WEEK 14 TRAINING PLAN STARTS Runners, finally, on the last day of this training week you can prove you have what it takes to run 13 miles! But you’ll do it easy, with stops as needed. Walkers, you are almost there. Both groups are essentially ready to go the distance in competition.
These plans extend for 18 rather than 16 weeks to allow safe preparation, include a generous taper, and provide a little wiggle room for vacation time or mild sicknesses of winter. Late April and mid-May are popular times for half marathons, which tend to be scheduled when spring weather is expected to arrive in various locales in the Northern Hemisphere. The Earned Runs programs attempt to bring runners and walkers to starting lines during this period.
Runners, if you have an opportunity to watch TV coverage of the Boston Marathon on Monday, take note of the leaders’ running form. Their heads will be up, chests out, torsos tall and erect, shoulders loose and down, with elbows rhythmically pulled back. If it’s possible to count the number of steps taken per 15 seconds (multiply by 4 to get steps/minute) to calculate cadence, you might see the number is greater than 180, possibly up to 200. Compare what you observe in the elite runners’ forms with your own.
When 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.
Congratulations on finishing 12 and 13 miles!
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. In 1978 I began participating in 10K 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 and longevity.
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