UPDATED from November 23, 2016 and again March 1, 2017.
BEFORE RACE TRAINING BEGINS give a glance to an article that may change the way you think about preparing to compete and arrange workout sessions. It's the “The 25 Golden Rules of Running: Time Tested, Universally Accepted Axioms of the Sport” by Bob Cooper.
The article from runnersworld.com provides the veteran advice that is otherwise hard to come by in concise form. This one item packs nearly everything runners must consider to be successful in their sport. Success, for me, has meant making it to personal milestone events without injury, performing as expected based on training, taking pride in goal accomplishments, and enjoying myself. I’ve learned them one at a time by reading, through advice handed down from trainers or other runners, or with tough personal experience. I've also learned that all rules may not apply to my situation, and not to worry if they don't.
Here they are, all together. Possibly the wisdom of each rule (and the exceptions) won’t be fully recognized by those of you who are new to the sport until the issues present themselves later in your running careers. So print and keep this gem of an article in your “files”; (gym bag, refrigerator, locker, etc.).
The very first one, the Specificity Rule, is one that could easily be ignored; I have been guilty: to train effectively some of your workouts must ‘mimic’ the specific event for which you are preparing and the specific finish time to hope to achieve. This means running at goal pace for a portion of your training. The conditions expected at the goal competition should also be taken into account.
The rule’s explanation does not provide an exact meaning, but it seems reasonable that if you anticipate racing in extreme heat or cold, over hills, or on a slippery surface, you should be training at least some of the time in the same environment. This can be difficult if it’s a long distance race that is months away, and is scheduled in a season, climate, or geographically dissimilar location from your training program.
You must manage expectations accordingly. A typical half marathon training plan extends over 12-16 or more weeks. Starting to train immediately for a race 4-5 months away may not allow you to train with "specificity". It’s possible that scheduling a long distance goal event much later in the year (or even the next year) would better fit the circumstances under which you expect to train. Before training for the goal race is due to begin, scheduling and training for shorter distance events in the interim may help fill the time gap and keep interest and motivation at high levels.
Thus, it’s helpful to plan a running YEAR such that all competitions help to prepare you for the big race in which it’s most important for you to shine. Your RACE YEAR needn’t start January 1; it could start this September 2018 if you are aiming to run a first TURKEY TROT on Thanksgiving day or participate in a half marathon event race in January 2019.
This kind of long range planning will seem seem crazy if you haven't identified a specific goal race; hence the name, “Specificity Rule”. However, a year-long plan can help those with a busy family and/or work life coordinate training plans and competitions with children’s sport seasons, weddings, conferences, vacations, reunions, and business trips. You don't need to have a specific goal race date to benefit from developing a year-long program.
Sure, there will be some unexpected occurrences that threaten to wreck a program calendar, but with long range planning you will be able to put things in proper perspective and find a way to enjoy all of life, not just a sport. The addition of a few days, or even weeks, of wiggle room to training schedules can be a stress-busting move.
Here are the 25 rules in the list; obviously you must read the article to reap the benefit of each golden nugget of wisdom. Keep in mind that individual situations and new information may require that rules be challenged.*
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*Just recently the wisdom of the "10% rule" (#2) was questioned by Jeff Gaudette.
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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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