WEEK 14: HALF MARATHON 2020
TRAINING PLAN STARTED YESTERDAY; this post is a day late due to the Easter Holiday. 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 run 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. The Earned Runs programs original attempt was to bring runners and walkers to their half marathon starting lines in late April and mid-May.
Because the half marathons you may have been training for are now postponed or cancelled, you may wish to use the training day in which 13 miles are scheduled as an official race day. Perhaps add the extra 0.125 mile at the end to make the distance official too, and earn 'finisher' status. If your race has offered a virtual option, stick with the plan and continue training.
On Monday, April 20 we should have been able to enjoy TV coverage of the 124th Boston Marathon. It has been re-scheduled for this fall and will take place on September 14 instead. Earned Runs usually advises runners to watch and take note of the leaders’ running form. 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 careers that could 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 confinement, and perhaps we all will be stronger and better prepared to experience the joy of competing.
Congratulations on finishing 12 and 13 miles this week!
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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