Spring Training - Novice Schedule, Week 6
Monday: This week features another bump upwards in distance. Your long run at the end of the week is 4.5 miles; the total mileage for the week is 11.5 miles. Probably both are Personal Records if you are a new runner. These mileage peaks come at the end of six persistent weeks of gradually progressive training. I hope that you have begun to enjoy the good feeling that comes with being fit. Oh, you wanted to know what to do today: Rest!
Tuesday: Today's run is 2.0 miles. I've been running a long, long time and have finished more than 100 marathons, but I still do workouts at this distance. One way to do this workout is to run a mile in one direction, then stop to walk for a minute or two. Then turn around and--starting at the place you stopped--begin running again headed home. Often, I find myself running faster on the return journey than going out, although that should not necessarily be your goal.
Wednesday: Today is Wednesday, so that means you probably are going to be asked to run 3.0 miles. Let me check the schedule. Yep, that's correct. Hal told me to do it! Head out the door. You can follow the same out-and-back pattern that I recommended for yesterday's 2.0-mile run. That is: run out 1.5 miles, walk for a minute or two, then turn around and run back. You can use this strategy featuring a mid-workout walk break on days when you may be more tired than others. This also helps you maintain a steadier pace than you might otherwise. .
Thursday: A run today of 2.0 miles. When I competed in track at Carleton College many, many, many years ago, this was the furthest distance I ran in dual meets. (Today, 5,000 meters is the standard distance for college track.) It now takes me almost as much time to run a mile as it once did to race two miles! That's okay; I still have fun doing it.
Friday: . Rest is always an important component of any training program. Sometimes rest is important for the mind as much as for the body. Although I love running and find that my day is not complete without a run or some sort of aerobic workout, I realize that not everybody feels the same way--yet! So Friday is the day when you don't have to think about what course you're going to run or how to fit your workout into a busy schedule. You can even skip taking a shower, but if you brush your teeth, don't forget to floss. Relax. Take a day off.
Saturday: Walk for 30 minutes. Depending on your pace, that could carry you close to 2 miles. (The walk is short today, because you have an extra-long run scheduled for tomorrow.) Let's consider briefly the subject of calorie burn: You burn the same number of calories (about 100) walking a mile as you do running a mile. That seems unfair, but calorie burn is related to foot-pounds: how many pounds you push over so many feet. Walking for 30 minutes today will burn about 200 calories. Okay, maybe closer to 150 calories if you don't push too hard. Since you lose 1 pound for every 3,600 calories burned, you should be able to lose a pound every second or third week following this program, assuming your eating habits don't change. You can lose weight faster by combining diet and exercise, which is the best way to lose weight as well as keep it off.
Sunday: Run for 4.5 miles, your longest distance so far and a significant personal achievement, if you are a beginner. That's halfway between the popular race distances of 5-K and 10-K. That's a lot of running! Did you ever think that you would be able to run this far when you started my program? You might have been doubtful, but I had faith in you. I've seen too many others like you achieve similar successes. Hey, you're halfway to your 12-week goal of completing this 12-week Spring Training program! Break out the champagne--or at least a bottle of Perrier. At the end of this 12-week program, I'll ask you to run 6 miles for your final workout. That's a long way from completing a 26.2-mile marathon--assuming that is your ultimate goal--but you're at least headed in the right direction.
Running Tips: In colder weather, nylon tights will keep you running without limiting your ability to move fast. They are generally more comfortable and practical than the old floppy sweat pants runners I once wore when I started running long before the Lycra Age. If one of your reasons for beginning to run is to lose weight, however, you may want to postpone your purchase of tights for a while. Hip-Huggers (the half-leg tights similar to shorts used by bikers) are also popular, particularly if leg-chafing is a problem because of your stride.
How to Improve: Planning to run a marathon? You won't find a better training schedule than the 18-week program available on this web site. But sometimes it's a bother to go on-line to check your training plan. (Paper still does serve a purpose.) Consider ordering a copy of Hal Higdon's Marathon Training Guide. It's a simple and convenient, 48-page booklet that reprints my on-line schedules for novice and advanced runners. It costs only $4.50, and you can obtain a free copy by ordering Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. To order an autographed copy of these and other of my books, go to Books by Hal Higdon.