Training plans are something I have used since I started running back in the fall of 2010. After agreeing to run the Princess Half Marathon with Christine, we searched the internet and found a training plan to get us to the finish line of our first half marathon. Little did we know this was the start of a love of running and racing. We shared our ups and downs during the training cycle and even a few of our longer runs when we were together for a weekend.
|Dog eared with lots of check marks and notes from my first half marathon!|
Fast forward a few years and we still follow a training plan for all of our big races. Having a plan has given me the motivation to get out for a run even when I don't feel like it. . By following a plan, your body will adapt to difference distances as you improve on your speed and run for a longer period of time or distance. Most training plans for runners include one or more rest days per week and they are just as important as the active days. These are critical to include in your plan in order for your body to adapt to the distance and pace you are putting it through whether it's a track workout, tempo or long run. If you are running a race at either Disney World or Disneyland, you can find Jeff's training plans for the specific races on the website. Both Christine and I followed his plans, for Dopey Challenge, Dumbo Double Dare Challenge and the Goofy Challenge.
My NYC Marathon training is in full swing now and my coach and I are using Training Peaks, a website/ phone App where I report my progress and she gives me my workouts and running plan. Once again, I am counting on someone else to help me figure out what to do to get to the starting line healthy and ready to run 26.2 miles.
My favorite tip this month is the one about rest days. Many new runners want to run as many days as possible, but adding mileage quickly can lead to quick burnout and injury. For older runners, rest days are especially important because our recovery time is longer. I always have either an easy day or rest day prior to my long run and the day after the run might include a little upper body strength work or some sit ups, but never any cardio workout. Most weeks I have two rest days incorporated into my plan and other than walking the dog I pretty much stick to no exercise those days.
For success with your training plan, you need to be dedicated to following it, and willing to change things up when you are struggling to get in the work. Find a training buddy, pick our a new place to run or get someone to bike alongside of you for those longer runs.