer than 16 weeks until your marathon, use that time to build your base mileage. By the time you start the training plan, you should be able to run 10-12 miles for your long run, and about 25 miles per week.

Getting Started

Before you create your marathon training plan there are a few things you need to think about. First, you need a goal time. This can be based on a previous marathon or races of other distances (check here for a useful chart of time calculations). This time will be used for several purposes, including marathon pace runs, determining your long run pace, and giving you a guideline while you’re actually running your race.

It would also be helpful to know your race paces in the half marathon and 5k. If you don’t have those, that’s okay, you can gauge your training pace by effort level. Use a recent time, not your PR from two years ago.

Then sit down and figure out what days you can run. Think of your work and family schedule, then write down the days of the week that you can use for your training plan. Be honest with yourself. If you think you want to squeeze in a run on a weekday afternoon, but you know that you hate to run after work, don’t write it down.  Ideally you will plan to run a minimum of four to six days. You will need at least one day for a long run, so make note of that day. You will eventually need three to four hours for that workout.

Finally, make a chart that extends all the way to your marathon date. An Excel or Word table works just fine, or you can use a real calendar. See below for my revised SLO Marathon training plan. Label it Monday-Sunday, and date it through to your race. If you have any planned races, write them in. Now you’re ready to make your plan.

1. Long Run. The first step is to take a look at your long run. Working back from your marathon date, give yourself three weeks to taper. That will be your longest run. I would recommend at least 20-22 miles. For the first long run, write in your current long distance. Now, working back and forth, increase that mileage 1-3 miles per week. Every third week or so, give your body a break and cut back the long distance run by about 25%. Try to work in at least two runs of 20 miles or more.

Long runs should be run at an easy, slow pace, a minute or more below your goal race pace. During the second half of your training, plan to run about 5 or 6 miles of your long run at Marathon Pace, somewhere in the second half of your run. This will give you an idea of what race pace feels like, especially when your legs are already tired.

2. Recovery run. Ideally, the day after your long run will be a short recovery run or complete rest. A recovery run should be around 3-4 miles.

3. Speed Training. The second run to schedule in is your speed training run (more advanced runners will have a second hard run, see #6). Schedule this run so that you have at least one recovery day between it and your long run. Two is even better for beginners. The total mileage will be about 4-8 miles and you can choose from any of these workouts:

a. Hill Repeats
b. Tempo Workout: The link has directions on how to find your tempo workout pace and effort level.
c. Half Marathon Pace run: Warm up for about 10 minutes. Run 20-40 minutes at your current half marathon pace. Cool down for 5-10 minutes.
d. Interval Training: Longer intervals of 800-1600 meters, at a pace about 15 seconds per mile slower than your 5k pace.

Try to vary these workouts. If you know that your marathon has a lot of hills, you might want to schedule more hill workouts.

Note: If this is your first marathon and you “just want to finish” I still recommend this workout. It will help you feel stronger throughout your race.

4. Easy/Moderate runs. The other two or three days can be easy to moderate runs. Cross training is an option, especially for beginners. On one of those days, build your mileage a mile at a time to about 8 to 10. Just like the long run, drop the mileage by about 25% every third week to give your body some recovery time.

5. Taper time. Starting after your last long run, three weeks out from your marathon, you will start to taper your distance and intensity down. The first week, drop the long run by about 30%. That is the only change. Two weeks out from your race, drop your long run again, to about 40-50% of your longest distance. About 10 days out from the race, you will also start to drop the mileage of your other runs.

The last week of your marathon cut your mileage way back. Take an extra rest day. No speed work during this final week, though you might want to try a three mile marathon pace run several days out (that is exactly what it sounds like. Warm up for a mile, run two to three miles at your goal pace, then recover for a final mile.). Running the day before the marathon is optional. Called a “shakeout run,” it can help loosen up muscles (and shed some nerves), but it is up to you. Keep it short, and try to stay off your feet for the most part the rest of the day.

6. Second Speed Workout. If you have run a marathon or two (or three or four), and want to improve your time, add a second speed workout during the week. You can pick another option from above or try one of these:

SLO Marathon 4Don’t schedule your high intensity runs back to back. This includes your long run. Insert an easy or rest day in between your hard runs.

7. Run More. If you really want to set a PR or even qualify for Boston, you need to run more. Run at least 5 days a week, and 6 is optimal. That doesn’t mean to run through injury, or to disregard your body’s signals that you are overtraining. Be smart, rest if you need to, but to really run at a high level, you need to put miles on your legs.

Follow these tips and you’ll be able to create a personalized marathon training plan that will be perfect for you! It will fit into your schedule, progress at your pace, and get you where you want to go. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments or email me at debbie [at] livefromlaquinta.com. And if creating your own plan isn’t your thing, I can create a program for you that will be designed to get you to your goal.

Disclaimer: I am a coach, but I’m not your coach. Marathon training is challenging and you need to be in general good health (see a doctor if you’re not sure!) and have a solid running base to attempt it. Rest is very important, and if you notice any minor running aches and pains, or other injuries, take appropriate action to resolve the issue. Injury prevention is not addressed in this article, but it is a risk during marathon training.

Have you made your own training program before? What is your current training goal (running or otherwise)?