I’ve received some great questions along the way. Some of them are common so I thought I would start sharing them.
Disclaimer: This is a blog and these FAQs/Tips are just my personal experiences and perspective. My posts or responses shouldn’t replace your own research and the help of professionals (doctors, nutritionists, etc.) before embarking on your training or if you having issues.
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Q: I’m new to running (or coming back) where do I start? What suggestions do you have to beginning training?
A: This is response is usually personal to understanding more about your background and goals.
Are you completely new to running or coming back from time off (for work, family, injury, etc.)?
What are your goals (getting into shape, training for a particular race, etc.)?
To keep this general I will share some suggestions that span all levels of expertise.
I work a plan in the following approach: Consistency, Duration/Distance, Speed
- Consistency – What I mean here is before jumping into a training plan (especially if you are newer to running) I focus on consistency first. I want to get into a groove of working out (if you are new it can mean run/walk or just walking) 3-5 times a week (depending on your current activity level). Getting consistency down for a few weeks is key over adding too much mileage or speed. It’s important to really evaluate your current activity level and work from that. If you haven’t been working out, start out with 15 minutes for your first session and slowly increase. If you are running 3 times a week, work on making 5 a new habit, even if it’s just 2-3 miles on the extra days. Working on consistency first allows your body to adjust to the new workouts and hopefully ward off injuries of doing too much too soon. This also sets a new routine to fit a new level of training into your lifestyle.
- Duration/Distance – After three good weeks of consistency then it’s time to look at training plans or just getting something down on paper or in a calendar. A plan helps you see how your workouts fit your lifestyle. Work, family and friend commitments come up. Seeing your week planned out helps you toggle things around when needed. I look for plans that I feel I can achieve to 90% (meaning some days the workout won’t go well because I’m sick or I have to miss a workout for travel/work) of the schedule. Also, in general I try not to increase my overall mileage by more than 10-15% a week, meaning if I ran 40 miles total for a week the following week I would run no more than 46 miles. Small increases over time help prevent injuries and help the body adapt to the increase in workload demand.
Depending on your level here are some options you may want to research:
Hal-Higdon http://www.hal-higdon.com – the training plan extraordinaire, he has plans for Couch to 5K through Advanced II marathoner
Smart Coach in http://www.runnersworld.com – Plans are dynamic and easily fit your current fitness level
Pfitz Advanced Marathoning – One of favorites, known for his marathon goal pace long runs and mid-week long runs, Pfitz’s plans ensure that runners learn the meaning of running on fatigued legs. Word of warning, be real about the assessment prior to jumping into a plan. Pfitz is meant for a seasoned marathoner or someone familiar with equivalent mileage prior to starting the plan.
Also, logging your completed workouts and how they felt is very important. I use http://www.runningahead.com because I like something very simple to use. I track my shoe mileage (rotating them out after 300 miles), my workouts, and how I felt. As your body adjusts you will have soreness, stale days, etc. Noting these things helps you see what is just soreness from new workouts versus signs of impending injury
3. Speed – Is the last thing I focus on and I only enter in speed training once I’ve been injury free through a base building cycle of mileage. This can be 4-6 weeks of volume prior to speed work. Speed work can vary by plan or method. It can be as simple as reducing recovery times (if you run/walk) or can be time on the track or doing hill intervals.
I get my speed pacing based on plugging in recent race times into the McMillan Running Calculator.
More to come…