I Have Entered a Race Next Spring – What Now?

I Have Entered a Race Next Spring – What Now?

I’ve entered a big Spring, race what should I be doing now??
 
A big Spring race such as a marathon or half marathon is a very common goal for runners of all abilities to have set. However when you committed to it some weeks back, the early months of 2012 seemed a lifetime away, yet here we are with the Oxford Street Christmas lights having been switched on and our heads are asking ‘help…….should I already be training?!’……….

The answer is yes!…… You should certainly be completing some running but this definitely shouldn’t be your full race training schedule. Instead this is a time to build the foundation and a strong running base to launch that rocket in 2012!  

Two Types of Temptation- which are you choosing?

  • For some the temptation (and there’s a lot of it about in the festive season) will be to put the running off until January, pretend this looming spring goal doesn’t exist.
  • For others the urge to cover mega distances and get more miles ‘in the bank’ than necessary will take over! As December descends and those social engagements and Christmas parties are sprinkled across the calendar, it will be easy to let the days slip away. You will then promise yourself that the training will begin on January 1st (infact, make that the 2nd)……. but this will only result in feeling stressed about the journey ahead, worried about cramming in the miles come January. So, rather than giving into this temptation, letting busy December get the better of you, begin your base level training now. (You can also then enjoy a few more mince pies!)

If you are new to running, an absolute beginner, then put those trainers on and complete a run/walk session that will be achievable and give you a sense of reward thus motivating you to continue. I suggest a simple 20-minute session of 2min jog/2min walk three times a week. Over the days/weeks gradually increase the amount of jogging and decrease the recoveries. Your aim should be to run 20mins continuously by Christmas.

The second type….. the student who wants to hand their homework in early, is liable to be getting to February mega fit but knackered. Beginning your key training sessions too early can cause you to peak at the wrong time. A good half marathon or marathon schedule should be between 12 and 16 weeks long. So count back from race day and ask yourself have you begun key sessions or long runs too soon?

If your long run is above 90mins at the moment then you are potentially getting carried away. So hold back the distance but continue to work on a good endurance base with regular runs. This doesn’t stop you from doing some threshold running once a week to further enhance your aerobic base.

If, over the last 6months you can’t remember having had a full week to two weeks rest from running or you have raced a few hard races of late and the running bug is tempting you to continue right through to your spring goal, then its time to factor in a rest. A period of between 7-10 days off from training in late Dec/Jan. This will prevent you peaking too soon or hitting fatigue and keep you physically and mentally motivated. Always start your 12 to 16 weeks fit but fresh and definitely ready to rock.

So come on… Get that party started… Ooops, I mean get that TRAINING started and let’s begin 2012 with a smug smile knowing you are prepared!

Nick and Phoebe

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