CHECK OUT THE DRAFTS of the beginner running and walking plans for this year, designed to help first-time runners and walkers prepare to participate in one of the many Thanksgiving Day events to be held across the USA. Not much has changed from 2018. As before, runners have the option of training on a track one day a week.
Earned Runs TURKEY TROT 2019 RUN PLAN
Earned Runs TURKEY TROT 2019 WALK PLAN
The first day of training is Sunday September 16, 2019, one week from today. A preview of the daily workouts may help some make the decision to start training early with either of these 10+week programs. The running plan was adapted from one developed by Mario Fraioli for Competitor.com. The walker plan was adapted from those offered free online by Hal Higdon.
The fact that Fraioli ‘s 5K running plan had a track day scheduled each week was one of the reasons it was selected by Earned Runs for beginners. The TRACK DAY option provides motivation to investigate where to find a regulation track and take advantage of the potential benefits to be gained from feeling comfortable using one to train. The following is an updated explanation for this choice that was initially posted in 2017.
“Why TRACK DAYS?”
A TRACK IS A TYPE OF FITNESS EQUIPMENT
It's more than a facility. Many beginner or would-be runners may not have ever run, trained, or walked on a standard track. They may not know where the nearest or most accessible high school, college, or community facility is located. It may seem to be a training facility that is off bounds to them, and more appropriately used by younger or more ‘serious’ athletes, who are fast, highly competitive, and in top physical shape. I believed this until 2014.
The TRACK DAY option provides motivation to investigate where to find a regulation track and take advantage of the potential benefits to be gained from feeling comfortable using one to train.
In my experience as a recreational walker and runner, there are three characteristics that make a track a standard piece of equipment that all runners and walkers should learn to use, and consider a training ‘home’.
A track is MEASURED, SAFE, and ATHLETIC.
Specific distance assignments in a plan can be difficult to mentally assess for those accustomed to ‘just running’ rather than training, especially shorter rather than longer stretches. A car can be used to chart a road course in miles, and a mobile device app to determine shorter distances, but it’s not always easy to be precise with these lesser distances on paths or trails. Marking precise distances by these methods is problematic too, as rarely are there memorable physical features at exact points to help runners visually recall the start and end of a set distance. (“Which tree marks 400 meters?”). If a training plan calls for varying distances the measurement difficulties are compounded.
A standard track lap or fraction of a lap is a limited distance that looks the same every time you cover it. Memorizing a series of landmarks isn’t required to determine the exact distance run or walked. Mentally it’s nearly effortless to use.
The track’s straight lengths are easily distinguished from the curved ends. The time it takes to cover specific distances is relatively easy to measure with a clock function on a watch or a phone app. Using a track regularly for training may help your body to develop ‘memory’ for different distances too.
Safety is a life quality that has several dimensions. A running SURFACE can be more or less safe from an injury prevention perspective, especially when workouts will be performed at higher speeds or in adverse weather conditions. A standard running track tends to be even, consistent, textured, slightly cushioned, and appropriately drained. A surface designed specifically for competition is more likely than others to be safe for running faster-paced, precise intervals.
A running course can be more or less safe to run or walk from a weather perspective, especially when conditions are extreme or are expected to change over the duration of a single workout. Running or walking multiple loops of a street course has been my preferred approach on such days. Support items can be made available, in a nearby parked car.
On extreme weather days in which the air might be hotter, colder, windier, or wetter than is desirable for performance or health, a track may beat a street loop-course because hydrating fluids, nutrition, and dry, cooling, or warming clothes can be stowed in a bag and left in full view at the edge of the track or on bleacher seats, only a single lap away.
When a runner/walker is uncertain about being able to complete a given workout in its entirety, especially if longer or more difficult than previously experienced, the track can be a great place to safely test limits of endurance.
Personal safety is another concern of outdoor runners and walkers. On a track there is less likelihood of incurring bodily harm from traffic accidents caused by faster moving vehicles on busy city streets or related to low-light conditions. Isolated paths or suburban and country roads are places where expectations of receiving timely assistance from passers-by should be low in cases of emergency. A track can be a top safety choice. However, tracks with poor lighting or in locations out of sight of others, or in high crime areas would not. Check-out the active.com article by Lauren Hargrave, which provides personal safety tips for runners.
Performing a workout on a track is one way for beginners to feel and act like the athletes they aspire to become. Acquiring this mental attitude will help a runner persevere in the tougher training regimens and possibly adopt healthier eating and sleeping habits.
The track is also a user-friendly place to perform pre-run dynamic stretching and mobility routines and to get in post-run static stretches as well as recommended body-weight strength exercises (step-ups and step-downs, dips and push-ups, etc) on benches and stairs. Holding oneself to the rule that you cannot start the running portion of the workout or depart from the premises before completing necessary routines increases the chances that they won't be skipped.
In some races the finish line is located on a track and the very last portion of the race includes a partial lap. Performing some workouts on a track can help beginners to visualize a successful goal race finish.
Despite the encouragement of Earned Runs, the track may not be a desirable place to train for some. The Track Day Schedule identifies the approximate distances that should be run that day to help you accomplish the session goals without utilizing a track. The minutes-to-miles calculation sheet may be helpful in translating a timed-measured into a distance-measured session.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
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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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