|Great Strides 2007 Shelly Florence-Glover|
Intermediate levels may be fitness runners or racers. Your goals determine your workouts. Modest expectations mean modest commitments and big expectations mean big commitments. Most training consists of mileage, warm up and cool downs, long runs, correct pacing, speed work, stretching, cross training and racing.
The Runner's Handbook: The Bestselling Classic Fitness Guide for Beginning and Intermediate Runners and The Competitive Runner's Handbook are highly recommended reading for all intermediate runners.
Week #1 Suggest Reading:
The Intermediate Runner Page119
Running Shoes: Chapter 16, Pages 196-220
How to Choose Your Shoe: Page 200
Stretching Routine: Chapter 37, Page 598
Stay With It
You may run for any of the usual reasons: to lose weight, look better, feel better or improve your health. Many people drop out on the way to getting fast and fit, or get in shape only to give up. Be patient. It's going to take a while to get into good shape. Lasting results mean a lasting commitment. Be persistent. Be consistent.
Daily running is at conversational pace. Take the talk test frequently. Run slow enough for conversation, yet fast enough for perspiration. If you can talk in full sentences or hum a tune your pace is just fine. Carry on. You are improving your aerobic endurance. If you can't chat, slow down until you are more comfortable.
At the modest end, maintaining fitness requires 30 minutes of running 3-5 times per week or about 8 to 12 miles. This gives you all the health benefits of exercise and enough endurance to participate in short races for fun and challenge. Minimally, runners at the intermediate levels train 10-15 miles per week to complete a 5k; 15-20 miles for 10K; and 20-30 miles for a half marathon; and 30-45 miles for the marathon.
Speed training workouts help you to run faster and stronger. They improve your race times, increase your confidence, and give you more running stamina. All this, while you are having fun. To get the most out of your training, rest or run lightly the day before and after speed workouts. Interval training needs a good effort, but stay under control and enjoy working as part of a group of runners with similar abilities.
Warm Up/Cool Down
Workout warm ups warm muscles to increase flexibility, focus your mind and power-up the muscles for your runs. Start with a few minutes of relaxation and limbering exercises followed by 5 to 10 minutes walk or slow jogging to increases blood flow before accelerating to training pace. After a run, cool down walking for 5 –10 minutes to slow your heart rate then stretch thoroughly.
For a balanced fitness program address your flexibility and non-running strength too. Maintain flexibility, minimize injury and improve performance with stretching 3-7 days per week. Maintain or improve strength using simple weights, crunches and push-ups 2-3 days per week.
All athletes in all sports experience injuries – the key is to keep minor injuries from becoming major ones by using common sense. Don't run in pain. Don't run if you are favoring an injury. Get advice from a medical sports expert familiar with runner's aches and pains.
Beginner races often use races to run further than and faster than ever before. The camaraderie and excitement of the race helps push their bodies. Race up to twice a month. Preparing with effective training, tapering and recovery can take you to the next level.
In addition to the weekly mileage and speed work, mentioned earlier, racers need long runs. Try running the distance of your goal race with some friends at an easy pace before you try and run it fast in a race, with two important exceptions for beginner racers. The half marathon and marathon represent big challenges. Most intermediates can complete a 1/2 marathon if they have done at least one, if not more, 10 miler comfortably in training. The marathon requires 2-3 long runs or at least 20 miles. Consults the Competitive Runner's Handbook for specific marathon training schedule.
Resting up by cutting back workouts 2-3 days before races is called a Taper. Light workouts for 2-3 days after the race are a Recovery. The harder and longer the race the more recovery is needed, with marathoners needing up to a month of easy training.
You'll probably have sore muscles for a few days after your first workouts. Its normal - it's okay. A warm bath or shower may help you loosen up the day after a run and before workouts.
A Little More
Running Coach Shelly Glover has a master's degree in exercise physiology from Columbia University. She co-authored The Runner's Handbook and The Competitive Runner’s Handbook is a veteran road runner and marathoner. She also coaches The Greater New York Racing Team is available for private coaching. Coaching Services