Spring Training - Novice Schedule, Week 5
Monday: You are one-third of the way through my Spring Training program with four weeks behind you and eight weeks ahead. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to evaluate your equipment beginning with your footwear. On this day of rest, consider how well you are being served by your running shoes. In fact, they may not even be "running" shoes. If you are a beginner, you may simply have grabbed any soft pair of shoes you found in the closet when you started to run. That's not bad advice for someone who is not sure yet whether he or she wants to be a runner. You can get away with wearing tennis shoes or cross-training shoes when running occasionally, but now you're a serious runner. If you haven't already done so, visit a running store and get a pair of shoes better suited for your purpose.
Tuesday: Two miles today. Did you ever think that some day you might be able to run this far? Is running getting easier for you, or is it still a struggle? If the latter, maybe you're pushing too hard. Slow down. Don't be embarrassed to stop to walk. I often walk in marathons, particularly when taking a drink. For you at this stage in your training, 2.0 miles is like a 26.2-mile marathon, so pamper yourself. One scenario would be to run a half mile, walk 15-30 seconds, run the next half mile, walk again, and so forth. Even while you're walking, you're still moving forward and covering the distance.
Wednesday: Three miles of running today, the "tough" workout day in the middle of the week. But does this run of 3.0 miles still seem hard to you? Hopefully you're starting to get in shape so that running for a half hour or more is no longer quite the struggle it once was. You should feel confident. You're a certified runner! If people pass you on the jogging path, greet them a wave, a smile, a hearty "hello!" Say to yourself, "I'm a runner too!"
Thursday: Two miles today, the same as Tuesday. This is another slight increase in mileage from the 1.5 miles you ran on Thursdays the previous four weeks. Keeping the theme of running equipment begun on Monday, while shoes are the most important item of equipment a runner can own, comfortable clothing also is a must. If it's still cold, you will want to layer on levels of clothing as the best approach to coping with varying temperature levels. And while you want to stay warm, the worst sin is to overdress so that you finish soaked with sweat. Keep experimenting with different clothing variations. You'll figure it out.
Friday: Today being a rest day, maybe this is a day to head to that running store to purchase some of the items of clothing discussed earlier in the week. And make sure it is a running store. While you might be able to find better "bargains" at chain stores in the mall, it's better to shop in a specialty store owned by runners who understand our sport. (Please note the purposeful use of the word "our.")
Saturday: I always save the more difficult workouts for the weekends. This is because most runners have more time on the weekends than they do during the week. And today's walk is your longest--45 minutes--so you will need some extra time. Normally, I don't care how fast runners run on their running days, but I prefer walkers walk at what might be called a brisk pace. What do I mean by "brisk?" You'll have to answer that question yourself, but you don't want to break your walk too often to sniff the flowers. This is a workout, so continue to move along.
Sunday: I forgot to mention it at the beginning of the week, but this is another "stepback" week with the mileage slightly less than the week before: 10 total miles vs. 10.5 miles. And your long run today is 3.0 miles instead of the 4.0 miles you ran last Sunday and the 4.5 miles you'll be asked to run next Sunday. Does this workout seem too easy for you in your advanced state of condition? You might want to consider picking up the pace a bit in the final mile just to see how you feel.
Running Tips: While shoes are the only essential item of clothing needed to begin running, you want to dress comfortably, if not fashionably. For your first steps as a walker, jogger or runner, you can grab almost anything out of your clothing drawers. As you begin to run more often and over further distances, you will want to dress for comfort. Before you start to make clothing purchases, check the other runners you see on the jogging paths of your city. For help picking your running garb, visit a local running store--and don't hesitate to ask other runners why they dress the way they do.
How to Improve: Run Fast is one of Hal Higdon's most popular books, having sold over 50,000 copies so far. It is designed to help runners improve their 5-K and 10-K times, but the information you'll find in this handy book can help you with all of your training, from beginner to marathoner. To order an autographed copy of this and other books by Runner's World's best writer go to Books by Hal Higdon.