(actually the Another Mother Runner's Podcast has voiced twice over the year I've been listening to them- that ramping up is the smartest way to train- they say to start with 5K, move to 10K and then 1/2, and then full- they have pretty much said those that don't are going to fail- this is one area I disagree with them- sorry digression)...
that starting with a marathon is just silly and gluten for punishment and worse injury and worse the desire to never run another marathon.
I guess I'm kind of strange, because the opposite occurred for me, well sort of. I did get hurt my first training for the Chicago marathon. About a month out from race day I thought I stress fractured my right foot and went into get it checked out by orthopod and found out instead I had just really torqued off a muscle running down the lateral portion of my right ankle- steroid shot into side of right foot, rest for couple of weeks- back in the saddle and ran my first marathon in 5:15:45. I'll never forget crossing the finish line and tears of shock, happiness and pride streaming down. Fast forward 9 years later (wow- writing that makes me realize how fast time flies by)- I'm wanting to run Chicago FASTER! No- not BQ (Boston Qualifier) fast, just faster.
So here are a couple of ideas- didn't come up with these on my own, but have added my own comments- on how I'm going to accomplish a faster time.
1. Speed Work incorporated into my weekly mileage- in the past I've been pretty content to just put the miles in. However, after reading and listening up on how a runner gets faster I've found speed work sounds like a major key. I've avoided speed work in the past because, well mainly because the math intimidates me- I know laugh, laugh, laugh, but I don't always have the greatest track (no pun intended) record counting laps and add in 4 x 400, 4 x 800, 4 x 200, and pace that you are suppose to run all of those "meters" in and I just get intimidated. So to make it easier on me I have found some somewhat easy treadmill and track work outs to follow. These "interval" runs will have me work on bursts of speed. The following is one I found on the Another Mother Runner site under Treadmill Training workouts. I did it the other night, modified a little (didn't do that long of a warm up or cool down), but overall got in a good workout and ran fast.
The Good, the Bad, and the Painful
I also recently read Hal Higdon's 4th edition of "Marathon" and in his area on speed work outs I found this one and thought - o.k. even little old me can follow it- or at least I hope I can.
Head to track and jog 1st 4 laps and then run 200 meters hard followed by 200 meters easy (do this 3 more times) and that's why he calls it "8 lap track run".
So yes- speed workout needs to be incorporated.
2. Cross training- This, as most of you know, helps balance and work on other body mechanics and muscles in your body that running doesn't use or work on. O.K. I know this, but it doesn't magically make me want to jump on the bike, swim laps, or bust out the Bob Harper DVD. So to motivate me into adding cross training to my weekly workout schedule I sign up for a sprint Tri that occurs August- so minimum I have to start in June swimming and biking on regular basis or basically I "flop" at the "Tri". It helps that my hubby already has added cross training to his weekly routine (biking and good old Bob Harper DVD). In fact he just finished one tonight and wanted to know "when are you going to join me". So like anything if you want to get it done you have to make it a priority- something I will work on.
3. Run, Run, Run- yep not only means you have to work on speed work as noted in #1, but also you have to put in the mileage. So it isn't always how fast you run, but in your training how much you run. I think that in general I feel like a stronger runner going into this "training season" because of how I continued to run even after the marathon last October and through the cold winter months.
4. Rest days are for rest- as many of us runners do we lead not only lives of runners, but of workers, parents, laborers (in our own home :). Now I know I'm not some elite runner who needs to do two a days and come home and nap between training periods, but I do think consciously making sure I don't work too hard the day before my long run may make a difference. So how do you really rest, well I'm going to try and take the day off from manual labor (yard work, housework, etc) the day before my long runs. So this may take some planning and adjusting my schedule, but I think it will help me run more efficiently on those long run days.
5. Nutrition- If I eat healthier would I a. lose weight b. feel more energized c. be healthier d. I hope all of the above. No I'm not a runner because I want to lose weight, but I do like that it keeps my weight in check. However, I like some runners fall into that trap of "I just ran 13 miles so I can drink and eat whatever I want". This of course is emotional eating- another digression did you know if you type in emotional to Google the first word that pops up following emotional is eating, feel like I already informed you of this, but still I think that is fascinating and telling to where our society is at. So again I went looking for answers to how to improve my nutrition as a runner. The one book Hal Higdon references and speaks about highly in the "Marathon" book was "Sports Nutrition Guidebook" by Nancy Clark Rd. Unfortunately neither of my two libraries I frequent have this book and I'm just not sure I want to fork out the money for this book. I have checked out Runner's World's nutrition area on-line which has some good articles, but I think what I'm really looking for is nutritional analysis of my input by a sport's nutritionist, but again not ready to fork out that cash. So for now I'm focusing on moderation, eating fruits and vegetables, avoiding sweets on daily basis, drinks only on weekend (exception occasional girls night out during the week), and keeping hydrated with H2O.
So those are the five I've put down on my "getting faster" list. The one I'm most intimidated by is the cross training in all seriousness. However, I read a quote on a blog I follow the other day "runwithjess" and Jess said she likes to do cross training because it makes her feel like an "athlete not just a runner". I liked that idea. Before I was a runner I was an athlete (volleyball, gymnastics, softball- o.k. I know that was back in the 90's, but I was an athlete) and so an athlete I will again become.
Last but not least, in order to "get faster" I may have to do some further math by looking at what running pace I should be running at to grant me a certain finish time for races. There is a great pacing calculator that is free and easy to use. You can find it at McMillanRunning.com. Below is the example I put in using my best Marathon race time (4:23:21) and it tells you pretty much anything you need to know in order to get that finish time. It also tells you what pace you should run for different workouts (speed, interval, long distance, etc).
Your Equivalent Performances
Your Optimal Training Paces
Well I never knew I would be posting on speed work or interval training or pace calculators in my lifetime, but the
thing is I need a new goal, more than just putting in the miles, I want to improve the quality of my running
and I think all five above goals really are about continuing to improve my overall health.