As you may or may not know in 2010 was when we began our training to run our first half-marathon. Both of us had run in high school and/or college, but never to the distance we would hit in our half marathon training. The two of us and probably like a lot of people who train for their first half marathon followed Hal Higdon‘s guide.
Hal Higdon’s guides are great and perhaps there are some people out there who work their way through a number of his different plans. We, however, did not and kind of decided to start looking through different plans (one of which was definitely Hal Hidgon’s) and piecing them together. After all what works for one person might not work for another and it never hurts to try something to see if it works for you!
Throughout the not quite two years of us running together we’ve learned to appreciate aspects of our training, realized some things that needed to be added and why, so we shall share with you!
Both of us got personal trainers at a point where we each wanted to lose weight (You can read about Beth’s story here and Teal’s story here). Boy are we thankful to Will & Johnny for helping us to get into shape, get healthy and teaching us a lot! Weight training is very important as you need to build a base for yourself. If you only rely on running to build your muscles then you are missing out! Not every single race you might run will you actually feel yourself digging deep and using that core strength or pumping those arms hard to get to that finish line, but those are important parts of your body to work on strength so you have it when you need it. With that said it’s important to find a balance with your weight training and make sure you are working every part of your body. Build that strong foundation so you can be a stronger runner! It was well into us running together that we realized we were at an advantage by already having trainers and having those weekly weights session. We didn’t know where we would be in our running if we didn’t have them!
While yes, a trainer makes it so much easier to get your weights session in you don’t neeed to have one! Grab a friend that’s knowledgeable about weights and ask them to show you the ropes a few times or look into one of the many apps that’s how there and available to guide you through a workout!
If you would like more of an explanation of the benefits weight training please see this post from Runner’s World.
We just recently started to incorporate these into our workouts. What were we waiting for with these??
What? There is lots to read out there about tempo runs and sometimes it doesn’t seem to be written in layman’s terms, or is that just us? Part of why we probably did NOT do tempo runs for awhile was because we did not truly understand them. A tempo run normally consists of running at an easy pace to start, let’s say we are doing a 4 mile tempo run, so you may run your first mile at an easy pace then for miles 2 and 3 you kick it into a higher gear. This higher gear is a hard pace yet if you were rate levels of hard you might have comfortably hard, hard, and extremely hard. You want this higher gear to be at a comfortably hard pace so that you can sustain this level of intensity for the entirety of your two miles. Once you hit mile 4 take your speed back down to where you were in mile 1 for a nice recovery mile.
Importance. The idea behind a tempo run is to raise your lactate threshold. If you are at a point in your running where you are able to run the mileage you want in a long run but are ready to work on speed this is a workout you’ll want to add into your training schedule once a week to build speed and strength. The one thing that really helped us in determining how to do a tempo run was by using the McMillan Running Calculator not only did it help with tempo runs but also discovering what type of speed we needed for all sorts of runs.
What? While yes there are races out there that you might register that are flat, flat, flat! But that is simply not going to be the case for each and every race that you will ever run. Those hills in your runs/races continue to help challenge us as runners. The best workout we have found to make sure a hill does not defeat us in a race are hill repeats. We’ll be honest they aren’t the most fun type of workout, but believe us when you finish a race with hills you’ll be thankful for the time you spent on hill repeats. For us a hill repeat workout consists of:
1. Doing your homework and find a hill that will work. You might want a hill that is somewhere between .1 – .2 of a mile.
2. Get a little bit of mileage in before your hill repeats, i.e. run from your house out to the hill
3. When you reach your hill if it’s your first time maybe try 4 or 5 runs up the hill and back down (but have a goal of working up to 10 hill repeats)
4. Get in that last bit of mileage back to your house
Importance. We’ve recently heard a couple people say this and it is the absolute truth, “the difference between me continuing to run and the people walking up the hill in that race are these workouts.” Even if you are not specifically training for a race that has hills in them, this workout is beneficial! It’ll build muscle that running on a flat path does not, help with your endurance and help you to get faster! Throw this type of running workout into your weekly mix as well and you’ll feel a difference at your next race!
Just for good measure we are throwing this one in this post. And no we aren’t taking you back to geometry class either! 🙂 Or is it basic algebra?? Ha, math is hard, y’all! 🙂 There were plenty of times that we can remember one of us saying “ugh! My Runkeeper says I ran 6.43 in that 10k race!” and there were times when we’d finish our long runs together that we were asked “why did Teal run a further distance than you Beth?” TANGENTS! It’s about tangents! We can honestly say we were taught this very valuable piece of information from reading katieRUNSthis’ blog!
The majority of races we have run together have a certified course so it has been measured and is exactly the distance the course claims it to be. When a course is measured it is done so on tangents, so when there is a curved portion of your course the person who measured it did so on the tangents. This is also why for instance when we go run our long runs or even if we run side by side during a race our mileage for that long run or race could be different because neither one of us is running the curves the exact same. For the visual people out there, let us show you the tangents in visual form.
While you might have learned about tangents today know that at your next race you might do your best to run the tangents but still find that you have some extra mileage at the end, well, it’s hard to run the tangents EXACTLY. As you have to be looking ahead and plotting out exactly how to run the next curve not to mention that there are other runners out there with you on the course that might keep you from running that straight line exactly. All we can do is do our best!
We are no experts by any means! We read articles, blogs, etc. online in an effort to try and learn how we can improve our running. We wanted to share some information that opened up our eyes, helped us to understand running more and that we think everyone should have the benefit of knowing!
If you already knew all of this, well, thanks for bearing with us today! If you didn’t know all of this – are you going to be making some changes now to your weekly running? Glad to know why there is extra mileage on those races you’ve run before?
Read Full Post »