Having a Training Plan

I have discussed training plans a couple of times on my blog lately as we move into the fall season, so these tips from Jeff Galloway came at a great time! I hope you find them as helpful as I did.

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WHY SHOULD I HAVE A TRAINING PLAN? When using a proven strategy, a runner gains control over fatigue while improving motivation. Those who follow the right training plan, for the individual, tend to improve more, with less injury risk.
WOULD BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM A PLAN Unfortunately, most beginners “run as they feel” or follow conflicting advice. This leads to confusion and more aches and pains. The right schedule will systematically increase the type of running needed for a goal, with strategic rest for rebuilding.
KEY TRAINING ELEMENTS:

1) A longer run builds endurance, 2) a hilly run builds strength, 3) Scenic or social runs insert fun and keep you coming back for more.
WHAT IS ADDED TO A PLAN IF THE GOAL IS TO RUN FASTER? The right training plan will gradually increase the speed repetitions needed for the individual goal. Easier days and rest days must be inserted before and after speed workouts. To avoid injury, the pace and the increase must be realistic for the individual.
EVERY OTHER DAY! Most runners—especially beginners—run best when they run every other day. This allows for the “weak links” to heal. The very slow long run is usually on the weekend, when there is more time available. Hills and fun days can be run on the short runs during the week (for example,Tuesday and Thursday)

SHOULD I EXERCISE ON NON-RUNNING DAYS? While you don’t have to exert yourself on non running days to improve your running, exercise will energize your mind, and improve your attitude and vitality—while burning some fat. So I recommend any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle, such as recreational walking.
DOES VARIETY HELP? Changing things a bit can improve motivation. You don’t have to change the “mission” on specific days, but alternating some of the courses or running with different groups can make each day more interesting.

WHAT ARE VARIOUS MISSIONS, FOR VARIOUS DAYS? Each type of run bestows a different benefit. Hill runs build strength. Drills that work on cadence, gentle acceleration and gliding will improve your running form. Long runs produce stamina and endurance.

WHAT SHOULD I DO THE DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER LONG OR FASTER RUNS? Take it easy on these days. Do little or no exercise, don’t over-eat, drink 8 glasses of water/sports drinks, and focus on how you will enjoy the next run.
SHOULD I SKIP THE REST DAYS—TO IMPROVE MORE QUICKLY. Not Recommended! It is during the days off from running that the running body rebuilds and improves. While some runners can get away with running short and slow runs on rest days for a while, these “junk miles” can compromise recovery and lead to injuries.

IF I DON’T LIKE A WORKOUT CAN I SUBSTITUTE? Following a consistent plan is more likely to lead to success and improve motivation. Those who pick various elements from different schedules experience more burnout and injury.

QOTD: Anything you would add to this?

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Dumbo Double Training Plan

My buddy Jen posted her runDisney Dumbo Double Dare training plans last week and I realized just how quickly this race is sneaking up on me!

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(The race calls for a 10k Saturday and a half marathon Sunday). I will be taking the 10k VERY easy for this one! I have been on a distance running hiatus since the Princess half, and while it was good for my brain, it’s not good for my fitness level! Not only have I lost a lot of my running fitness, but a couple of unwanted pounds have crept on, which I know will go away once I start training again. I think I am going to start my training next Monday.

This scares me, because I seem to have a strange problem with training plans, in that I NEVER follow them like I am supposed to. I either get hurt, sick, or go out of town and the plan goes out the window. I am determined to stick with it this time and see how it helps me.

I decided on a modified version of the Runner’s World smart coach training plan. I finally learned that I run best when I run 3 days a week, with the occasional 4 days a week. So, what I plan to do is run three days a week, and run four days every other week. I think it’s a pretty good compromise. There are two shorter easy runs every week, so I just plan to take out one of those very other week and make it a cross training/weight lifting day instead, or if I feel I need an extra day of rest I will take it (otherwise I will take ONE complete day off a week).

Here is what a 2 week span will look like at the beginning of the plan:

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I will rest on Sundays, and on the first week I will take out the Thursday easy run and make it a cross training day, but keep the schedule as is for week two. Hopefully I can make it through to the end!

Strength training: I will strength train 3 times a week. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. No legs on Friday since I will long run Saturday. Will most likely do legs on Mondays. On Tuesday and Friday I will do chest/tri’s and bi’s/back with abs thrown in both days.

Cross training: Since Monday is an easy run day I will probably continue to also take my body pump class and do legs on that day. On my other cross training days I will rotate between the elliptical, stationary bike, and walking the treadmill at a high incline. Hopefully lots of stretching and foam rolling will also take place!

Being realistic: In a perfect world, I would hit ever workout perfectly every week, but things come up, you get sick, you travel, so I may be changing some days up, but I will still hopefully complete the training plan even if I have to miss or change a day here or there. Not beating myself up for it is important!

Back to back runs: My plan is to take the 10k VERY slowly, so I am not as concerned with back to back runs like I was for goofy running a half and a full. I may change up a couple of the weeks to where I have two runs back to back to get the feel of it, but I won’t be doing it all the time.

QOTD: Do you follow a training plan or do your own thing?

July Goals 2012

 

Happy 4th of July eve! There is excitement in this house since we get the day off tomorrow! A day off in the middle of the week is always interesting. While I would rather it be tacked onto a weekend, it’s better than nothing, amen?

So I am a couple days late, but I wanted to talk to you about my July goals, and how I did with my June goals. (Some good, some…major fail.) So let’s start with June then I will share July’s goals.

Drink more water (A-):  I did pretty good at this in June, however, I feel this is an area in which there is always need for improvement. I try to chug a glass first thing in the morning and then keep refilling during the day, and especially during and after workouts! of course, I am sure a few snow balls will be thrown in there somewhere!

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Keep up with my training plan (B+): I have my training plan on my refrigerator, and I write on it and highlight it as I do my workouts. I have run the amount of days I a supposed to for every run, but I have cut some runs short due to heat and run a bit slower than I was supposed to again due to heat.

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Read my Bible every day (A-): I have been reading every day during the weekdays, but some Saturdays I wasn’t home or forgot. I am very proud of my consistency on weekdays though and plan to keep this up forever! I have a routine now, after I run in the mornings I sit outside with the pups and read while I cool off.

Foam roll (D+): Oh boy. I am ashamed to say I haven’t been rolling like I should be. I keep the foam roller upstairs in the bonus room so honestly, if I don’t go up there I just plain forget. I am going to really try and do better with this one this month, I don’t want to get injured again!

Take more pictures with my DSLR camera (F): Oy. This was a major, major fail. I don’t think I picked up my camera at all this month. How embarrassing! My iPhone is just so convenient. We are going to the beach next week, and I am DEFINITELY going to take a bunch of photos with my good camera. This is another one I am determined to do better on!

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July Goals

Foam Roll: See failed June goal above. Enough said.

Take more photos with my DSLR camera: ditto ditto ditto. I hang my head in shame.

Read 2 books: I truly love reading, and am hoping to accomplish part of this goal when I go to the beach next week. Should be a no brainer, right?

Unplug more on the weekends: I know I will never completely unplug for a whole day (I can’t since I work some on the weekends via the internet/email) but I would love to stay off social media more often on the weekends and enjoy life with my family. I will still blog and occasionally tweet etc. But I don’t want to sit in front of a computer on the weekends.

Cook 2 new recipes: I made a enchilada casserole with ground turkey last week and Bobby loved it, so now I want to explore some more new recipes. I get tired of eating the same stuff every week. I need to add meals to my arsenal!

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QOTD: What is a goal you have for July?

I Pick Things Up and Put Them Down

 

Several of you have asked me about my weight lifting routine, especially how it incorporates into my half marathon training plan. I have now been consistently lifting since December, and while I don’t look ripped like I would like to, I am definitely more toned and lean.

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Bobby is my lifting partner, and he has been lifting since 7th grade. He knows a lot about it, what days to do what things, and helps make sure I am keeping proper form, etc.

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Our routine is broken up into two different days. We do back and biceps on one day, and chest and triceps on the alternating day. We throw in a little bit of abs pretty much every time, and I do legs on run days AFTER I have already run. Since I don’t run two days in a row, the next day is a cross training day so sore legs don’t affect my runs. I do NOT lift legs the day before a long run.

These are the machines we typically use on each set of days:

Chest/Triceps

-tricep extensions

-chest press

-pectoral fly

-incline press

 

Biceps/Back

-bicep curl

-fixed pulldown

-rear deltoid

 

Abdominals

-abdominal crunch

-torso rotation

-ab ball/crunches

 

Legs

-leg press

-leg extension

-seated leg curl

*we also use free weights on both days, I have been working on strengthening my stabilizer muscles

We do 15 reps for three sets on each exercise. Swapping out in between to rest. We also get water in between certain difficult sets, and throw in our ab machines in between sets of upper body for a small arm break!

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Also, on running days, I run in the morning then lift with Bobby at night, sometimes doing some cross training as well. Regardless, we always lift before doing cardio.

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QOTD: Do you lift? Are you looking to get into it more? What is stopping you!? What is your favorite machine at the gym?

June Goals 2012

 

Greetings! I first want to extend a warm hello to any new readers who found me after my feature as Women’s Running magazine’s Blogger on the run. I took some time and read through every comment (all 750+ of them!) and some of you said some really sweet things about my blog, and I so appreciate you all!

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FAQ

Ok, so today is the first day of June (wow!) and I decided it was high time I set some goals for myself. I am relatively goal oriented, (aren’t most runners?) and work well when I have something to…well…work towards. I did a little brainstorming, and this is what I came up with for June:

Drink more water: I live in coastal MS. It’s hot and humid. I know I need to start upping my water intake with this heat, and the fact that I am constantly sweating during workouts from the second I walk out the door. I mean, am I going outside or walking straight into a tank full of water? I despise humidity! We have a zero water filter that we love and use every day. I need to start keeping track with how many times I refill it a day to make sure I am getting enough liquid.

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Keep up with my training plan: Two days ago, I shared with you all that I had just started a new half marathon training plan and I REALLY wanted to stick with it. Only time will tell, but this is a big goal for me! I have completed two days so far, but still have a long way to go.

Read my Bible every day: I am actually usually pretty good about this and get 5-6 days in a week, but I want to be more consistent every day of the week, not just most of the time.

Foam Roll: This needs to be a constant goal for me. With my very tight and angry IT bands and the prior issues I have had with them, I really need to remember to be proactive with this one and not wait until it starts to hurt me again to foam roll. This is just pure laziness on my part.

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Take more pictures with my DSLR: Folks I have gotten lazy. With my new iPhone, I have hardly picked up my “good” camera, except for when I am on vacation or at a particular event. The result is sub-par photos on my blog. Yes, it’s easier for me, but I need to stop with the excuses and just do it!

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QOTD: Do you have any goals for June? I would love to hear them!

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A New Plan

 

Greetings friends! My days are all thrown off since we were off Monday. Can’t believe it’s Wednesday already! Not that I’m complaining or anything. So, today I wanted to talk training plans with you. I know there are SO many different options and opinions, so why not give you mine, right?

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Everyone loves giving opinions. Don’t you want to hear mine?!

I am going to have a RWS “honestly moment” and share a little tidbit with you. I have NEVER followed one training plan all the way through. I have taken plans, thrown them together and come up with “my own thing” a few times….and here’s the deal….

50% of me saying that is because I didn’t fully like one plan so I mashed two together to get something agreeable.

50% of me saying that is because I can get lazy and complacent and so when I don’t feel like doing a hard workout I can chalk it up to “well I am doing my own training plan so I don’t really have to do this run today.” Lame-o I know, but true.

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Can anyone relate? Am I the only one guilty of doing this? Well, this time it’s going to be different!

That being said, I am DETERMINED to, just for one training cycle, follow ONE plan all the way through and see where it takes me. The only changing I will be doing is switching a day here or there, or adding in more strength training because I don’t want to give that up. But the running, yup. Gonna do it. YOU ARE MY WITNESSES! I need you friends. My race is September 2, and it is going to be hard for me to get in some of these long runs in the heat.

This is briefly what my Smart coach plan from Runner’s World looks like:

Running: 4 x’s a week. Easy run, tempo run or speed work, easy run, long run.

Cross Train: It says “rest/XT” on 3 days. I will take at least one full day of rest, XT the other 2 and weight lift on my XT days and my easy run days.

Apparently, if I follow this plan, I can shave a good 11 minutes or so off my time which would be awesome. I am very curious to see if this actually works. We will find out soon enough eh? I can do this, I NEED to prove to myself I can follow through with that.

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QOTD: Do you follow a training plan when you are preparing for a race, wing it, mesh plans together, or something else?

Anyone notice my new social media icons on my sidebar under my picture? Check out all the different ways you can follow me! (Wow that sounded kind of stalker-ish!) Anyway, be sure to check out the cute new icons and links.

Off Season Plan

 

A few days ago, I talked about lacking off season motivation for the summer heat that has already hit down south. I got a few good suggestions from you all, and you seemed to like the vague ideas I gave. Be sure to check out the comments for a few great idea from some RWS readers! I have had some time to think over a more specific plan so this is what I have come up with.

Running:

I plan to scale back from 4 days a week (what I typically do when training) to 3 days a week. This will include: 1 easy run, 1 “getting longer” run (no more than 6-7 mile until August) and one interval/speedy run. I have a goal in mind, so my plan for my interval runs is to run at my goal time and keep adding mileage (at my goal pace). I know this will take awhile, but hey, I have over 5 months!

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Yoga:

I plan to continue to go to my once weekly class, and also add in at least one other day when I do some good yoga/stretching on my own. I get injured less when I am doing yoga, so I definitely don’t want this one to slide, even though it would be easy to not do this one.

Weights:

I have consistently been lifting for five months now, but haven’t upped the weights as much as I should be. My plan is to start lifting heavier and putting a little more effort into trouble zones like my abs and also work on my leg strength for running

Cross Training:

Since I will only be running three days, I plan to up the cross training and try to do a variety of things. I will still do the elliptical and stationary bike, but I also want to play volleyball, walk the dogs, swim in the neighborhood/YMCA pool, throw the Frisbee, do workout DVD’s, etc. I want to really try some things I don’t normally do to work different muscles.

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So, that’s my loose plan friends. For the QOTD: I would love to know your thoughts

You Know You

 

Now that Disney Princess is over, as well as RnR New Orleans, it’s time to think about my “spring” training plan. I use the term loosely because it has been spring around here for a long time. Our grass is green already, bees are out, flowers have bloomed.

I have a rule that I will not race in the south between the months of June and September. If I race, it will be a destination race. With the heat and humidity, it’s a death wish. This means I have 2.5 months left to do any type of racing locally.

As far as things I have already signed up for, I will be running a 5k on Saturday, and a half marathon in Pensacola on April 15. I have been focusing on that half since RnR NOLA. I really want to PR, but I also have to be realistic because mid April at the beach around here means it’s most likely going to be hot and humid. I am going to pretend like I am training for any other half, and just hope for the best.

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This is how I am tackling the next month. (My half is a month from today!)

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Tempo workout 3-6 miles, weights

Tuesday: easy run 2-4 miles, weights

Wednesday: cross training, yoga, weights

Thursday: Run (maybe hills or sprints) 2-4 miles

Friday: cross train and weights

Saturday: Long run 8-12 miles

I plan to LOOSELY follow this pattern up until the week before, where I will back off of everything a bit, and will do more cross training and easy running than anything. Also, I will be out of town for a week, so it will be interesting to see how I can handle working out on my trip. not going to lie, the long run Saturday may not happen, but hopefully everything else will.

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Where did I come up with this plan? Wwweelll I just kind of made it up. I used previous knowledge from a hodge-podge of training plans, and came up with a plan that works FOR ME. Guys, this is the key. When you have been running for awhile, you start learning what works best for your own body. Like I know that if I un more than four days a week I will get an overuse injury. I also know if I don’t go to yoga I will stay really tight, potentially causing injury. I also know weight lifting has gotten me stronger and leaner and I need to do it at least four times a week. These are all things that if you would have asked me a year ago to create a training plan, I would have laughed….and never included yoga or weight lifting.

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I have come so far and learned so much about myself since I started running, and being more healthy overall. The “old me” would never spend so much time in a gym, or buying things around the outer edges of the grocery store.

I guess my takeaway for all of you from this, is a meal plan, a training plan, any kind of plan, isn’t a one size fits all thing. Just because your favorite blogger or celebrity is doing something “healthy” does not mean it is in your best interest to follow suit. Please don’t think I am saying it is wrong to use a pre-made training plan, I am just saying sometimes they don’t always suit my needs exactly. Find out what works to help you achieve your personal goals. If you have to make your own training plan, or mix a few together, so be it, but BE YOURSELF, and do what is best for you. After all, who knows you better than you?

Do you come up with your own training plans or use pre-made ones?