Spring Training - Novice Schedule, Week 4
Monday: Congratulations! You are about to begin your fourth week of Spring Training, which means you have three weeks behind you and nine ahead in this 12-week program. It's always a good idea at the beginning of each workout week to take a few minutes to both evaluate running past and contemplate running future. This week your total running mileage will be 10.5 miles, a mile further than you did two weeks ago. Your program goal nine weeks from now will be 15 total miles for the week.
Tuesday: Your Tuesday mileage increases by a half mile today. For the last three weeks, I've asked you to run 1.5 miles on Tuesday. For the next four weeks, your Tuesday training dose will be 2.0 miles. Since you have already done a half dozen runs over 3.0 miles during the first three weeks of this program, moving up to 2.0 miles shouldn't prove too great a challenge, particularly since yesterday was a rest day. Let's go for it. You'll have me by your side cheering you on.
Wednesday: Although both your Tuesday and Thursday workouts increase in distance this week, your Wednesday runs remain 3.0 miles and they will remain at that distance for the remainder of the program. It may still be a bit of a strain for you to run this far, but you will find that this workout will get easier and easier as you continue from week to week..
Thursday: While Tuesday's workout this week went from 1.5 to 2.0 miles, Thursday's workout remains the same. Run 1.5 miles, and I'll ask you to add an extra half mile to your Thursday workouts next week.
Friday: Friday, like Monday, is another day when the workout never changes. It's "rest." Take the day off. How can doing no running be considered a workout. I count it as such, because your day of rest is designed with a purpose. It's to get you ready for your weekend workouts.
Saturday: A half-hour walk is on the schedule today. This is somewhat less than the 40-minutes I asked you to walk last week. That's to balance the fact that tomorrow you will run 4.0 miles, a mile further than your last-week run of 3.0 miles. It allows you to conserve a little energy on one day to apply on another. In all honesty, does it really matter whether or not you walk 40 rather than 30 minutes? At the risk of giving my secrets away, no. Most important is to have a plan, and balancing hard and easy days with rest is part of my overall plan for this and other training schedules. Once you complete this 12-week spring training program and hopefully move to other training programs--perhaps one for the marathon--you'll begin to understand the overall wisdom of the hard-easy approach. In the meantime, simply have faith.
Sunday: Run 4.0 miles, the farthest you have run so far. Regardless of the distance, you should be able to maintain about the same pace you have used for your previous workouts at this distance. Remember: the pace should be "conversational," meaning that if you are running with a friend, the two of you should be able to talk without undue strain. If you are wearing a heart monitor, your pulse rate should fall in the zone of 65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. At the end of your workout, listen to your body. How did it feel? Legs tired? Out of breath? Some fatigue is normal, but you don't want to finish exhausted, otherwise you are training too hard.
Running Tips: The single most important piece of equipment you must purchase as a runner is a pair of shoes. With some exceptions, it doesn't matter how you dress. You can get by without a heart rate monitor, treadmill, or computer diary for recording your workouts, but you won't get very far without a comfortable pair of running shoes.
How to Improve: Running a marathon may be far from your thoughts, but when you do contemplate training for a 26-mile race, the best book to buy is Hal Higdon's Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. It will help get you to the starting line and, most important, get you to the finish line. To order an autographed copy of this and other books by Runner's World's best writer go to Books by Hal Higdon.