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WHAT SHOULD I TRAIN FOR? GUIDE TO THE MOST POPULAR RACE DISTANCES

You’re motivated and eager, however you’re still unsure on what type of running event you should train for?  Have I done enough for my first 10km race? Could I finish a half Marathon? Have I got enough miles in the legs to tackle a full Marathon?

What is involved for each of these distances depends on these three factors.

  1. Your race goals
  2. Your running experience
  3. Your current running fitness

If you have been out of the running scene for quite a while and you’re looking to come back and do a personal best your level of commitment and running involvement would vary quite dramatically compared to someone who has a running base.

Here is an overview of what is involved for the three types of events.  With this background and some planning you will be on your way to the starting line of a running event this winter.

10km RACE

The beauty of a 10km race is that the training is comparatively short therefore it doesn’t have to take over your life.  You can train up for a 10km run effectively in 12 weeks or less if you are an established runner (given no injuries present themselves).  10km is also a good distance if one of your goals is to race hard and fast.

Over the 12 weeks it is important to gradually build your running distance.  This is how your running week could typically look within 6 weeks of training.

Monday: Rest / Stretch Session

Tuesday: Shorter, sharper interval runs (30-45mins)*

Wednesday: Slightly hard run (Tempo Run 40-60mins)

Thursday: Rest / Core or Pilates session

Friday: Avergae paced run; still able to talk (45-60mins)

Weekend: Long, slower run tempo

* these times would change each week

How far and how hard you run really needs to be planned to allow a gradual build.  Ultimately you would aim to have your weekend run up to 10km and possibly even a few 12km runs.  Running the actual race distance not only helps you with your running confidence but you can see how your body copes.

Integrating stretching, core work, pilates and/or massage into your week will also help your body recover and help prevent injuries.

HALF MARATHON

If you are looking for a little challenge or you’d like to step up your running then the half marathon distance is ideal. The 21.1km will challenge your body and mind beyond the 10km distance and with that comes a great feeling of satisfaction. Running in a half marathon event is also a wonderful stepping-stone if you are looking to run a marathon in the future.

To train for a half marathon within a 12week program I would recommend that you are already running around 15km-25km a week. That distance will gradually build to be around 30km-35km a week quite consistently so your running commitment has to be stronger than the shorter 10km events.

There is no “one size fits all” half marathon program out there, so it is important to look at your running base and what you are trying to achieve.  Are you aiming to finish or would you like to crack the 2 hour mark?  With clear goals and intentions more detailed focus and planning is required.  Again, I cannot over emphasize the importance of having a running coach to help you achieve your goals.

This is how your running week could typically look within 6 weeks of training.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Average paced run; still able to talk (60mins)*

Wednesday: Slightly hard run (Tempo Run 40-60mins)

Thursday: Rest OR short easy run (20-30mins)

Friday: Shorter, sharper interval runs (45-60mins)

Saturday: Rest / Other Cardio (Cycle, Walk)

Sunday: Long, slower run (90-120mins)

* these times and the distance covered would change each week

If you are trying to break a specific time (ie; 1:45 finish time) then you really need to focus on your pace when you are running your interval and tempo runs.  The long runs will help you train your mind and prepare you for any ‘dark patches’.  Don’t forget to mix up your running – include hills, trail runs, strength training and drills into your program.

MARATHON

It is strongly recommended that you have a solid running base before you tackle a marathon program.  Marathon training will tap into your ‘personal time’ so it is important that you have clear training plans, determination and perseverance so that motivation can help you build a strong body and mind-set.  A years worth of running in the legs is ideal, but you can train for a marathon in around 18-20 weeks dedicating around 10 hours per week to training.

The main difference between training for a half marathon compared to a marathon is the volume of running, in particular the long run.  Your long run can build up to 28-32km.  You need to learn to LOVE these runs as they are the key session of a successful program.  When you are running long you are teaching your body to burn fat as fuel. Equally important, long runs help train your mind.   Thoughts of doubt will undoubtedly try to take over when you are running long. Taming and controlling these thoughts during training can help you hurdle over them on race day.

This is how your running week could typically look within 6 weeks of training.

Monday: Rest day (These days are extraimportant when marathon training)

Tuesday: Average paced run; still able to talk (60-75mins)*

Wednesday: Slightly hard run (Tempo Run 60mins)

Thursday: Rest, other cardio OR short easy run (45mins)

Friday: Shorter, sharper interval runs (60-75mins)

Saturday: Rest / Other Cardio (Cycle, Walk)

Sunday: Long, slower run (100-150mins)

* these times and the distance covered would change each week

When you are marathon training you need to log how many kilometres you run in your shoes.  If you over use your shoes, injuries might present themselves. With good shoes, socks, a program and a can-do attitude, your marathon goals are within reach!

For any running event, seeking advice and a program from a running coach would also help you achieve your personal goals.   Many of the event website offer programs that you can download.

Hopefully I will see you at the start line of a running event soon.

Happy running!

WHAT SHOULD I TRAIN FOR? GUIDE TO THE MOST POPULAR RACE DISTANCES
Posted on 02-06-2018
By TheAtheletesFoot
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