Part 1: Basic Runner Training Info
Here are some marathon/running/ training suggestions and a sample training schedule. The schedule is meant to be a guide to demonstrate a pattern for training – not to be followed exactly. I’m sure all of this is more info than you want. Use what you can. — Vic
— Progress slowly over months, not weeks. Your lungs and muscles will develop quickly but tendons and ligaments will need many months to get strong enough for the repetitive stress. This is true for weight lifting, rowing, ballet, etc. (this conditioning is not impossible, just give it some time). — Include mild stretching into your workout, especially good after a workout. Try to avoid running then sitting for hours (formula for tight hamstrings). — Warming down is part of your workout. Warming down & cross training flushes out the lactic acid, keeps muscles flexible, etc. Examples are walking, easy bike riding, swimming, dancing to music (please do this one in your room) – whatever keeps you moving for 15 min. to half an hour without any ‘pounding’. — You can greatly help your recovery with aspirin (325 mg, coated, twice a day) and healthy oils (olive, fish, especially after workouts). These inexpensive meds can reduce inflammation, capture free radicals (heavy, dude), and prevent many serious diseases. — Btw, Never exercise if you have a fever. Never. This can damage the lining around your heart (as in, you will need a donor to give you a replacement heart).
— You should begin training with four running workouts a week: one long run, two ‘regular’ easy runs, and one ‘speed’ workout. The long run will start off modest, then move up slowly to about twice your regular distance (then for a marathon, change to 3-4 times your regular run). The two ‘regular’ runs are mostly for recovery and building a base of endurance (remember those tendons & ligaments?). Finally the speed workout will be short ‘pick-ups’, a little hill work, long repeats, etc. More details later. The idea is to pick up the pace – it’s not an all out sprint. Why speed for a marathon? 1. it works the other muscle fibers that slow running doesn’t affect 2. it improves your form (so you need less oxygen) 3. over time, it can increase your ability to absorb & use more of the oxygen you breathe in (greater VO2 max). Btw, floor hockey, soccer, flag football and such can be counted as your speed workout.
—Just to be clear, if you were working on a great finish time for the marathon, one of the ‘regular’ runs would change into a second distance workout over time (probably twice the ‘regular’ distance). However, if you wanted to concentrate on shorter race distances, one of the ‘regular’ runs would instead become a second speed day and the one long workout distance would max at only twice you regular distance. Clear as mud?
—Arrange the weekly schedule however it works for you. Your four run days can be Monday/Tuesday & Thursday/Friday leaving your weekends free. Or Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday. Whatever.
—At the beginning, all running can be mixed with walking breaks. As time goes on, you should not need walking breaks except for the long runs (and some speed workouts). On running days, if you are still sore after a warm up, then switch to an easier workout or perhaps change to a cross training workout.
My example training schedule in Vic’s Runner Training Part 2: The Schedule. –-Vic Williams, (VP of Cornerstone Community Outreach)