Tag Archives: Runners World

Half Marathon Training: week 2 recap

15 Aug

As I stated in my previous posts,  I am running the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon on October 2nd, and am blogging about my training progress.  I am doing this both for my own benefit (its my first half marathon and I’m excited to hear ideas/tips/suggestions/advice from veteran half marathon runners) and also to share my experience with others!

Week two brought its own little lesson for me: footwear is IMPORTANT!!!  I ran my first week (of 9 total training weeks) with my existing running shoes – Nike Free Run 2–  which I love.  I had run up to a 10k in them previously, but wanted new shoes for my Half training which will log many long miles.  I went to Marathon Sports in Wellesley and was there for about an hour and a half.  A very knowledgeable sales associate tested my gait, took the time to hear my concerns/injury history and chose several pairs of shoes she thought would be a good fit for me.  I tried on a pair of Newtons, a pair of Saucony Kinvara 2, and a pair of New Balance.  The sales associate told me to take a run outside in each pair, to get a feel for them.  I did about 5-7 trial runs in total.  Some of them I did with 2 different shoes on.  In the end, I decided on the Newtons because they gave me extra support where I needed it (n my injured left ankle) while staying on the “minimal” side.  They were pretty expensive, and as I made my way to the register I started second guessing my decision.  The sales associate said that I could take them home for my next run (4 miles) and if I wanted to swap them out for another pair, I could come back the next day and do so.  This was pretty impressive to me.  It was that fact, combined with the 20% personal trainer discount, that sealed the deal.

The new sneakers have taken a LOT of getting used to.  They are a “minimal” shoe but they are unlike any other pair I’ve worn in the past.  The first 1-1.5 miles of each run in them has been difficult; my body is not yet comfortable in them and I feel totally off.  I ran 4 miles and the next day ran 6 miles in them.  At the end of each run, I felt fine and my ankle tendonitis has not given me any extra noticeable problems.  There was one point at which I thought I would have to turn around on my 6 mile run and go home to change back into my old sneakers.  As I continued on in my loop (to head back home), I was able to adjust my stride and foot fall so that I felt comfortable.  The shoe definitely helps to absorb the heelstrike that happens as a result of my tendonitis in my left ankle.  I have decided to hang onto the shoes, despite their $140 price tag.  If there’s anything worth putting a little extra money into, its the shoes that will be on my feet for miles and miles (and miles) to come. 

Plus, they’re bright orange…my favorite color! 😉

Run like the wind!!!!

26 Jul

I have been talking with people recently about running; more specifically about running races.  It seems that everywhere I go I find someone who is training for a race of some sort, from 5k all the way up to a full marathon.   This week I joined those in training and signed myself up for the  Smuttynose Half Marathonon October 2nd.  (This will be my last race in my 20’s, yikes!!!)  People have been asking me the same questions and I thought I’d respond via blog for everyone to view… I also would love other people’s input, and hear other training strategies/regimens.

The #1 question I have heard is “How can I make my pace faster and my mile time better?”  My answer to this is INTERVALS.  I have found interval training to be beneficial in many ways and has helped me shave time off my mile, improve my endurance, and made me a better runner in general.  Often times when training for races, people fail to incorporate speed and/or hill workouts.  This is, to use a buzzword, an epic fail.  Sure, standard training programs that gradually increase mileage are effective, but they do not best prepare you for race day.  Incorporating speed and hill intervals into your training will boost your overall performance and ability to perform at your BEST on race day.

Speed intervals can be done on a track or a treadmill.  There are several different ways to approach speed intervals, but start off basic.  Start out by doing a 5 minute warmup… Then jog at a steady state pace (5 out of 10) for a minute, and then crank it out to a full out sprint for 30 seconds.  After 30 seconds, bring it back down to the steady state pace for another minute, and then- yep you guessed it- sprint again for 30 seconds.   Do this 2:1 ratio for a total of 20 minutes. 

Once you’ve mastered the basic interval, you can change it up by doing 1:1 intervals, or speed workouts of varying lengths.  I found a GREAT article that gives several examples of speed workouts for runners of all levels.

Hill intervals can be done on a treadmill or on your neighborhood hill of choice (pick a tough one!)  Start out by doing a 5 minute warmup, and then attack the hill.  My favorite hill workout is the following “pyramid” which has 8 sprints of varying length.  Remember- always sprint 100% up the hill, and slowly jog back down for recovery:

1) sprint up 1/4 hill (3.0 incline on treadmill)

2) sprint up 1/2 hill (6.0 incline on treadmill)

3) sprint up 3/4 hill (9.0 incline on treadmill)

4) sprint to the top of the hill (12.o incline on treadmill)

5) sprint to the top of the hill (12.0 incline on treadmill)

6) sprint 3/4 hill (9.0 incline on treadmill)

7) sprint 1/2 hill (6.0 incline on treadmill)

8) sprint 1/4 hill (3.0 incline on treadmill)

Do a 5 min jog cooldown and call it a day!

Other questions I’ve been asked have to do with shoe type and pre/post run eating.  To answer the first question, I suggest that the first step in race training should be a trip to Marathon Sports, City Sports, or a similar store.  Find a sales associate who KNOWS footwear and who can help you analyze your foot pronation type (if you don’t know it already) and fit you with the appropriate shoe.  It is also helpful to inform the sales associate that you are training for a race so that they may take into account how many miles you’ll be logging/week. 

In regards to pre/post run eating, check out my blog that outlines just that!!

Training for an event of any type is a GREAT way to keep on track with exercising regularly, and sticking to a program in order to achieve a goal.  Get a friend to commit with you and sign up for a race/event and then use each other as motivation to train regularly.  Races of all types and distances can be found at Runners World

Lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement!!!