Runners World Articles: Archives
You may have heard how hill repeats, speed sessions, tempo and
other runs are great training tools. In fact, you may have heard
about so many different training runs that you can't figure out
how to fit them all into your week.
Well, the good news is you don't have to. True, working a variety
of runs into your routine will do more than get you faster and stronger
- it'll keep you motivated. But you can only do so much, and that
means being selective. To help you come up with a personalized training
plan, I have explained how to fit several training components into
Long Runs. Increasing the length of one run per
week will boost your endurance. Slowly work up to a 10-miler, then
run this distance every other week. If you run marathons, keep adding
miles until you hit 18, then run long once every three weeks.
Fun runs. To stay motivated, do these with a running
group as much as possible. Some fun-run ideas:
- See how many different animals, insects, trees, flowers or birds
you can spot.
- Give one person a 30-second head start, then chase him or her
down. The first person to touch the leader becomes the leader.
Take a walking break after every tag.
- Have a joke contest. The person who tells the funniest joke
gets a free lunch or dinner, courtesy of the training group.
Hills. They'll make you stronger. Run longer hills
- a half-mile to a mile long - a little slower than your 10K race
effort, and any shorter hills at 5K effort. Start climbing slowly
(only a little faster than your training pace) and accelerate gradually
as you go up. If you only have small inclines, such as those in
parking garages or on overpasses, approach them at race pace for
100 to 200 meters, then move up the hill with a quick turnover.
Do three to eight hill repeats only once a week.
Tempo Runs. These help you to run smoother and
to maintain your pace in races. After an easy warm-up, run a half-mile
at around your 10K race pace, then jog slowly until you completely
recover; repeat these "tempo" intervals two to three times during
your run. Do this workout once a week.
Strides or gliders. These teach you to relax while
running at a fast pace. Use five to 10 meters of a downhill to build
speed, then glide onto a flat area, maintaining your downhill speed
for as long as you can run smoothly. If you do four to eight of
these twice a week (after an easy mile warm-up), you'll notice a
significant increase in gliding distance a year from now. Sprinkle
these into your regular runs.
Speedplay. Speed sessions done on trails or roads
teach you to maintain pace. During the "speed" segment of your interval
workout, start at your goal race pace, speed up slightly and then
return to race pace. Rest and repeat. Each speed segment should
last two to four minutes. Starting with eight to10 minutes of total
speed segments, increase the duration of each workout by two to
three minutes until you can do 20 to 30 minutes of speed.
Putting It Together
You don't want to do all six types of runs every week because you'll
risk injury. Instead, pick workouts based on your goals. Here are
- Fitness and weight-conscious runners: Schedule a long run once
a week, plus two or three fun runs that last 45 minutes or more.
- Marathoners and half-marathoners: Do a long run every 14 to
21 days and two or three fun runs each week. Work in a speed session,
tempo run or short race on the weekends when you don't have a
long run scheduled.
- Short-distance racers: Run a 5, 8 or 10K race every other week
at most, inserting slow, long runs on the alternate weekends.
Do strides twice a week as part of your other runs and work in
a midweek speed session.
World, Novemeber 1998, p. 38
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