Monday, 17 March 2014

10k Training Plan {beginner - intermediate}

Here's my adaptation of a Runner's World 10k training plan I first used back in 2011.  This was the first training plan I had  followed and I was determined to see it through!  I signed up for my race and started planning.  Although some days were pretty tough over all I found the plan really enjoyable and, importantly, achievable.

It showed me that I could push myself to run further but also the importance of not over doing it by having regular rest days and integrating cross-training into my schedule.  The plan is time rather than distance based which I think is a lot easier when you're starting out and flexible enough to fit into your week.  The general rule is 5 days on, 2 off every week but plan ahead and work it round you're diary.  Some weeks I've taken 3 rest days if I know I'm away or already have plans.  Last time I followed this training plan I got great results, but I stuck to it meticulously and didn't skip sessions (or importantly rest days!).


Rest:  Some people see rest days as 'non-running' days when cross-training or low impact exercise can be carried out. For me rest days are 'complete' rest days.  Gentle exercise such as yoga or pilates, walking or at a push swimming would be ok but generally I let my body fully recover on rest days.

Cross-training:  This is what I would refer to as 'non-running' days.  In my case I would fit these around netball sessions but also incorporate be cycling, swimming, a gym session, boot-camp type exercises.  Anything that gives you a work out without too much consistent heavy impact on your legs is a good rule of thumb.

Run/Easy run/Recovery run:  I'm more of a tortoise than a hare and run at a pretty consistent pace.  If my 'normal' pace is 50% I would class a run as 60%, easy run as 50% and recovery run as 40%.

Threshold run:  A threshold run is essentially a higher temp run, not sprinting but a definite pick up in pace.  So for me this would be 70-80%.

Long run:  My advice for your long runs is to keep them steady.  Nothing will discourage you more than getting half way into your 60min run and running out of steam.  I use long runs as a test of endurance so will scale back the pace to 40-50% to ensure I can keep going with limited (or no) breaks.

Tapering:  Another thing this training plan taught me was the importance of tapering before a race.  After 9 pretty intense weeks of training it will seem really strange having a very light week leading up to your big day, but it is so necessary.  Not only will your body get a proper chance to recover but you'll be buzzing with energy come race day!

The Plan

Good luck!  

 photo elliesig_zps47aabffe.jpg

Friday, 7 March 2014

I love running {when I'm done}

Running is hard.  But strangely addictive and even (dare I say it) quite fun once you get past the pain barrier.  The problem with running is that for it to remain fun you need to keep at it and every time you have a substantial break you have to start again, maybe not from scratch, but unfortunately (as with many things) you can’t expect to pick up from where you left off 6 months/a year ago. 

I’ve had an on-off relationship with running over the years.  And I always regret stopping once I remember how hard re-starting is!  But after a few ‘I hate it, I hate it’ weeks which end with me collapsing on my living room floor, my body finally remembers that actually, this is ok – hard – but ok and I start thinking about my shopping list, noticing how lovely the view is, planning ways of getting out of the canal in case I trip and fall in….. 

Old faithfuls
The key to success, as with exercise in general, is to build up steadily and this can be particularly hard when you’ve been fit in the past or are returning from injury etc but it is sooooo important.  Otherwise you will inevitably end up injured, disillusioned and generally unhappy.  And the day you get home from your usual route having managed not to stop for breath and thinking ‘that wasn’t so bad’ all the ‘bitch runs’ (as I lovingly refer to them) have suddenly been worth it.  Then you have the opportunity, and ability, to carry on, go that bit further or faster or maybe even the confidence to sign up for a race!  (Race for Life for you girlies, as well as being for a good cause, is a great introduction race!)

Every January for the last few years I've said to myself "this year I'm going to run a half marathon", yet alas no half marathon has happened.  A couple of years ago I ran the RatRace Trailblazer 10k in the beautiful Forest of Dean and ever since then I've had my eye on the Forest of Dean half marathon.  But I haven't yet managed to pluck up the motivation or the courage to actually put in the training, sign up and give it a go.

Forest of Dean Trailblazer 10k

Well this year I turned 30 and would love to achieve this goal.  First things first, I need to rediscover my running mojo.  I've not ran a race since last June and although I regularly play netball I haven’t ran regularly over the last year.  

So where to start?  As I mentioned before, slowly but surely, that’s where. Annoying at it is I need to be patient and remember that fitness does not return overnight.  And also that the first few runs are going to be the worst (my ‘bitch runs’) and it's best to just get on with it and them out the way.

So a couple of weeks ago I dusted off my runnng trainers and started slogging (gently) round the estate to get going and attempt rediscover my joy of running.  As I thought, the first few outings were the worst.  But they’re done, hurrah!  I pushed myself a bit further (5km) last weekend and when I went for my usual 20 min (~3km) route tonight it definitely started to feel better.  Result.

So what next?  Running for fun is great but having a goal is the best motivation.  So with this in mind, and sticking with my slowly but surely moto, I'm going to start taking part in my local Parkrun event - weekly, free, 5km timed runs that take place all around the world. 

Post race glee!
Then I'm going to sign up for this year's Trailblazer 10k in the spring before, dun dun duuuuun.... registering for the Autumn Forest of Dean half marathon.  Eeek!  I may even try out my local running club, but lets not run before we can walk, as it were...

Wish me luck and get those trainers out!

 photo elliesig_zps47aabffe.jpg

Take a peek at my training plans: 

10k Training Plan {beginner - intermediate}