Training


Spring Training - Novice Schedule, Week 3

Monday: Today being Monday, it's your rest day after two days of hard work over the weekend. Most training programs are progressive, meaning you gradually increase mileage over a period of weeks and months. This program is no different, but the progression is not in a straight line. I'm going to ask you to increase mileage only every other week. So Week 10 (the third week of the program) is what I call a "stepback" week, where you will do slightly fewer total miles than you did the week before.

Tuesday: Run 1.5 miles. This is the third (and last) week during which you'll run this distance. Next week, I'll bump you 2.0 miles on both Tuesday and Thursday as part of our mileage progression. Is 1.5 miles becoming almost "too easy" for you? Don't get impatient.

Wednesday: Three miles for today's midweek workout. This "sorta long" run is positioned in the middle of the week to be more or less equal distant from last Sunday's 3.5-mile run and next Sunday's 3.0-mile run. That gives you a chance to recuperate between and rest before.

Thursday: Run 1.5 miles. This should almost begin to seem like a short distance now. Don't forget to smile at other runners who pass you during your workouts. Most runners are friendly and don't care whether you've been running two weeks or two decades. You're one of them, signifying by your presence an appreciation of their favorite sport.

Friday: Rest day. Review what you have accomplished so far. Does running seem any easier? Hopefully the sore muscles you may have suffered after your first-week workouts have begun to feel better--and stronger. It may be difficult for you to sense any change from the way you feel today and the way you felt before you begin, but you will be able to feel a major difference at the end of this 12-week program.

Saturday: Take a hike. Walk for 40 minutes. Even though I cut back slightly on your running mileage this week, I've counterbalanced this by asking you to walk 5 minutes longer than you did last week. Did you pick a scenic trail for your walk last weekend? If so, you might want to select a different hiking area this weekend. (Watch out for Grizzly bears.)

Sunday: Another 3-miler. Don't try to compare the time it took you to run this far two weeks ago with what you do today. You might run slower or you might run faster, but times don't mean much at this point in your journey to fitness. Most important is that you cover the distance and cover it with a reasonable level of comfort.

Running Tips: Runners are not immune to the health problems of others. Before you begin--or even after you have begun--it's a good idea to see your doctor and get a physical examination, particularly if you have not had one in several years. The exam probably should include an exercise stress test (usually done on a treadmill) to ensure that you have no cardiovascular problems that might surface if you exercise too hard. Getting medical clearance is especially important if you are a current or former smoker, if you are overweight, or if there is a history of heart disease in your family. Be safe: schedule a physical examination today!

How to Improve: Hal Higdon's Beginning Runner's Guide is a handy booklet for those taking their first running steps. Everything you need to know about starting to run: From your first steps to your first 5-K. Shoes. Clothing. Form. Breathing. Stretching. Goal setting. Nutrition. Weight loss. Training. You too can become a runner today! And it costs only $4.50. To order an autographed copy of this and other books by Runner's World's best writer go to Books by Hal Higdon.

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