Friday, February 8, 2013

No. 17 - Training Tips for Beginning Runners

By - Bill Urbanski

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!

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