Spring Training - Novice Schedule, Week 12
Monday: Twelfth Week! Let's see: wasn't that a play by William Shakespeare. No, I guess I'm thinking of Twelfth Night. But you're almost at the end with a lot of running behind you or a lot more ahead if you plan to use this training schedule as a springboard to my 18-week marathon training program, or any other program designed for racing or fitness. In this ultimate week, begin by resting and contemplating how far you've come. Consider also the possibility of entering a 10-K race at the end of the week as a final test of your progress.
Tuesday: Three miles today. If you compare the schedule for this, the last week of my 12-week Spring Training program, you will discover that it is identical to the first week of my 18-week marathon training program. This is by design. Part of the purpose of this program was to get novice runners like yourself ready to slide right into marathon training. If running a marathon is not your goal, you still should have achieved a much higher level of fitness than you had when you began.
Wednesday: Three miles again today. In many of my training programs--particularly those designed for novices--I designate Wednesday as a "hard" day, or at least a day somewhat harder than the rest of the workout week. In my marathon training program, Wednesday workouts peak at 10 miles. Whew, you say. That sounds like an awful lot of mileage. And it is, but 3 miles sounded like an awful lot of mileage when you began this program 12 weeks ago. It's all a matter of point of view.
Thursday: Still another 3-mile run. That's the seventh workout at this distance in the last 10 days. What a bor-r-r-ring coach! Okay, I apologize--but everything is done with a purpose. These are the boring two weeks, but think of the exhilaration you will feel as a result of completing this program. Are you planning to run a 10-K race this weekend? If so, you might cheat on the pace during today's run: slowing down a bit to conserve some energy, even take a walking break or two. Don't overlook that strategy even though it's now relatively easy for you now to run this distance.
Friday: Today, being Friday, it's rest day. Take the day off. If you decide to follow through on my suggestion to run a 10-K race on the weekend, you might want to flip-flop workouts: walking a half hour today and resting on Saturday. If your planned race is Saturday rather than Sunday, juggle your workouts accordingly to make sure you go to the starting line refreshed.
Saturday: Thirty minutes of walking. This should be a very easy walk, particularly if you plan to run a 10-K race tomorrow. Just a stroll in the park will do. Get out and shake your legs. Do some stretching afterwards to loosen your legs. Get to bed early to prepare for tomorrow's run, whether a race or simply a run with friends.
Sunday: The final workout of this program: 6 miles! You might want to make this a ceremonial occasion, considering all of the hard work that got you this far. That is one reason why I suggested a 10-K race for your climactic run. Running in the company of other runners makes what you achieve special, whether racing or just working out. Consider this as the first day of the rest of your running life. And if you plan to move from this 12-week Spring Training program to my 18-week marathon training program, I'll continue to offer you advice on becoming the best runner that you can be.
Running Tips: People differ in their ability and in their fitness level. Not all programs work equally well for everybody. If the progression in this 12-week Spring Training program seemed too hard for you, consider going back and repeating several of the weeks. Only you can judge whether you are pushing too fast or too slow, but it's best to err on the conservative side.
How to Improve: Planning to run a marathon? You won't find a better training schedule than the 18-week program available on this web site. But sometimes it's a bother to go on-line to check your training plan. (Paper still does serve a purpose.) Consider ordering a copy of Hal Higdon's Marathon Training Guide. It's a simple and convenient, 48-page booklet that reprints my on-line schedules for novice and advanced runners. It costs only $4.50, and you can obtain a free copy by ordering Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. To order an autographed copy of these and other of my books, go to Books by Hal Higdon.