Runners, finally, on the last day of Week 14 training you proved you have what it takes to run 13 miles! But you’ll run it easy, with stops as needed. Walkers, you did it at the end of Week 15. Both groups are essentially ready to go the distance in competition now.
These plans extend for 18 rather than 16 weeks to allow safe preparation, include a generous taper, and provide a little wiggle room to allow for minor training setbacks or other circumstances that prevent continuous training according to plan. The Earned Runs programs initial intention was to bring runners and walkers to their organized half marathon events’ starting lines in late April through mid-May.
However, because of COVID-19 pandemic precautions continuing from 2020 into 2021, many half marathons are likely to again be postponed, cancelled, or converted to virtual format. There may be no need to taper through week 17 or 18! The taper is built into the schedule to help prevent injury and to boost performance under actual race conditions. If your race is personal or aimed at achieving a ‘soft’ record, there’s no reason to put it off.
On the third Monday in April, the 19th of 2021, we should have been able to enjoy TV coverage of the 125th Boston Marathon. [It has again been re-scheduled in the fall and will take place on October 11.] Earned Runs usually advises runners to watch TV coverage and take note of the leaders’ running forms.
Their heads would have been up, chests out, torsos tall and erect, shoulders loose and down, with elbows rhythmically pulled back. If it was possible to count the number of steps taken per 15 seconds (multiply by 4 to get steps/minute) to calculate cadence, you might have counted a number greater than 180, possibly up to 200.
You would have had a chance to compare your form with that of the elites.
When I had been advised to do this by a trainer to correct my form, I scoffed at the idea. I wasn’t an elite, was my thinking, so why run like one? I am a plodder, with a pace about 2.5 times greater than the best in the world. It would be pretentious!
But I followed the advice and started to check out running form on all images, including magazine covers, ads, and online articles. All the pros displayed similar form. Athletes who dedicate their efforts 24/7 to being the best runners in the world and building professional running careers that span decades don’t adopt a certain form to look pretty in pictures; they do it to be fast and prevent sidelining injuries. I wanted to be fast and avoid injuries too, so tried to model my form on that of the elites, just like Coach instructed.
There are other components to good form running. See the chart from New Balance on the RESOURCES page to refresh your memory. The secret to maintaining it throughout a long run is to build core, upper body, hip, leg and strength in training. The form for walking fast, but not race walking, is somewhat similar.
I find that the greatest source of fatigue at the end of 13.1 miles comes from having a tired back, core, and arms. Which means there’s more work to do to become stronger in these areas.
An additional benefit is that this work will translate into a more athletic posture.
Those who counted on competing in an organized long-distance event, now postponed or cancelled, have been given extra time to work on strength, posture, and form. Summer and fall will hopefully bring an end to COVID-19 confinement, and perhaps we all will be stronger and better prepared to experience the joy of competing.
Congratulations on finishing 13 miles!
There’s not much to do this week, as you are on the glide path to your half marathon race. Don’t overdo the long run at the end of the week. You want to be prepared and fresh for the race.
An extra foam rolling session is scheduled next week for runners and walkers, but either/both can add extra sessions anytime. It can be a full or an abbreviated session. Use it to roll out sore and stiff spots any day of the week.
If you are tempted to introduce new nutrition, shoes, gear, or apparel into your race preparations, be careful. Most experts would advise against making changes. There isn’t much time to truly test a new fuel strategy. Also, the runs/walks are not as demanding as earlier in the plan and can’t serve as adequate trials of new food or gear items for use on race day.
New spring fashion upgrades can serve as zero-calorie rewards for following through on your commitment to train and finish a goal race! Enjoy them AFTER crossing the finish line.
If you have not yet found an organized virtual race to run or walk, or plans have collapsed, consider pinning on an Earned Runs bib to be sure you meet the challenge of running or walking the half marathon for which you trained. Don’t let circumstances deter you from reaching your goal race! Request a set of bibs today to keep one in reserve, “just in case”.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 12: Runners and walkers, your long-distance workout extended into double digits last week (week 12), and next two-three long runs will build to a peak at week 14 for runners and week 15 for walkers when you will cover the longest distances of your training plans Can you believe yourself? Wow! This calls for a celebration - AND A FOAM ROLL.
You might consider performing an abbreviated foam rolling session on the areas that tend to bother you BEFORE running or walking, and a full session afterward. You can foam roll the next day as well, if still feeling a bit sore.
The bit of advice about pre-run foam rolling was provided by a trainer who at the time, was coaching a championship high school cross country team. Tim Broe now heads training at Saucony™ shoes company's Freedom Track Club, which is dedicated to developing Olympic running hopefuls. Pre-session foam rolling is not a practice prescribed only for oldsters or newbies.
Congratulations for all the progress made this far.
WEEK 13: Runners: your long run this week is the distance that some half marathon plans stop: 12 miles. Walker plans often stop at 10 miles.
Both Earned Runs plans have you going farther.
The why of this training tactic requires the telling of a bit of personal history.
Because of a sudden change in late September 2012 weather that brought dangerous conditions including downpours of cold rain, showers of hail, thunder, lightning, and high winds, officials closed the very first half marathon in which I participated.
The decision had been made mid-race for me, which meant the fleetest of the lead group were nearing the finish line and shelter of the gathering space church auditorium. I found myself being encouraged by race personnel to stop and leave the course, roughly at the 6.5-mile mark, the farthest possible point from my car, safety, and warm dry clothes. I was determined to finish, not to call for help and a ride.
In spite of beautiful and mild weather conditions pre-race, I had had a tiny fear that I might not make it to the finish line. My confidence received a small boost upon overhearing other first-time half marathoners, next to me in the starting chute, worry about their training. They had covered 12 miles on their longest training run, as instructed by a trainer but weren't sure of that last 1.1 miles. I had accomplished the exact distance, 13.1 miles and then tapered 2 weeks.
I didn’t ever learn their finish time or in what physical condition they were at the race’s end, or whether the 12-mile prep strategy worked for them in such terrible weather. However, I felt that my resolve to push through to the cold, wet finish had been cemented by that 13.1- mile training experience. I had done it before and could do it again, I knew.
Unfortunately, official times weren't recorded for me or any other finishers after the race was called. But the ordeal was so memorable for everyone involved that in addition to the official half marathon race shirt the next year, an additional ‘survivor’ t-shirt was also made available, marking that event. Indeed, we were proud survivors!
Thus, the Earned Runs plans have runners and walkers reaching 13 miles and then tapering for a couple weeks. Those who wish to make it exactly 13.1 miles, for mental training, go for it! If your race date is a week earlier, shorten your taper by one week.
So, you’ll keep on keeping on with the Earned Runs plans in order to hopefully acquire both mental and physical insurance that finishing your race is entirely possible, especially if the going gets tough on race day.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
See the RESOURCES page for FOAM ROLLING links, including "5 Minute Warm-up With A Foam Roller " by Shane Barnard for Under Armor's MyFitnessPal.com.
WEEK 10 HALF MARATHON 2020 Training Plan You officially entered the second half of the plan during the 10th week. Congratulations for making it this far! There are no more ‘tune-up’ races after the completion of a St. Patrick’s Day-themed 10K event. You are now looking ahead toward your goal half marathon event.
Remember it’s especially important to foam roll before, after, or before AND after covering high mileage workouts, and perform the other warm-up and cool-down routines. Continue with strength work to prevent injury and help improve endurance.
Hopefully, if you were outdoors during the long run of WEEK 10 this past weekend you took note and were able to enjoy the first day of Spring on March 20. The songbirds may be starting to return to your region. I was amazed to hear a few scattered sweet tunes over a month ago. Over the following weeks there have been increasingly more tweeting and chirping bird voices especially just before dawn.
For me, having the silence of winter broken in this way is reason to rejoice and motivation to get out before or just after daybreak. Consider foregoing listening to music playlists to enjoy this special spring and summer experience.
[*NOTE: to learn more about birdsong, Birdwatchersdigest.com has a free download that may be helpful.
WEEK 11 HALF MARATHON 2021 TRAINING PLAN You should be settling into a rhythm by now, but you’ll notice a few changes on the horizon.
The WALK schedule includes the usual 1 short ‘easy’ walk + 2 longer ‘easy’ walks + 1 long ‘brisk’ walk. The 1 high intensity interval training (HIIT) on Thursdays is now bumped to a duration of 36 minutes. The option of a hill repeat isn’t provided after WEEK 12. It disappears in April, replaced by walks of same then decreasing duration as the long weekend walks increase to distances above 10 miles. After hitting 13 miles on April 24, the taper will begin.
IMPORTANT WALKER NOTE: If you are planning to cover the 13.1-mile half marathon distance just to finish in a custom solo personal race, you can treat April 24 as your official event day and be done with training!
If you’re registered for an organized event later in April or May, you may wish to continue to build mileage then follow the taper. The Earned Runs plan adapts (extends) a Hal Higdon program that stops at 10 miles in 12 weeks.
Rather than stopping at 10 miles, the Earned Runs (ER) plan is taking competition-minded walkers out to the actual distance. To gain confidence from surviving the full distance, but at a slower pace. In training you’ll be walking more easily with breaks and stops as needed. On race day, in the company of other competitors, ER thinks you’ll push yourself to a higher intensity, and for safety reasons to possibly avoid injury, is offering the opportunity to train the actual distance. However, this strategy is not based on the advice of an expert or another plan; information could not be found that supports or refutes it.
The RUN schedule includes 1 recovery walk + 3 shorter distance runs + 1 long run, each week. The types of shorter distance runs have not been specified up to this point, although 1 hill repeat session has been offered as an option on Tuesdays. Starting week 13 there will be an option of a tempo run on Thursdays.
However, runners can individualize one or both (hills and/or tempo) sessions now that all work is focused on the half marathon, as explained after this next paragraph in italics.
Remember, this plan is for beginners or those getting back into running races who did not have one available to them for this distance. Advanced runners who wish to increase their speed to a faster pace and finish with an improved time will have scanned this plan and likely realized it was not going to help with that. They will have likely used a plan provided by event organizers if formally registered for a race or found one online that promised to prepare runners for their “best finish time ever.”
Beginners can choose to run hill repeats on Tuesdays or run an easy steady continuous speed run that day. They have 3 options (see below) for running the shorter distance session on Thursday. Option #1 is for runners who only wish to “finish” the 13.1mile distance and are not concerned with time. Option #2 is for those who wish to finish strong but aren’t focused on gaining speed. Option #3 is for runners who wish to push their limits a bit more and test themselves in the upcoming event.
Jenny Hadfield offers 4 tempo runs for runners who are new to them in an article for Runnersworld.com, “Four Tempo Workouts for Runners”. Included are warm-ups and cool-downs, which are a must! You are roughly running 2-4 miles, because the exact distance will vary by running pace. With increased running intensity in certain segments, the swap with a 3-mile run would be fine, and suitable for the Thursday 3-mile run, especially if you're not running a hill repeat on Tuesdays.
Have fun experimenting with these shorter runs soon. There’s enough time now, before the race, to try the negative split, the tempo run, or both, and revert to the old comfortable routine if the change-up doesn’t work for you.
RUNNERS and WALKERS, recognize the progress you've made and be proud.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*MOST ORGANIZED RUNS WILL STILL BE VIRTUAL IN SPRING 2021. HOWEVER, IF YOU HAVE REGISTERED FOR AN IN-PERSON ORGANIZED EVENT, read on:
If you are new to racing, the Jenny Hadfield “high-five” tempo workout listed first might help you deal with one aspect of competition, the speed-ups and slow-downs normally experienced in a race if you’re not a leader at the head of the pack. For example, in a competition you occasionally might wish to speed up and pass a group that has slowed down in front of you, then dial it back a bit after the harder work. Or tackle a long, low hill that requires more effort, after which you take a little breather by easing up.
When you are training by yourself or with friends you or they control the pace. In a competition with many other participants, you and your running partners will not always be in control as others surge or fall off their pace around you, which will prevent movement in a familiar straight-line direction. If not ready for it mentally and physically, it could throw off your race plan.
WEEK 9 HALF SAINTS DAYS 5K & 10K Training Plan Starts
The fun continues this week if you are anticipating running or walking the 'tune-up' St. Patrick’s Day 10K scheduled in each of the running and walking plans. Last week’s post discussed how this shorter distance race fits into your half marathon training. By the way, you can find this week's schedule on both Part 1 and Part 2, which overlap a couple weeks to allow visualization of the previous training weeks once part 2 is officially entered, after the 10k 'tune-up' race.
This post will be about the fun of the holiday! Did you know the Irish in North America may have been responsible for the first St. Patrick’s Day parade? Bostonians take credit for an event on March 17, 1737 as a “gesture of solidarity among the city’s new Irish immigrants”, to “honor the memory of the beloved Patron Saint of Ireland”, according to information on the South Boston parade website.
However, a History.com item indicates that the first recorded parade took place on March 17 in New York City, commemorating the anniversary of the Saint’s death on that date in 461. Irish soldiers serving in the British army there had the idea of marching through the streets in 1762 to celebrate the holiday.
Wikipedia.com informs that new research has revealed the world’s first parade took place in the Spanish Colony of St. Augustine, Florida in 1601!
Regardless of the city in which the practice of organizing this parade originated, history.com says it all started because “early Irish settlers to the American colonies, many of whom were indentured servants, brought the Irish tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s feast day to America.”
In their home country, the Irish had observed this day as a religious holiday. They attended church services in the morning and then spent the afternoon enjoying food and drink. In the New World the feast day seems to have begun with festivities rather than church services. History.com says that, over the years, parades eventually became “a popular celebration of Irish-American heritage”.
And here we are now, with a recent history of using the celebration as an opportunity to run and walk in races, often times wearing crazy green or Irish-themed apparel! Until the Covid-19 pandemic closed everything down in 2020, that is. Enjoy your readiness to compete with yourself, a small group, or virtually on this day, earned by hard work and perseverance. Even if the raucous experience of joining a crowd on a fun course may not be possible this year as well, the day can be one of accomplishment and satisfaction. And it can be a day of hope that more ‘normal’ times are withing sight.
If your event has been cancelled due to coronavirus infection concerns, commit to running or walking it as a personal race of your own design. Don’t let circumstances out of your control derail your opportunity to train with this tune-up race.
Get your green on and celebrate the unofficial start of the spring race season.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
MY EMAIL BOX IS FILLED WITH UPDATES FROM DAILY AND WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS THAT PROVIDE INFORMATION, ADVICE, SCIENTIFIC INSIGHTS, AND NOTICES RELATED TO RUNNING, FITNESS AND EXERCISE. The headline article which is partly revealed in the subject line sometimes doesn’t have a topic that excites my interest and there’s the temptation to delete the item without opening it.
Experience cautions that a particularly valuable piece might also be contained in the email, and to find buried treasure in the inbox, each one needs to be checked out in full. It’s so much easier to clean without regard to what might be tossed out, but a more careful examination has sometimes yielded a hidden gem. Below are links to several that I discovered this past week.
Physical therapist from Hospital for Special Surgery promotes recovery days: https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/workout-recovery-myths-tips-according-exercise-physiologist?
Quick discussion about time intermittent fasting for runners:
Amanda Brooks talks up walking:
You might see this type of blog post again every so often. I’ve abandoned long posts for the most part because the work of composing these pieces keeps me sitting and thinking and not moving and doing, an unhealthy practice.
Check them out.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 8 HALF MARATHON 2020 with SAINTS DAYS 5k &10K TRAINING PLAN STARTS!
At the end of this week a few of you may planning to run or walk a very early St. Patrick’s Day-themed 10K RACE. Most will run later, on the March 13-14 and a few March 20-21 weekends.
If the 10K is your GOAL race (you DO NOT plan to continue training for a half marathon) you may be running or walking to just to cross the finish line, or possibly to complete it in a specific length of time. As indicated many times previously (but it’s worth repeating), the EARNED RUNS ‘Saints Days’ walking and running plans do not aim to prepare trainees for speed, especially a personal record (PR), but once you’ve recorded one 10K finish time, a PR is a goal you will be able to consider in a future competition!
As a first time 10K runner, back in 1979, I had no race strategy and no idea one would be needed. I had not looked at the course map. I suffered that late August, 95 degree, sunny, and humid day, and nearly developed heat exhaustion.
A race strategy needn’t be complicated.
One that many runners follow to insure they will not quit mid-race but finish in good form is to resolve to start it comfortably slow and end it with their best effort. The plan is to hold back initially, pick up speed gradually, sustain an increased effort for miles 4 and 5, and dig deeper for the final 1-1.25 miles. Attempt to cover the second half of the race distance, just after passing the mile 3 marker, in less time than it took to complete the first half. This type of pacing is referred to as a ‘negative split’.
The benefit of starting at a slower than normal pace, in spite of other runners/walkers enthusiastically passing by on either side, is a strong finish. As you pick up speed in the last half of the race, you’re likely to be moving past some, possibly many of these same people. The strategy has worked for me in both walk and run events. I wish I had known about it in 1979.
Those who are training to run, run/walk, or walk the HALF MARATHON later in the spring, will treat this 10K as a ‘tune-up’ event rather than a goal race. You’ll plan to hold back a bit, maintain a steady pace, and not push hard with an all-out effort at the finish. For this reason, there wasn’t a scheduled taper or a ‘peak’ for this distance.
If you don’t remember the BLOG post that introduced the running and walking plans and explained the concept of training or “tune-up” races (linked to an online Runner’s World article) you might check it out. There was a similar discussion in advance of the 5k St. Valentine’s Day tune-up race as well.
The advice given in that article was to run the ‘tune-up’ 10K evenly all the way through, finishing as if you felt you could have run faster. This race is about gently testing yourself before the half marathon. It provides you with a ‘practice’ race that should build confidence. In other words, easy-does-it, especially at the start. Don’t blast out of the gate and wither before the end.
Also, there’s a piece by Kelly O'Mara posted by PodiumRunner.com that provides more explanation.
Those not racing for a few weeks might begin to think about a race strategy and practice it mentally as you run or walk the end-of-the-week long runs.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BIBS ARE GOING OUT! It has been a rough start to the new year. At last, fresh bibs with a bit of hopeful green color are being mailed. The athletic competition stripe is a bit different design that may inspire and motivate challenges throughout the year.
RUN AND MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 7 HALF MARATHON 2021 with ‘SAINTS DAYS’ Training Plan Starts
The month of February ends this upcoming Sunday, with March 1 falling on a Monday. That’s progress! Runners, congratulate yourself on reaching the point at which the long run at week’s end (6.5 miles) surpasses the distance you’ll be racing in a St. Patrick’s Day 10K (6.25 miles). Walkers will cover 6 miles for the second consecutive week, just shy of the actual race distance, and can feel even more accomplished.
If you have not been running or walking hill repeats, consider trying this workout option (Tuesdays) as spring weather commences. It will add variety and help build strength and speed without formal speed drills.
There's only one 'Saints' Day' tune-up race to complete in the upcoming month of March before the focus changes. After this benchmark accomplishment you will only be concentrating on preparing for the half marathon.
Part 2 of each training plan begins with week 9. The plans overlap a few weeks so you can follow Part 1 though week 10 or decide to ‘turn the page’ to Part 2 and feel the excitement of being on the last half of the 18-week program.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
The full plans are on the RESOURCES page
HALF MARATHON 2021 WITH ‘SAINTS DAYS’ 5K &10K TRAINING It’s unlikely that an organized race with a St. Valentine’s Day theme, even if virtual, will be scheduled on the upcoming weekend February 21-22. So, everyone is likely to be looking ahead to training for the ‘SAINTS DAYS’ 10K competition in mid-March.
Although the actual holiday date is mid-week, on Wednesday March 17, St. Patrick’s Day-themed races might be scheduled on the bookend weekends of March 13-14 and March 20-21. Virtual events, like Chicago’s 2021 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K will tend to allow registrants to complete their races over several days to a week. Shamrock Shuffle participants will officially be competing March 19-21, choosing from a “variety” of distances including the traditional 8K, The Mile, or a 2-mile walk.
For those not running/walking a St Valentine’s 5K this Saturday, the long run is 6-miles and the walk is 4 miles. Going forward, you will be building endurance to allow finishing the 10K, 6.1- mile race distance next month with confidence.
How exciting; for most trainees one Saint's Day goal race finish has been recorded with only one more to go before the ultimate target, the half marathon.
Occasional posts in past years have suggested cross training options. The RUN plan does not formally schedule a cross training day. The WALK Earned Runs plan suggests Mondays, and this could work for runners too, depending on your usual level of activity and need for recovery. Each individual must determine whether to cross train, and how to do so without adversely affecting running/walking days.
You may find that a moderately paced swimming session provides a pleasant level of tiredness, or that a short high-intensity interval cycling or rowing session invigorates your next run. An article in runnersworld.com features the "unconventional" training program of an elite runner, Ann Mazur who qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Team Trials by running less and swimming more (much, much more), plus continuing with another leg-saving specialty activity, yoga.
Experiment to learn what helps you to perform best physically and mentally. Although the RUN plan has 4 running days, one day could be substituted with cross-training to spare your legs. However, be sure to keep the long run sessions and the hills’ sessions (if you are comfortably able to perform them). Walkers should try to maintain the long walk and one HIIT walk session and can substitute cross training for 1 or 2 of the other walk sessions.
It's been unseasonably cold in the USA these past couple weeks, with some areas of the country experiencing rare heavy snowfalls. Getting outside for exercise might be difficult or dangerous, and an indoor (non-treadmill) workout on an elliptical, stationary bike, or rower might be best for safely persevering with training.
Swapping a run or walk with strength training might also be a great way to prevent injuries. It’s about this time of year that I tend to develop pains and strains after slipping and sliding on snow- or ice-covered roads, trying to maintain a pace that’s more appropriate for dry conditions. Building strength in muscles that help us keep our balance now will generate benefits in the spring when the training plan’s weekly mileage will increase.
Don’t despair if the weather outdoors is frightful. Planks and other bodyweight resistance training moves will nearly always be a wise alternative to unsafe running or walking sessions outdoors.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
HALF MARATHON 2021 TRAINING STARTS. St. Valentine’s Day is Sunday! The true holiday or preceding Saturday may be the actual date some of you will be running the first of the two ‘SAINT’S DAYS’ races, the 5K. Virtual or personal, custom-designed competitions will allow a range of days.
Regardless of race day, congratulations on completing training up to this point!
Check out the article by Pete Magill about Tune-Up races that was discussed in the original blog post on the topic. The referenced expert, Paul Aufdemberge, explains the way to approach this race. ”Since it’s not a goal race, you should feel like you ran fairly evenly all the way through. You should feel like you could have run faster. You don’t want to charge out and die”. The purpose of a goal race is to build confidence.
If you don’t complete a 5K, stick with the plan as it builds up mileage and get in a long slow 6-mile run or brisk 5-mile walk on Saturday.
Stretch and roll afterwards and look forward to the next goal in your plan, the 10K that will be scheduled on or near the March 17 St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Hopefully if you have been paying attention to building strength, improving balance, and increasing speed in the last half of your long runs/walks, you will notice fresher legs, and achieve a strong finish.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
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
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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