Let’s get something straight here. I register and run races not for the medals, not for the t-shirts (though runDisney does make it enticing!), or even for the competition. Likewise, I don’t set time goals for a race so that I might win my age group or even to beat the person standing next to me on the starting line.
I do it so that I have to train. Plain and simple. I do it so that I can say, “here is what I have to do for the next 10 or 12 weeks or so to make it happen.” I’ll admit it, I’m not a runner who will just wake up every day and be excited to go out for a run “just because.”
I love running. It keeps me sane and provides all sorts of benefits, but it is the first thing to go when I have to take something off my list in order to get life done. Unless, of course, I have a goal in mind (sometimes that means just finishing in the upright position!) and have to work for it. And working for it always – and I mean always – requires a training plan.
Jeff Galloway has been my go-to guy for training. His run-walk-run method has worked for me every time and his sensible training plans keep me motivated without killing me.
So, if you are anything like me and you want/need/must have a training plan to keep you on track, but aren’t sure how to make it happen here are some great tips from Jeff himself to get you going.
THE TRAINING PLAN
WHY SHOULD I HAVE A TRAINING PLAN? When using a proven strategy, a runner gains control over fatigue while improving motivation. Those who follow the right training plan, for the individual, tend to improve more, with less injury risk.
WOULD BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM A PLAN Unfortunately, most beginners “run as they feel” or follow conflicting advice. This leads to confusion and more aches and pains. The right schedule will systematically increase the type of running needed for a goal, with strategic rest for rebuilding.
KEY TRAINING ELEMENTS:
1) A longer run builds endurance, 2) A hilly run builds strength, 3) Scenic or social runs insert fun and keep you coming back for more.
WHAT IS ADDED TO A PLAN IF THE GOAL IS TO RUN FASTER? The right training plan will gradually increase the speed repetitions needed for the individual goal. Easier days and rest days must be inserted before and after speed workouts. To avoid injury, the pace and the increase must be realistic for the individual.
EVERY OTHER DAY! Most runners—especially beginners—run best when they run every other day. This allows for the “weak links” to heal. The very slow long run is usually on the weekend when there is more time available. Hills and fun days can be run on the short runs during the week (for example, Tuesday and Thursday)
SHOULD I EXERCISE ON NON-RUNNING DAYS? While you don’t have to exert yourself on non-running days to improve your running, exercise will energize your mind, and improve your attitude and vitality—while burning some fat. So I recommend any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle, such as recreational walking.
DOES VARIETY HELP? Changing things a bit can improve motivation. You don’t have to change the “mission” on specific days, but alternating some of the courses or running with different groups can make each day more interesting.
WHAT ARE VARIOUS MISSIONS, FOR VARIOUS DAYS? Each type of run bestows a different benefit. Hill runs build strength. Drills that work on cadence, gentle acceleration and gliding will improve your running form. Long runs produce stamina and endurance.
WHAT SHOULD I DO THE DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER LONG OR FASTER RUNS? Take it easy on these days. Do little or no exercise, don’t over-eat, drink 8 glasses of water/sports drinks, and focus on how you will enjoy the next run.
SHOULD I SKIP THE REST DAYS—TO IMPROVE MORE QUICKLY? Not Recommended! It is during the days off from running that the running body rebuilds and improves. While some runners can get away with running short and slow runs on rest days for a while, these “junk miles” can compromise recovery and lead to injuries.
IF I DON’T LIKE A WORKOUT CAN I SUBSTITUTE? Following a consistent plan is more likely to lead to success and improve motivation. Those who pick various elements from different schedules experience more burnout and injury.
Want to get started by registering for a Half Marathon or 5k? Register for Jeff and Barb’s races coming up in December!
For individualized training plans for any race/distance/pace, check out Jeff’s Customized Training Plans!
*I’m honored to be a part of the Galloway Blogger program. They provide tips for bloggers to share. Go check out the Jeff Galloway Official Website and find out more about the man and program that got me running and keeps me going!