Spring Training - Novice Schedule, Week 2
Monday: Evaluate how you felt after your last week of training. For many of you, it may have been your first serious week of training as a runner. A lot of people play at running, going out for an occasional run on weekends if the weather is good. Sometimes they'll run three or four days in a row--then skip several weeks before running again. But that's not training. Training is when you follow a schedule, such as this one, where each day has a purpose. If the weather is bad, you still run. If you have important business, you simply rise an hour early to run. Why? Because I told you to! And if Hal tells you to rest, you rest. That's what I have scheduled for you today.
Tuesday: Today's workout is a run of 1.5 miles, the same as last week on Tuesday and the same as next week on Tuesday. This workout shouldn't take a great deal of your time: 15 minutes if you run at a 10:00-mile pace. But forget I said that! I don't want you to go out and time yourself for 1.5 miles. In fact, your course doesn't need to be precisely 1.5 miles. It can be about that distance. The easiest way to pick a course of 1.5 miles would be to get in your car and figure out how far you need to run to go about half that distance (0.75 miles), either from your home, from your office or from wherever you plan to run on Tuesdays. Then run this 0.75-mile course out and back. Don't wear a watch, at least for the time being.
Wednesday: Three miles today. Yesterday I discussed how to find a 1.5 mile course, suggesting that you simply get in your car and measure approximately half that distance, then run it out and back. To select a 3-mile course, you obviously could either drive twice as far while measuring courses or run the Tuesday course out and back and out and back again. Or if your 1.5-mile course is a "loop" course, meaning you circle around without retracing your steps, you run this loop twice. But consider selecting a completely different course, perhaps one in a scenic area frequented by other runners. Be inventive. At this stage in your workout, this is a "long" distance for you. You might as well make running as pleasant as possible--and, following last week's advice, don't be afraid to throw in occasional walking breaks if that's what it takes to go the distance.
Thursday: Run 1.5 miles, the same as last week on Thursday, the same as this week on Tuesday. In fact, during the first three weeks of this program, you will do a half dozen runs at this distance. The simplest and easiest way to accomplish this is to run the same measured course each time. But consider having separate Tuesday and Thursday courses. Particularly as the mileage progresses, you may want to bring some variety to your workouts.
Friday: A day of rest. I've been focusing on course measurement for most of this week. You might even call this the "Theme for Week Two." So if you're looking for something to do with your extra time while not running today, go out and measure a series of courses from 1.5 through 6 miles. You'll use them during the remaining weeks of this Spring Training program.
Saturday: Saturdays will continue to be walking days throughout the program, and from a time standpoint, you'll be walking on Saturdays about the same length of time you'll be running most Sundays. This is more from coincidence than from any deep design on my part. Today's walking prescription is 35 minutes. And if tomorrow you run 3.5 miles at 10:00 pace, it would take you about 35 minutes. But don't get hung up on time. Some of you may want to walk or run faster than others; some of you may want to run or walk slower. Speed doesn't count in this program. The important goal is to achieve at your own level of ability.
Sunday: Today's distance is 3.5 miles for your run. Just cover the distance. I don't care how fast you run. In advising people training for a marathon, I usually recommend that they run 45 to 90 seconds slower than the pace at which they plan to run a marathon. But it's too early for you to think marathon pace--if you even plan to run that distance. You may not even know how fast you can run a 5-K, and won't until you try. No problem. Don't sweat the small details. Simply go out and run the prescribed 3.5-mile distance. And remember my earlier advice: if it's too difficult to run that distance without stopping, either slow down or take some walking breaks in the middle of your run. And remind yourself: You're doing great! Today you've finished your second week of serious training.
Running Tips: There are many good reasons why you might want to choose running over another sport. Running is simple and inexpensive. Its a good way to lose weight. It makes you feel good. Running is good for your health. You'll look better and have more energy if you learn to run. There are many more reasons to run than not to run!
How to Improve: Hal Higdon's How To Train offers training schedules and advice on everything from fitness walking to running the marathon. Plus there's information on nutrition and recovering from injuries. Add a copy of this book to your collection. To order an autographed copy of this and other books by Runner's World's best writer go to Books by Hal Higdon.