Training


Spring Training - Novice Schedule, Week 8

Monday: This is your eighth week of training in my 12-week Spring Training program, and your mileage continues to increase. At the end of the week, I'm going to ask you to run 5.0 miles and your total mileage for the week will be 12.5. But first: consider the fact that if you followed my advice to run a 5-K race over the weekend, you may be suffering from some sore muscles. This is natural, mainly because the spirit of competition usually pushes us to run harder than we might in an ordinary workout. So this day of rest comes at a good time.

Tuesday: Following your day of rest, it's time to get back to business, and today Tuesday's workout takes a step upward as part of our planned gradual mileage buildup. Run 2.5 miles today. That's only a half mile further than what you had been running on this day for the previous four weeks, so it's not that big a deal, right? Good, I'm glad you agree with me. I like your attitude.

Wednesday: Despite yesterday's jump in mileage, Wednesday's workout remains the same. Run 3.0 miles. Ho hum, you say. You're right. If you're running 3 miles, it must be Wednesday. Pretty routine. But consider the fact that if you precisely follow the schedule, you will run 3.0 miles on 22 separate occasions. That's 66 miles of running. That's a lot of miles. It's nearly the length of three marathons. So feel proud. You have a right to be.

Thursday: Tuesday's workout took a slight jump to 2.5 miles. Thursday's workout eventually will do the same--but not until next week. Stay at 2.0 miles. Probably at this point of your training you have begun to achieve a level of physical fitness. You're probably asking yourself, why don't I go farther than the coach says? That's not always a good idea. I'd rather have you do less than you're capable of running at this point. Doing too much can sometimes lead to injury, something I would just as soon have you avoid.

Friday: Rest. Friday is Date Night in the Higdon household. Rose and I usually like to go out for dinner and maybe take in a movie, or rent a video. Assuming you're going out for dinner tonight, have you begun to modify your diet? Frequently, when non-runners become runners, they find that they begin to eat differently. This is partly conscious and partly subconscious and reflects the fact that carbohydrates are the most efficient form of energy. People who embrace fitness routines discover this through their reading, but often it happens naturally. Runners crave carbs; their bodies tell them that breads and grains fruits and vegetables are the best food as for fitness as for health. You'll often find us in an Italian restaurant the night before long workouts or marathons. I'm lucky in that I don't have to eat out to get spaghetti; Rose is of Italian-American descent.

Saturday: Today's walk is scheduled at a half hour: 30 minutes. Walk at a good pace, but don't go too far. This might be considered a form of rest. I don't want you too fatigued leading up to tomorrow's workout, since I am going to ask you to run 5.0 miles, a significant milestone in your training.

Sunday: Take five! That's the title of one of piano player Dave Brubeck's best-selling records. I have a CD by the Dave Bruckeck Quartet with that song on it. Brubeck meant to take five minutes of rest: sit back and relax and listen to the music. I'm asking you to run 5.0 miles today, probably further than you've ever run before and getting closer to the peak of 6.0 miles at the end of this program. Five miles is also a nudge further than 8-K, a popular race distance. (There's an 8-K training program elsewhere on my web site if you decide at a later date to train for this distance.) Enjoy your run today, and remember my earlier advice that taking an occasional mid-run walking break is perfectly acceptable.

Running Tips: Run at a time convenient for you, a time when you will feel comfortable running. The majority of runners run in the morning, because that guarantees that nothing will interfere with their workout that day. Also, during warm-weather months, it is cooler during the early hours. Nevertheless, a fair number of runners run during their lunch hour. During the winter up north, I usually run midday because the sun is up, and it's usually somewhat warmer. A certain percentage prefer running late afternoon, using running to relax after a stressful business day. And a few run in the late evening after dinner. In families where both the husband and wife run, they often need to run separately, rather than together, so one of them can mind the kids. Pick the time that is most convenient for you--and for others around you. There's also nothing that says you can't run at different times on different days depending on your schedule.

How to Improve: Hal Higdon's How To Train offers training schedules and advice on everything from fitness walking to running the marathon. Plus there's information on nutrition and recovering from injuries. Add a copy of this book to your collection. 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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