You did it. You signed up. You're IN. Now what?
Time to put a plan in place. Whether you're setting out to run your first 5k, your thirty fifth marathon, or SLO marathon on April 26 (with me!), it's always a good idea to get a plan in place. Now, there are numerous plans you can find online. Many are free, which is cool. As a coach, I write training plans for my clients and I take everything into consideration when writing the plan: your schedule, fitness level, goals, any obstacles that could get in the way of your training – like trips or events coming up, the environment, etc. I will also make adjustments as necessary once you're into the training. Sometimes things come up, like injuries, illness, and sometimes you're pacing so well that we increase the work load to get you to a faster finish. It all depends, a lot can happen in the months leading up to a race.
Here's what you need in your plan:
A goal. Would you love to finish your half in under 2 hours? Maybe this is your first marathon. Write it down.
Print or get a calendar. Mark down your race day. Now, start working your way backwards and figure out how many weeks until you race.
You've absolutely got to plan your runs in order to gradually increase the mileage and incorporate the long run days into your calendar. This is your periodization. The first phase is base training, when you run within your aerobic zone – slow, easy, steady. Next incorporate the key workouts: the long run. Add speed work (intervals, hill repeats, stadium stairs) to make you faster. You've also got to plan your rest & recovery days – no if's and's or but's. Mix in your stretch, roll, and strength training days… and voila!
Be sure to plan for gear: shoes, clothing, fuel belt, heart rate monitor. There is a plethora of gadgets and goodies that runners love to use. Try everything before race day. Practice using and wearing these items especially in your long run. Just like practicing your gear…you gotta practice your fuel and nutrition. Never try anything new on the actual day of the race.
As you complete your run/workout, check it off on the calendar. There's a fun sense of accomplishment by doing this. I like to add up my mileage at the end of the week and also at the end of the month. Look at all those miles!
Trust your training! You can do this! See you at SLO!