How to Create a Training Plan for a Race

G’morning!

Per my training schedule, (which I’ll show you at the end of this post) yesterday I ran four miles with an average pace of 8:58. However, it wasn’t effortless. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I like to run in the morning, not long after I wake up, right after coffee. But lately, I’ve been choosing slumber over mileage, which is completely fine, but it also leaves me to do my runs at night.

I officially do not enjoy running in the evening. My legs are lead, my body feels full and heavy, and my energy is low low low. Plus, there’s the whole two showers a day thing which in my opinion is just a waste of time 😉  Not to mention, my appetite is all out of whack!

Needless to say, I was very excited to do my sunrise speed work run today.

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Unfortunately, my body wasn’t as enthused. Apparently it’s not keen on running again 12 hours later. I felt a twinge in my quad, and knew the elliptical was a better choice 😉

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Over the past few days, I’ve had several questions regarding how I create a training plan for a race.

Now, before I go on, I want to preface this by saying this is what works for ME. The mechanism in which I create my training plan and the criteria that goes into it works wonderfully for me. If you choose to take any of this information and use it for your own training plan, please don’t go by my word verbatim. By this I mean

It is important to keep in mind your schedule, your motivations, and your abilities when creating your training plan.

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Obviously, I’m not a pro. I’ve only been running in races since last summer. What I share in this post is based on my experiences with races and training plans, doing research on running and training plans, and my knowledge as a personal trainer. Consider there’s an unsaid “in my opinion” after every statement 😉 There are, however, professional training plans out there for a multitude of different distances, such as Hal Higdon and Cool Running. Be sure to check those out, too!

How I Create a Training Plan

1. Pick a race. Most recently, I signed up for the Frank Lloyd Wright 10k and the Hot Chocolate 15k. The training plan shown at the bottom of this post includes the training for both races in one training plan. Criteria to keep in mind when choosing your race:

  • Distance – do you want to get faster at a distance you’ve already raced? Strive for a Personal Record? Go for a new distance? These are all things to consider
  • How far away is race day? If you’re planning on running a new distance, or haven’t been keeping up with logging too many miles, it’s best to choose a race that’s at least 6 weeks out; eight weeks is preferable.
  • Terrain – If the race involves multiple hills, and you’re not into including hill repeats into your training plan, stick with a race with a fairly flat course. If you’re ready to tackle the hills, go for it!
  • Weather – If you know you won’t be able to get out and train during super cold temps or in snow, don’t pick a race in January in Illinois. Same goes for running in the summer. If you know the heat and humidity stops your from running, stay away from July races – in any state, really 🙂

2. Once you’ve picked a race, it’s time to come up with some goals. Do you want to run the fastest 10K you’ve ever run? Or are you increasing your race distance from a 10k to a 15k or half marathon? When I create a training plan when my goal is to PR, I include slightly less weekly mileage and add a day of speed work.

So.

  • Speed – For a super speedy run, I make sure to incorporate at least 4 but never more than 5 running days into my week: A long run, an interval run, an easy run, a tempo run, and perhaps a pace run. If I have a four runs/week week, then I usually cut either the interval OR the tempo run, and replace it with some cross training.
  • Distance – When increasing my distance, I tend to hover around 5 running days per week: a long run, an easy run (3 ish miles), a tempo OR interval run, a pace run, and an easy-moderate run (3-6 miles depending on where I am in training.)

3. After determining your goals, consider your schedule and consider yourself. You know yourself. I know running three days in a row is my max. After three running days in a row, I need a rest day or a cross training day. If the thought of running five days a week is already intimidating, knock it down to three or four. In my opinion, the most important runs are these three: 1 long run, 1 easy run, and 1 speed work run. Now, think about when would be best to do your long run. Do you have one day that’s less busy than the others? This is what I base my week around. Right now, I run my long runs on Sunday. So I cushion the days before and after with a rest day and an easier day.

4. Start backwards. I find it easiest to work from the race day to the present day. Decide how long your longest training run will be, and schedule that run at least a week before race day.

5. Implement some strength training. I like to have at least one day of full body strength training, even when I’m at my busiest.

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6. Use your resources! I don’t like to follow preset training plans verbatim, but I do use them for reference. Again, Hal Higdon and Cool Running both have great baselines.

7. Be ready to not follow your training plan. Life happens. Plans change. Body parts will ache! Be flexible with your schedule. Even though I have a training schedule planned out by the day, there’s usually not a week I follow verbatim. Rollllll with the changes. And it’s OK to have to skip a run or two. However, with that said, it’s usually pretty important not to skip the long runs, in my opinion.

Currently I have two upcoming races, and I’ll probably throw in a 5k (hopefully)  soon too. I’ll have to tweak it a bit, but no big deal 😉 The thing is, I have two different goals within one training plan. For the 10k, my goal is to get a PR. And the for 15k it’s to build up my distance. I haven’t run more than 8.5 miles since my half marathon in May. So it kinda transitions a bit mid way through.

So with all of this in mind, I created my 2+ month training plans for my upcoming races.

Paige’s 10k + 15k Training Plan

I’m sure there will be TONS of tweaks along the way 😉

Do you have any additional tips or suggestions for creating your own training plan? I know there’s stuff I’m forgetting. Speak up! 😀

**Before I go… if you’re looking for something to do tonight, head on over to the Twitter party! LOL yes –  a party on Twitter. It’s hosted by Thermos about their new series of cold matters. The party is tonight at 8pm ET/7pm CT. Join @ThermosBrand to celebrate the launch of our new series with a group of renowned health and fitness experts (including Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point !)as the cold matters coaches. Ask questions, provide tips about what matters to you and help your family stay active, cool and hydrated through the rest of the summer. Participate using the #ThermosCold hashtag and you will automatically be entered to win some of their newest insulated hydration products.

Off for another busy day! “See” you all tomorrow 😀

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From Training to Run to Training to Race

Hi friends! Happy almost Friday:D

I enjoyed reading which type of weather tickles your workout fancy in this morning’s post 🙂 However, I’m not sure about you guys who actually enjoy running in the winter. Faith, I don’t know how you do it!

I mentioned in the post that I’m incorporating tempo runs back into my training schedule, but I didn’t really go into why. Tempo runs are a great way to increase your speed and endurance. Each of which I’m looking to do…because I finally did it.

I signed up for my next race!

 

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This whole summer, my running has been great (for me.) I’ve been on a running schedule of 4-ish runs per week, including at least one speed workout and one long run. I considered it training, I just…didn’t have anything to train…for. But I was sure training! I’d joke and say, “ok, well I’m heading out on a training run – gotta train for my next run!” hehe So, now I actually have an event in my horizons to put all of my running effort to good use.

Last year I ran in the Frank Lloyd Wright 10K in Oak Park and it was absolutely beautiful!

 

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However, my training for this race was not so beautiful. To put it plain and simple, I didn’t want the PR enough to blow it out of the water. I came in a few seconds ahead of my first 10k, and the race was fun, pretty, and memorable, but this time I want to really improve my speed. (Full 10k recap) And even better this time around, I’m running it with BFF Kim and we’re staying with BFF Destiny!

But it doesn’t stop there! I am also signing up to run the Hot Chocolate 15k in Chicago in November! 😀

 

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Um, I’m pretty sure I need to be involved in anything sponsored by Ghirardelli.

I’m still tweaking my training plan for the two races, but I plan to have it up on the blog by this weekend. I plan to run the 15k with my cousin (hopefully!) and a few new Chicago friends I met at the Healthy Living Summit this weekend! (Hi Amy and Megan…and everyone else!:) and I’m so excited! I’ve never run a 15k before, but have been itching to run another longer distance since my half marathon.

Now I’d like to find one more 5k to run in before the summer ends and I’ll consider my 2010 race quota met.

In hindsight, it was actually pretty fun running without an event in mind. I did it for the better part of the summer. In fact, I’ve only run in two races this year! I just wasn’t feelin’ signing up for a race, so I didn’t. But now the feeling’s back 😉

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Well I’ve had a marathon (pun! ha..) of a day, so it’s about time I retired with some Family Guy, my guy, and the pupster 🙂 Have a lovely night and wonderful Friday morning!!

What’s next on your fitness agenda? Are you training for a race? Trying out new classes? Just training to train? Obviously for me, I’m training for races for now, but in the winter I plan on trying out some workout DVD’s I’ve been wanting to try. I absolutely refuse to workout indoors too much in the summer in Illinois, because in the winter it becomes impossible to workout OUTdoors at time. Gotta take advantage 🙂

Buenos noches!!

Oh, Saturday…a Race Recap!

Goooood morning! How has your weekend gone so far? Going great so far here:)

I’m currently digesting a big bowl of banana oatmeal:

 

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Mmmm! To make this I just heated up 1 c. water, 1/2 c. oats, 1 T flax, 1 T. chia, and 1 smashed organic banana on the stove until boiling, then simmered, and added a handful of raisins. Topped it off with some coconut almond butter syrup! To make this, just heat up a little coconut butter, almond butter, and coconut milk in the microwave,stir, and poooour on. SO good, but SO filling. I could only eat about 3/4’s of it.

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Yesterday I ran in the first 5k of the year! It was at our city’s zoo – the Zoo Stampede run.

 

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(finisher’s medal)

The race wasn’t until 10:00, so I woke up around 7, and made a stabilizing and filling pre-race breakfast made with these ingredients:

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Brown rice flour toast – one piece with Earth Balance and organic jelly, and the other with my usual pre-workout snack used as a spread! This spread consists one a half a smashed banana, 1 T. almond butter, cinnamon, and maca.

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And then a fresh mango!

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Mmm. First one of those of the season, too 😀

After hanging around a little while, the hubski and I drove over to the zoo to get our race faces on!

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the memory card to my camera, and the only pictures I got were after the race:

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Booo:(

Albeit not being able to document the race with photos, it went wonderfully! Seriously it couldn’t have been a better day. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and it wasn’t extremely cold (mid-upper thirties.) And right before getting in the starting line, I saw Christine (from Fly Runner.) That’s all I saw of her though, because I’m pretty sure she was one of the first few through the finish line!!

After I got my race bib and t-shirt, I had about a half hour before the start, and decided to jog a warm up mile or two. Can you believe this is the first time I’ve actually “warmed up” before a race?! Usually I just use the first half mile or so of the race to warm up, and go from there. Anyway, the warm up must have helped a lot, because the race went great!

My goal was to hold a 9:00 mile for the race. Since my training has really been focusing on distance and mileage as opposed to speed, I wasn’t trying to break any personal records. But to my surprise, I was holding an 8:36 mile quite easily the whole way through! It was really just a nice, relaxing, fun, quick run! The course wasn’t very flat, either! There were probably about 5 hills throughout the course, and I handled them quite well (for me) for not doing any hill workouts. During the last three 10th’s of a mile, I really booked it, and came in 27:03! It’s not a PR or anything, but it’s MUCH better than I had hoped I’d do 😀

My mom and dad came to watch, too, and afterward, we all went out to lunch at Fiesta Ranchera, one of the Mexican restaurants in town:

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BYOK (Bring your own kombucha)

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I went with the ever-impressive veggie fajitas w/ guac – LOVE iiiit! 😀

Afterward, we did a little shopping (only to come out unsuccessful – boo:( ) and went to Fresh Market for some goods.

After separating and putting away the groceries, Euchre sounded fun!

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My dad and my dog who is OBSESSED with him.

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And vice versa 😉

Me and my ma 😀 Us girls ended up kicking BOOTY in euchre, btw. Oh yeah, that’s right!!

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The parental unit left shortly after, but the husbski and I weren’t ready to stop the shenanigans. Oh, Saturday. I was super pumped to see Alice and Wonderland, so Shane and I decided to go check it out in 3D!

Shane was just going to have movie popcorn for dinner, but since that ended up being my dinner Friday night, I made myself a pre-popcorn dinner before hand:

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This salad was amazingly easy and amazingly tasty. Contained spinach, cucumber, avocado, button mushroom, 1 egg and 1 egg white, and goat cheese.

And of course I munched on some popcorn at the movie as well 😉

It was actually my first time seeing a 3d movie! It took my eyes a bit to adjust, but when they did, I loved it! The movie was pretty good, too. It kept my interest for the whole duration, which is saying something for me.

Now I’m about to go meet my friend, Heidi at the gym for some legs and running, and then to the coffee shop! It’s pretty much become a tradition that we gym it and grab coffee afterwards at least once a weekend 🙂 The rest of my day will be spent doing mounds of laundry and mounds of cleaning! Nothing like putting all that stuff off until Sunday 😀

Have a fabulous end to your weekend, all!

Let the Race Season Begin!

Hey all!

Thanks for all your responses about not feeling like myself in my last post. Sounds like most of us feel a little off when we have stress in our lives! Hopefully this little funk will pass soon. After all, our mood can most certainly be a self-fulfilling prophecy! 😀

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So I did it – I signed up for the first race of 2010. Let race season begin! Well, almost.

January is my last “off month” for training. I’m going to spend the rest of the month doing more yoga, more group classes, and more cross training.

Then when February hits (and actually probably late January,) I’m getting my training face on. Oh yeah, bring it!

The first race is in early March, but it’s just a 5k, which I run twice a week now anyway, so I figure I’ll be fine with only a little over a  month of actual training for it. Besides, it’s going to be a fun race anyway!

I’m running it with one of my besties, Kim (who I went on the cruise with.) It’s her first race ever, so I’m super pumped for her! She runs regularly though, so I’m sure we’ll be running for both time and enjoyment 😀

Either way, I’m sure you can tell, I’m pumped. The only thing that can make races even better is running them with a friend!

So after enjoying my last couple weeks of cross training (aka Paige is too much of a sissy to run in single digit temps) I’ll be going back to a schedule of four-five days of running.

 

Just thinking about race season got me so pumped that I tentatively decided to get started on accomplishing one of my 2010 goalsI picked a race for my first ever half marathon! There’s a half marathon about an hour away from my town on May 1st, and I’m thinking I’m going to sign up for it. Who am I kidding, I’ve already created my 12 week training program (which I’ll post in my Workout Log tab soon.)

I’ve also been thinking about doing something to kick the race season up a notch for me. However, I’m not 100% about it yet. It’s something that will be just a bit time intensive. I still have to decide if I can commit (fully) to it along with possibly training part-time. I don’t want to overload myself, but it’s something I really want to do. We shall see. I have to decide by the end of January, so I’ll let you all know by then what I’m talking about.

Yaaaay for race season! 🙂

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Work today sped by, and I spent the entire work day trying to catch it. Busy bee I was, I left work somewhat on time, I ventured straight to the gym where I got in a good hour long sweat session.

After showering, I realized how hungry I was! I had eaten a Cherry Pie Lara Bar around 3:00, but was still famished from working out when I got home. I tore into some chips and homemade hummus before getting started on dinner:

 

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I’ve had an acorn squash I’ve been wanting to play with for a few days, and decided tonight would be just as good a night as any to do it.

Tonight I made a combination that I’ve never done before – sausage (meatless) and apple stuffed acorn squash!

 

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Such a delicious combination!

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I usually just go with sweet for squashes, but this sweet + savory combination was definitely a winner. I loosely followed the recipe here (and obviously used meatless sausage – Tofurkey to be specific, rather than pork.)

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With a wee side salad of romaine, spinach, tomatoes, and Goddess. Nom.

Pleasantly full with healthy and delicious food, I digested while catching up with laundry, your lovely bloggies, and a little reading.

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Heyyy, how’d that chocolate get there 😉 Such great tasting dark chocolate.

You guys, I’m really liking this book. Although, it’s not going to transform me into being a vegan overnight, it definitely puts information that I knew and have heard before into a different perspective. I think having an open mind is very important, and Alicia’s way of telling her side has me really intrigued. I’m not ready to make the switch from vegetarian to vegan (that’s a huge commitment I’m just not ready to make) yet, but she makes very valid points without being pushy or judgmental. 

Plus I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes 😀

Does your work out routine change during certain times of the year? Or do you stick to the same schedule pretty consistently year round? As I explained above (and in my fitness story) my workout schedule changes when I start training for races. However, before I started racing, I would switch up my routine 2-3 times a year as well. I think it’s important to put some variance in my workout routine, as to not become bored or burnt out. You can switch it up with classes, cross training, workout DVD’s, new activities – such as cycling or yoga, upping your reps and lowering your weights and vice versa…the options are endless!