Training for Cap City – Method to the Madness
Take home message – 2 components of the program: the long run and the weekday miles
I get a lot of questions about why we train the way we do or why the schedule is in minutes during the week and miles on the weekend/long run day. The bottom line is that you need to spend time running or walking in order to get your body ready for a half or quarter marathon. How you do that and how much time you spend depends A LOT on your prior running experience and your goals. Our training plan is for athletes who may have run or walked a bit in their past or none at all but are currently able to complete 2 miles at least 3 times per week. Then we go from there!
The long run – The heart and sole (or soul) of your training plan
The basic and most important part of your training schedule is your weekly long run. We start at 2 miles and build to 11 miles. The goal here is to get your body and mind used to being on your feet for as long or longer than you will be on race day. You don’t need to run this fast, in fact you shouldn’t run the long run fast. If you are pushing the pace on your long runs, you’ll be too tired and run down to complete the rest of the workouts. Not good. You want to be challenged by the distance but not the pace. It is very important to be able to talk easily in sentences while running your long run. If not, slow down. It’s all about spending the time running or walking on these days, not trying to set a record each weekend. I don’t mean to say that every minute will feel easy, but your pace should not be challenging you. You should begin to enjoy your long run day. It may sound crazy now, but it is time that you are giving to yourself to make yourself stronger, fitter, and healthier. This is your time enjoy the gift you’ve given yourself. The long run is the core!
Weekday runs – The set up for successful long runs and the meat of your training
The rest of the workouts are meant to set you up to have successful long runs. Here’s the daily work of the training plan. You need these to prepare for and recover from your long runs. You spend a bit more time each week running during the week. Little by little your body does its job and gets used to the stress of running and after sufficient recovery/rest it is ready for more. Isn’t the human body amazing?
So why the weekday minutes instead of miles?
We all know that weekdays are busy and fitting in the workouts can be tough, even if you have made it a priority. Often knowing the exact number of minutes that your workout will be can help with planning your day. Most importantly though is that we want your weekly miles to be at whatever pace feels comfortable that day. Again, it should feel easy and you should be able to talk in sentences. Many times, we as runners become obsessed with our progress because it is pretty easy to track – “ran 2 miles in 21 minutes this week, maybe I can do 20 minutes next week.” That’s great and can be very rewarding, but we want to remember that getting to the start line of the Cap City Half Marathon healthy and then crossing that finish line with a smile is our #1 goal! The important thing is putting in the time and not necessarily how many miles you cover in that time. More to come on how we train in the following weeks.