5K & 10K TRAINING PLAN 2021 STARTS TODAY
Today’s post is coming out late. The northern tier states of the USA experienced two back-to-back weekends of heavy snowfall. I have been helping the family dig out of a roughly 10” Saturday to Sunday dump of wet snow. We have been at it all day, breaking the shoveling into small, manageable increments of effort. We also built an awesome snow person! And on slippery, snow-covered side streets I was able to finish the day's workout feeling proud and happy to have stayed on track with training. .
The harsh wintery weather is a reminder that the calendar is counting down quickly to St. Valentine’s Day! Which means the first of the Saints’ Days Races, the 5K ‘tune-up’ race, could potentially be scheduled by organizers as early as the upcoming February 6-7 weekend for some runners and walkers, with the majority held on February 12-14. The eligible dates in which a virtual run or walk event must be completed is often flanked by weekends; this year February 6-14 could be designated as this period.
If weather forecasts of extreme cold or snowy conditions, like these past couple weekends, threaten to prevent your participation in an organized event, even if it’s virtual, you may lose the registration fee. However, that shouldn’t stop you from accomplishing a goal race. Consider running/walking a personal custom event on any day of your choosing to avoid this outcome or to prevent disruption of other plans. Request Earned Runs bibs for this competition, or get it done without a bib, but with love in your heart!
At the end of week 4 you will have spent one full month in training. Congratulations.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 3 HALF MARATHON 2021 with SAINTS DAYS 5k & 10K Training Plan STARTS TODAY
RUN PLAN: You may become more aware of the progress you are making through training after finishing two weeks of workouts. If you feel comfortable with the schedule, plan ahead to take advantage of the optional Tuesday run + hill workout discussed in last week’s blog post, which start in Week 5, especially if February weather in your area can be expected to turn very cold and snowy.
Use the upcoming couple weeks to locate an incline that takes about 1.5 minutes to climb at a slow to moderate pace with moderate intensity, and about 2 minutes to descend at a walk. Three repeats will add just 10.5 minutes to your initial 2-mile warm-up run; 4 repeats will add roughly 14 minutes.
In cold and wet weather, hill repeats can be an affordable way (for those who do not wish to enter or have access to a fitness center) to bump the intensity of this workout in spite of unfavorable outdoor conditions. If you don’t live or work near a hill, consider traveling to a real one or a structure that can serve one, like a covered, multi-level parking ramp.
There’s a short 2-mile warm-up distance to cover before attacking the incline that can be accomplished as loops, around-the-block or out-and-back repeats, that end at the training ‘hill’. A good reason to find a convenient covered parking ramp for hill repeats instead of a real outdoor hill is that you’ll lessen your exposure to the elements, running on levels that are under a roof. Some large malls have protected parking.
Stick to the plan’s number of repeats until you know your tolerance to hill work.
Want to perform hill repeats indoors? Stair climbing and treadmill incline running can substitute for hill climbing, some trainers advise. Others warn against this type of repetitive training. Best to check with your doctor if you have been seen or treated for joint or skeletal problems before working out on stairs or hills. An article posted on runsociety.com offers formulas for calculating an appropriate number of stair flights.]
WALK PLAN: As discussed in the above section for runners, prepare now to find an incline for a hill workout. The walk plan hill repeats are first scheduled in week 6 so there’s plenty of time to investigate and plan ahead before starting. It’s also a good idea to obtain medical clearance for these activities if you have had joint/skeletal problems in the past.
Warmup by walking for 20 minutes on a flat stretch, walk up then down on an incline that takes about 2 minutes to climb then 2 minutes to descend. Three to 4 cycles of uphill-downhill repeats will take about 12-16 minutes. After a 5-minute cool-down walk, you are finished!
Both runner and walker plans (below) are also on the RESOURCES page:
Just think, the days are getting longer and you are getting stronger, especially if you are performing the lower and upper body strength work of each week’s plan and the dynamic warm-ups.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO BOOST FITNESS UNTIL SPRING BEGINS.
EARNED RUNS ANNUALLY PROMOTES A NUMBER OF SUMMER CHALLENGES. One of them is a “Summer Streak”. The challenge at first was to run at least one mile every day, then expanded to a run or walk streak, then morphed to a streak of ANY activity that could safely be performed daily, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the unofficial start and finish to this season.
I inadvertently started a walk streak January 3, 2019. The next several days were forecasted to deliver full sun, and possibly clear sunrises and beautiful sunsets. I walked twice a day to enjoy both. By January 7 that year, I had the beginnings of a streak and decided to continue as long as possible. On January 10, 2020 the idea of a formal Earned Runs streak materialized.
In 2020, starting a WINTER STREAK CHALLENGE again seemed like it might be an appealing activity, particularly for those not interested in training for a spring race. It proved to be a terrific motivator to me to get out each morning and set my biological clock for better sleeping.
Why spend the winter months on a run streak? The cold dark season may not provide much inspiration to accomplish other more aggressive fitness goals, especially those involving the performance of consistent outdoor exercise. A streak is comprised of daily small victories that build to a larger one. Each effort contributes more than just one session to the achievement; missing a single day halts the trajectory toward successful completion. There's pressure to not interrupt progress.
In 2021 the idea seems even more appropriate as ‘work at home’ days seem to merge into one long monotonous stretch in which visits to the gym or studio may prohibited due to Covid-19 restrictions.
I think winter is the perfect time to lay down a challenge to adhere, either indoors, outdoors, or both locations, to an uncomplicated exercise program that doesn’t require a huge mental effort. Just commit every day and physically to ‘do’ that one activity! Walk or run, or spend a set time on a stationary bicycle, elliptical machine rowing machine, or stair stepper. If swimming is your thing, get in the pool daily (if you have access). Or promise yourself you’ll perform a mobility routine (MYRTL’s) each day. If push-ups are intimidating, do a handful (5) each day. Consider a one 1-minute plank session. You get the idea….
Start today, or set January 18, or 19, or 20 as DAY 1 if advance arrangements are required, and end with the equinox, March 20 (the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere and fall in the southern hemisphere) in 2021. That’s a 60 to 62-day streak!
If the life around you is complicated now, consider choosing this simple, no-brainer, streak challenge for what remains of the winter season. At it’s end, you’ll have accomplished at least one fitness goal if you stick with it.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 2 ‘SAINTS DAYS’ 2021 TRAINING PLAN STARTS TODAY.
RUN: This is the week you start to pick up the mileage a bit. Although it seems you are expected to run 10-minute miles ("run 35 min or 3.5 miles" translates mathematically to running 1 mile in 10 minutes), you can run at a slower or faster pace. Be sure to cover the scheduled mile distance, which will then extend over a longer time period if your pace is slower. Of course, if you are able to run comfortably at a faster pace, you will finish in less time.
The mid-week runs in this first month of training are intended to be easy and prepare you to cover the long runs at each week’s end, which will gradually increase in length. The goal is to be physically and mentally prepared to run the entire 13.1-mile race distance at the end of the 18-week duration plan.
There are no speed drills scheduled in this plan because it is for beginners, whose goal is to cross the finish line. The emphasis for beginners is on mentally and physically preparing to complete the entire distance rather than achieve a goal finish time or running a specific pace.
However, there will be an opportunity to work on increasing speed for those interested. In week 5 the schedule will post an option to add hill repeats added to slightly shorter Tuesday runs. Running hills helps to build leg strength, which translates to greater speed.
Another informal option (it won’t appear on the schedule) is to slowly develop a race day strategy by performing a simple progression run each Thursday. The run is roughly divided into two segments of equal distance. The first half distance is covered at an easy pace. The second half is covered at a slightly faster pace, such that it is finished in less time.
For example, if the initial 1.5 miles of a 3-mile run is run in 15 minutes, the second 1.5 miles distance should be finished in under 15 minutes.
Why use a progression run to train this early in training? There will be a post soon that discusses this topic.
WALK: CHECK OUT THE CORRECTED DATES ON THE EDITED WALK PLAN*! This week’s schedule is a repeat of Week 1, in which the long walk on the weekend is performed at an easy pace. Going forward, in Week 3 and the remainder of the training plan the pace will be brisk. Your goal should be to take 100 steps per minute while walking briskly. Work up to that speed if you can’t manage it now.
The High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions on Thursdays represent a form of speed drill, to help prepare you for a race day pace. During the high intensity intervals, aim to increase your pace above a brisk walk (more than 100 steps per minute). An upcoming blog post will discuss faster walking paces in greater detail.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*The dates had not been changed from 2020 to 2021, and that error has now been corrected on Parts 1 and
AN ARTICLE SURFACED IN THE online magazine runnersworld.com with a topic I cannot recall ever seeing before. Ever. “Maternal Running Gear Is Virtually Nonexistent. We Dug up Some of the Best Options” is a both a realistic appraisal of available gear and a statement about the sad lack of industry attention paid to expectant mothers.
Considering more recent media and advertising efforts to portray a broader range of body sizes to more accurately represent persons who are enthusiastic about fitness activities, it’s unbelievable that there hasn’t been a rush by companies to make and sell comfortable clothes for all body types. Especially for women. After all, women require extra upper body support and that extra piece of clothing, a sports bra, that most men don’t need. We naturally must buy more gear.
I’m not pregnant and don’t have an genuine belly ‘bump’. But I do appreciate a wide and comfortable yet supportive waistband on a sport bottom. It would be a relatively simple entry into this market for a company to make early pregnancy tights, shorts, pants for women in the first, second, and early third trimester. Items that would accommodate a small to medium bump at least.
Surely there are enough people in the developed world, in which obesity is said to be reaching epidemic proportions, that are waist-challenged and who need clothes with a customizable mid-section fit. After all, we need those types of garments if we are to commit to and persevere with physical fitness programs that contribute to improved health.
Possibly it’s not necessary to label such clothes as “maternity”; word might spread if key descriptors like “expandable, wide, supportive” were used in product write-ups.
The passion of previously pregnant author Heather Mayer Irvine is evident her writing, especially about personal experiences and the processes she employed to have clothing items evaluated by other women.
If you are not personally in need of maternity fitness wear, consider passing this article on to a running mother-to-be, or one that loves to exercise, who hopes to continue doing so as long as is healthy and safe.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 1 HALF MARATHON 2021 with SAINTS DAYS 5k and 10K Training Plan OFFICIALLY STARTS TODAY!
RUNNERS AND WALKERS are you ready to begin training? If so, commit to performing the pre-run hip girdle mobility (Myrtl’s) and flexibility (pre-run dynamic warm-ups or “DWarm-ups”) routines, post run stretches, and foam rolling work that is incorporated in this plan along with the days of running. Why? To stay heathy by preparing for and recovering from the mechanical stresses of training. Links to descriptions and demonstrations of the routines can be found on the RESOURCES page.
The STRENGTH training, aimed at helping to correct muscular imbalances and prevent injuries, can be simple. Check out the exercises that are available through links on the RESOURCES page. Although only one session is scheduled each week, you can add another, if desired. One lower body and one upper body plus core exercise sessions can be included each week rather than every other week if this is a usual practice or improved strength is a goal.
CROSS TRAINING can be incorporated into your training schedule on days you are not running or walking. The sessions are intended to help maintain base aerobic physical activity capacity and rest the legs to prevent overtraining. The idea of the plan is to focus on building running/walking endurance and some speed with progressively longer distances and HIIT workouts and saving best efforts for these sessions. Cross training should be conducted at moderate intensity levels.
The RESOURCES page has links to suggested routines for these workouts, a few include video demonstrations. Most trainers will say it’s good to mix up or rotate exercises, such that you never quite become comfortable performing them. You can also search online and find versions that differ from the tried and true classic exercises posted by Earned Runs. Many can be made easier or more difficult.
Even though balance exercises are not specifically worked into the program, improving balance is another injury prevention strategy. Any lower body exercise that can be performed with one leg will increase its difficulty level and also test balance, especially if it’s done standing. Variations that incorporate stability balls can also add balance work to many exercises. To avoid falls, especially if you feel unsteady, make sure you have nearby stable support structures while performing any single-leg or balance exercises.
In watching video demonstrations produced by trainers for young and fit athletes, like football players, there are cautions that even sport elites can be a bit unbalanced initially. A good example is walking lunges. If not performed for a couple weeks I notice a tendency to tip to one side when starting them again, especially when adding upper body rotation to this move.
Balance work can improve running and walking efficiency, so don’t shy away from single leg strength routines; you’ll get twice the benefit. A tip given to me by a physical therapist is to perform balance exercises after long runs, on tired legs. She said that being able to maintain proper running/walking form is essential when fatigue sets in; it’s at this point that we need the small steadying muscles of the body to keep us moving in an upright linear direction. Wobbling for miles on rubbery feeling legs because of weak hips or a tired core is a set-up for the development of soft tissue and joint problems.
CLASSIC LOWER BODY exercises that can be performed without extra weights include:
Lunges: forward, reverse, side/lateral, and forward with rotation
Bridges/hip raises: both feet on floor (easier), single leg (harder); on stability ball (harder)
Squats: front and split
Side leg raises: without (easier) or with a resistance band (harder)
Clamshells: without (easier) or with a resistance band (harder)
Resistance bands walks: lateral and “box” stepping
CLASSIC UPPER BODY exercises that can be performed without extra weights include:
Floor “Y’, “T”, “W” and “I” arm raises; done on stability ball (harder)
CLASSIC CORE/STABILITY exercises include:
Planks: prone, side-lying, supine; there are many easier/harder variations
Dead bugs: without (easier) and with a stability ball (harder)
Mountain climbers (variations)
One leg stand: harder on unsteady surfaces (folded towel, pillow, Bosu ball) or with closed eyes
Step downs: front, side, and back
Most other training plans will recommend similar supportive work on mobility, flexibility, balance, and strength, but actual routines WON’T BE LISTED ON THE DAILY/WEEKLY schedules. The importance to running of doing this work, will be included in the notes of these other plans, but mostly the details of when and how to incorporate this work into training regimens is left up to individuals. NOT SO WITH EARNED RUNS PLANS!
EARNED RUNS plans strongly EMPHASIZE the IMPORTANCE of this work to INJURY PREVENTION over the course of the training period by scheduling these components on specific days. However, you can customize the plan and change things up to meet your needs. For example, the "Dead Bug" is a safe and effective (abdominal and back) core exercise scheduled one day every week, but other exercises can be substituted for Dead Bugs and can be performed any on day of the week.
Good luck. Your 2021 training season officially begins.*
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
* If the date of your goal half marathon is a week or more later, start this plan later in the month.
THOSE WHO FIND IT DIFFICULT TO GUZZLE PURE UNADULTERATED WATER ALL DAY but want to maintain optimum body hydration should be aware that other fluids count toward a daily tally. Including caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea, potentially beer, and fluid in foods.
An article posted by SHAPE.com , "The Best Ways To Stay hydrated All Day Long", reminds readers that caffeinated beverages are not fully diuretic. Although the references for her figures are not provided, author Stephanie Dolgoff counts about half (4 oz. of 8 oz.) of the amount of coffee consumed as eligible for adding to a daily total. Not to say that clean fresh and especially cold water should be omitted, but coffee/tea drinkers can be assured that these beverages are not negatives when it comes to hydration.
Other popular online medical information sources, like MayoClinic.org and WebMD.com, discuss this topic and agree.
Although alcoholic beverages are mostly considered diuretics, a linked article explains the conditions in which a post-exercise/run beer might be an exception!
The SHAPE.com article also discusses food as a source of fluid and many other aspects of hydration, including over-hydration risks, when it comes to fitness.
Consider reviewing the points Dolgoff makes as the new fitness year begins. There’s encouragement to imbibe water and other beverages for better looking skin; hydrated hyaluronic acid (HA) in skin absorbs “water” which gives it some of its “elasticity and vibrancy” says the referenced expert.
Athletes should remember that joint synovial fluid and cartilage are also rich in HA and benefit from optimum hydration, another reason to keep an eye on fluid intake.
Count me as a runner who is delighted to add my regular intake of several cups of coffee and an occasion beer to optimum daily totals. Meeting this mark contributes to my feeling of success at achieving health goals in 2021 and motivates working to hit other fitness marks as well.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
HALF MARATHON 2021 WITH ‘SAINTS DAYS’ 5K & 10K RACES TRAINING PLANS FOR RUNNERS AND WALKERS WILL START ON JANUARY 10.
DRAFTS OF PLANS, PARTS 1 & 2, ARE NOW AVAILABLE at the end of this post and on the RESOURCES PAGE. Check them out if you are considering taking on this endurance distance race challenge. Each plan prepares you first for a 5k race that would be scheduled in mid-February, near February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, and in mid-March near March 17, St Patrick’s Day. After Week 10 the training will concentrate on the Half Marathon
Runners and walkers can train all the way to May. Alternately, some may decide to follow the programs only for WEEKS 1-10, and not continue with training after finishing the March 10K race. This strategy is perfectly acceptable and will prepare you to compete in events that are normally celebrated with fun weekends in the middle to late winter months!
Disciplined training for these shorter distance races in relatively close succession can help you get through these oftentimes dreary winter weeks and to maintain decent fitness levels. Do not feel you need to extend training through the May end date. Use these plans to survive January, February, and March and then move on to other training if completing a half marathon is not a goal challenge.
In 2021, restrictions related to COVID-19 prevention are likely to still be in place however, and personal or virtual events will be the choices for participation. Mastering these endurance distance aerobic challenges in small groups or solo can still be rewarding and fun.
The work of planning each day’s physical fitness activities for 10 weeks will have been done for you by these separate RUN and WALK programs. And each plan attempts to provide safe training that also emphasizes strength training and includes mobility work, some cross training opportunities, and recovery periods.
See you January 10, 2021.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
HALF MARATHON 2021 Earned Runs Training Plan with ‘SAINTS DAYS’ 5K & 10K races
RUN Part 1 pdf: Weeks 1-10; January 10 to March 20
RUN Part 2 pdf: Weeks 9-18; March 9 to May 15
WALK Part 1 pdf: Weeks 1-10; January 10 to March 20
WALK Part 2 pdf: Weeks 9-18; March 9 to May 15
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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