Spring Training - Novice Schedule, Week 10
Monday: Nine weeks done. Three weeks to go. You are three-quarters through your 12-week Spring Training program. On this day of rest, there's no doubt in your mid that you're going to make it to the end. Correct? Maybe during those first few difficult weeks, you might have had doubts--particularly on days when the weather was, say, less than exemplary. But three more weeks? You could do that in your sleep. This week features another bump upward in distance with Sunday's run scheduled for 5.5 miles, 13.5 total miles for the week.
Tuesday: Piece of cake today. Run 2.5 miles. Remember nine weeks ago when you had to struggle to get this far, when you didn't understand the signals your body was giving you. You got out of breath and wondered if you were doing something wrong. But now that you're nine weeks a runner, you realize that we all get out of breath if we push too hard or too far. So what else is new? You learn to live with it. Running may never be easy for you, but it can be enjoyable, and think of all of the positive things it is doing for your body.
Wednesday: Three miles. That was your maximum distance the first week you started running--and you thought you were going to die, didn't you? Well, you didn't. You're still out there plugging. And now running 3 miles seems so-o-o-o easy that you've almost begun to give serious consideration that you might one day run a marathon. Wait a minute: let's not get crazy. Let's postpone that thought for at least a few more weeks. Take running step by step, day by day. Like they sang in the musical Rent: "No day like today!"
Thursday: Two-and-a-half miles today. Next week, you'll take another midweek mileage leap to 3.0 miles on all three days, but consider how far you have run in the last three days: 8 miles. That's a lot of miles for someone just starting. Consider also the fact that on those three days, you will have burned 800 calories. Theoretically, that should allow you to lose a quarter of a pound, although it's not always wise to compare your weight from one day to the next, since external factors can cause shifts. Over the long run, running will cause numerous positive things to happen to your body.
Friday: On this day of rest before a weekend during which you have a run of 5.5 miles scheduled, pause and consider how far you have come since you started to run. It may be difficult to measure improvements precisely, but hopefully you feel better and look better (because looking better is often the result of having a positive attitude toward life). You may not have lost weight, but you may have repositioned a few of your extra pounds, possibly even added some muscle and trimmed up those stomach muscles. Running is good for you, and hopefully you have come to enjoy it!
Saturday: Today's walking prescription is a half hour. Thirty minutes strolling through the woods or along the beach or even around the block will provide a pleasant break from whatever you had scheduled for today. Since I'm asking you to run a shorter time period, maybe you can use some of that saved time to jump in a car and drive to a scenic area. Usually I tell people to walk at a brisk pace, but you've done so well with your training, don't be afraid to turn this into a stroll with time to stop and smell the flowers.
Sunday: Another mileage breakthrough to 5.5 miles, your longest run during this 12-week Spring Training program. Unless you're a speed demon, you're going to be running for a relatively long period of time, somewhere close to an hour. And maybe if the weather is warm, you may dehydrate. Take a good swig of water just before you start to run and if there are any water fountains on the course you choose, don't run past them. You might even consider carrying a water bottle. Dehydration becomes more of a factor the longer you run and the higher the temperature. Enjoy your run.
Running Tips: Motivation is important for all runners, but particularly so for beginners who have not yet had a chance to recognize the positive values of running, which are not always easy to explain or measure. Establish a goal. Do not give up until you reach that goal. Even though you don't consider yourself a competitive runner, you might want to pick as a goal a local road race. Once you finish your first 5-K and win your first race T-shirt, you can establish additional goals.
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.