Wednesday, October 7, 2009

4 Vital Runs

In training for my half marathon I have really embraced a true training program. Prior to this, the farthest race I had completed was 10 miles. For my upcoming race, I don't want to simply complete and survive the race, but to boost my running up to a whole new level of distance and speed and stay there and that takes a lot of dedication and work. Luckily I have some REALLY great running partners and resources to help me along the way!

Here are a few runs that are vital to upping your performance for almost any race that you are training for!

Tempo: The tempo run is the soggy veggies on the plate, the dirty laundry in the corner, the alarm clock on your day off. It's not something that is FUN to do, it is a challenge, but when you are done it is a great feeling!! The idea is to push your body to a comfortably challenged pace and hold it there for a set amount of time or distance in the middle of your run. This will cause your muscles to fatigue rapidly which is called a lactate threshold. (the intensity where lactic acid starts to release into the blood stream) If you work out at or near that, you will raise your threshold and run faster. Tempo runs are recommended twice a week! (yeowza!)

Runners World Magazine says, "Runners tackling longer distances should do longer tempo runs during their peak training weeks: four to six miles for the 10-K, six to eight for the half-marathon, and eight to 10 for 26.2." For a 5k race 20 min in the middle of your run should suffice! It is hailed as the single most effective way to increase your speed no matter what your race and that is hard to argue with.

Pace: This is just a run where you are going at your race pace the entire time or after a short warm up. This is so we can get used to the pace that we will run at for our big day. I struggle with this a little because It isn't until the last 3 weeks or so that I feel my milage is high enough to even know where that pace may be. Also with the other runs increasing speed, your pace run will be faster at the end than when you start. It is a good way to test your pacing and adjust.

Speed: I was never a sprinter straight up. But I like the speed work because it is over so fast!! And I realized that it will improve my speed and endurance. But depending on your race length, if it is a mid length to long run (over 10K) Runners World Magazine does say that Tempo Runs are the golden child. That won't stop me from running 400's that add up to a 7 min mile!! That's a PR! Usually the speed runs will be a shorter distance at a fast pace or race pace, not a sprint, but I throw them in there. I recommend resting 60 seconds between each and working to get your heart-rate down and breathing controlled. Then, speed away!

Long: there is no way around the long run as the best endurance builder there is!! Logging the upper miles for whatever your goal or race, is simply the only way to really to prepare. The long runs teach our body to rely more on fat as fuel than on glycogen and they prepare us mentally for the long distances we face. Many times the thought of really long runs can throw you off your game --regardless of your long distance, own it and be prepared.

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