SEVERAL WEEKENDS AGO I WALKED/RAN THE 13.1 MILES I HAD PLANNED TO COVER IN AN EVENT ON APRIL 4, USING A PERSONALIZED VERSION of the Earned Runs Half Marathon 2020 with ‘Saints Days’ Walker Training Plan. I had adapted the Walker program to accommodate an intent to cover the distance alternating mostly walking with some running instead of just walking. Last weekend I realized I had gotten far ahead of the walker schedule and my own personal run/walk plan schedule too, possibly because it felt so much easier to crank out weekly long sessions with this mix of locomotion types.
Incredibly I was discovering that walking/running was much less difficult for me than only walking or only running! It was an entirely unexpected revelation that my knees, legs, core, and arms felt less fatigued, stiff, and sore when I was able to run part of each mile instead of just walking.
From previous experiences training to run half marathons competitively, with the goal of finishing in the top three places in my age group, I knew only running was likely to increase the risk of a sidelining injury. Walk/run training not only felt better, it was a smarter way to train. I was running slowly, but still moving with one foot hitting the ground surface at a time.
Weirdly, this body-knowledge escaped my attention until about 3 weeks ago, when it hit me that I had been reading the program’s schedule incorrectly and had jumped ahead by about 3-4 weeks. I had been covering roughly 4-5 more miles than recommended by the plan yet wasn’t physically wasted afterward!
The next Monday, after checking the upcoming workouts, I decided to keep going on the accelerated schedule, thinking I might train to compete sooner in a personal race than wait to do so in the April half marathon with other participants. Shortly thereafter, when coronavirus infections in the US hit the level to be qualified as an outbreak, it seemed increasingly likely that either I would decide not to put myself at risk by mingling with race day crowds in a large city event, or the organizers would cancel the race.
I resolved at that point to be ready early and go it alone in a personal half marathon, shooting for a goal pace of 16-minute miles or less, as required by the rules of most distance races.
Warmer than normal weather, sunny days, and the absence of snow boosted each long outdoor effort the next several weekends. The result was an early completion of my goal race about a month ahead of schedule on a lovely Saturday morning with birds singing under a clear sapphire sky. My average pace was 14:03 minutes per mile. Success!
I plan to continue with weekly long walk/run sessions through March and April, probably increasing long session mileage based on ‘feel’. If there’s no extreme fatigue, soreness, or pain associated afterward, both the day of and the day after long days, I’ll persevere and see where the training takes me.
It’s a disappointment not to be competing in the April Chicago-area half marathon, but by walk/running my own race the situation has been saved from being a total bust. Especially as the race ultimately was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. I did not lose the race fee because I hadn’t yet paid. Also, I was not prevented from testing myself and my months of training.
Perhaps I’ll attempt to stay at a readiness level that allows competing later in the season, when the viral outbreak is, hopefully, under control. From past years, for me this has meant maintain each week’s long session mileage in the range of 9-11 miles.
Beginners who are following the run and walk programs should continue as scheduled and not speed up as I did. I was about 2 weeks ahead of the walk plan when I began to train in January, and at an intermediate to advanced level of physical training when I began to combine walking and running.
However, you might consider the walk/run form of training for your next race.
The annual 10-nautical-mile distance Fort2Base Race (about 11.5 miles) held in late August in North Chicago, IL, offers run/walk training plans with either 4 minutes running/2 minutes walking or 3 minutes running/2 minutes walking. Like me you can customize these schedules to run according to feel. My intervals are about 3 minutes running/ 3 minutes walking. Additional information on the 2020 event on August 23 will be posted as more details become available in a future post. The race website is being moved and will be back up ‘running’ according to contact Beth Salinger.
Enjoy spring training, it’s almost here!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
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.
New! Search Box
Earned Runs is now searchable! Check it out...