As a lifelong runner, a veteran of ten marathons and countless races of lesser stature, friends who are new to the running and racing scene often ask me for advice. So I decided this subject would make a good blog post. And by blogging, I could pass along some things I've learned over the years to a larger audience.
|Competing in the '06 Boston Marathon - my first sub-3|
Whether you're a beginner or intermediate, I hope the following will be of use:
1. Endurance First – don’t worry about speed workouts for first few weeks. Just concentrate on building endurance. Speed will come later.
2. Standard Daily Workout Routine – light stretch, warm up (~five min. of jogging – I do half mile at 6.5 mph, or 9:12 per mile pace), full stretch, workout, full stretch, cool down (half of your warm up), light stretch. I am a stretch fanatic. By increasing your flexibility, I am a firm believer that stretching decreases your risk of injury.
3. Standard Weekly Routine – one day for long run, one day for speed, at least two others days of running. Once you establish a base of fitness, you can bump up to a five-day week, with off days following your long and speed days. I often go to a six-day week for a few weeks to pack in miles before I taper for a big race.
4. Long Run – pick a day and keep it consistent. Monday is always my long run day. A lot of runners like Saturday or Sunday. Find what works best with your schedule. Pace should be about 2 to 2.5 minutes slower per mile than your 5K race pace.
5. Speed Work – I have 5-6 different speed workouts involving intervals and hills that I rotate for variety. Racing (5k’s and 10k’s, etc.) can substitute as speed work.
6. 10 % Rule - applies to long run and weekly total. Do not increase a long run from one week to the next by more than ~10%. Do not increase overall weekly mileage from one week to the next by more than ~10%. Violating this rule could lead to injury and/or burn out.
7. Step Back Rule – applies to long run and weekly total. Increase your mileage over three consecutive weeks, then “step back.” That is to say, give yourself a one week reduction of 20-25% before increasing mileage again.
8. Keep Log – Post Log – keep track of your daily workouts – mileage, pace, resting heart rate and working heart rate. I’ve created a couple spread sheets to chart my progress, and I like to post them in a conspicuous place so they’re always there to remind me to run. I post mine on the closet door in my bedroom.
9. Resting Heart Rate (RHR) – best time to check is when you first wake up, and I typically check for a full minute. Do it once or twice a week and log it. It’s nice to watch the numbers drop as cardio-vascular fitness increases and your heart becomes more efficient. My RHR when in peak shape is in the mid 40’s.
10. Working Heart Rate (WHR) – unless you have a heart rate monitor to check as you run, the best way to check is immediately after a workout. Check pulse for fifteen seconds and multiply by four. Do not count for a full minute. The intensity decreases the moment you stop running and your heart will begin to recover if you wait too long and you won’t get a true WHR. Your heart will also recover more quickly the better shape you’re in. Log it.
11. Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) – Easy formula is 220 minus your age. Not good to push your WHR beyond this number.
12. Intensity – 90-95% MHR – high intensity speed work
80-90% MHR – tempo runs
70-80% MHR – recovery runs
60-80% MHR – long runs
50-60% MHR – warm up
< 60% MHR (other than warm-up) – might as well be walking.
13. Nutrition – Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. But protein and fats are important too, as is water. Percentage of daily caloric intake should be as follows: Carbs 60-70%; Proteins – 15-25%; Fats – 10-20%. If you don’t do so already, get in the habit of reading nutrition labels on food. Learn what’s in the foods you’re eating. Until you develop a good nutrition routine, it can be helpful to keep a log for a few days, or even a few weeks, writing down everything you eat.
Now go out there and RUN!