Calculate how much time you REALLY need for your run.
As temperatures rise in the summer months, re-incorporating morning runs to my training is a must. But figuring out how to squeeze in my workout and still get to work on time requires a real look at how much time I need.
And having a real estimate comes in handy not only for those pre-work workouts but also for pretty much any time you have a time constraint. Maybe you’re meeting someone mid-run or you’re going out after an evening jaunt or you need to be home in time to watch “Game of Thrones.”
At first thought, it seems easy enough: you’re doing 4 miles at about 10-minute pace, so that means you only need 40 minutes, right? Weeeelllll, not exactly. There are many other things to consider:
- Do you need to eat a full breakfast, or just cram a quick protein bar down your throat? And how much time do you need it to settle so you don’t ralph a half-mile in?
- Do you need to poop before you go?
- How long does it take to get dressed, lace up your shoes, put on your iPod, get a satellite signal, fill up your water bottle, etc.?
- Will you be stopping for water on the run?
- Are there stoplights and/or traffic to account for?
- What about a post-run cool down and stretching?
- Do you need to change clothes/shower after your run?
All of the sudden, that 40-minute run could be looking more like 50 or 60 minutes.
I always work backward from the time I need to be out the door to the time I wake up, and I have a good estimate of how long it takes to complete each section of my morning routine. Here’s an example of my typical train of thought:
OK, I’m running 4 miles at 10-minute pace and I need to leave for work at 8:00. That means I need to be walking my dog by 7:40. Which means I need to be in the shower by 7:00. Which means I need to begin my run at 6:10. Which means I need to wake up at 5:30 … which means I need to set my alarm for 5:15 (because let’s be real, Imma hit snooze once or twice).
Making time for a run can be a challenge, but if you’re honest with yourself about how much time you actually need, I think you’ll find it a tad less stressful. — Mags
Roll with the Punches.
You’ve heard us say again and again how important it is to create a training schedule when preparing for a race. And now that you’ve got said schedule, it’s time to edit it according to your body and your life. If you’re feeling a little wonky one day, dial the miles back a little. If you just can’t squeeze five miles in over lunch during a jam-packed work day, settle for three after dinner instead. Or maybe not.
That extra mile or three isn’t going to kill you in the long run (pun intended). In fact, jamming miles in just for the sake of sticking to a plan is often a one-way ticket to injury town.
Now, I’m not giving you a free pass to throw your training plan out the window, but I am asking you to keep a little perspective. Training plans do not know how you’re feeling or responding to training; ultimately, only you can make that call. So listen to your body, and adjust your training plan accordingly. — Aidz
This miiiight be the most out of shape I’ve been in about four years. Yes, I’ve been busy. Yes, I’m leery of nighttime running because I got hit by a taxi in November (I wasn’t injured, but it did scare the bejesus out of me). But I think I pinpointed my real problem.
I haven’t been scheduling my runs.
(Or, as Bad Angel Rule #38 so eloquently puts it, put your plan on paper.)
As a result, I’ve gained weight, I’ve lost speed, strength and endurance, and overall I feel icky about myself.
This madness stops now. I’ve got a 10K PR to smash in March and some winter/holiday/vacation flab to shed. It’s time to make a plan and stick to it.
Aaaaaaand, go. — Mags
10 weeks. That’s all it takes to get ready for a half. Well, sort of.
Before you start this program, you should have a good 3-4 weeks of base running/walking under your belt. If you can run 30 minutes without stopping, you’re ready to dive into this most basic — and highly effective — half marathon training program. (I used this for my first two half marys and still use it as a starting point for my training plans.)
A couple notes:
* Put your program in your calendar. Write it down. Know it. Love it.
* Take your rest days seriously. Seriously. Rest is an incredibly important part of training. If you want to throw in some cross-training on a rest day, go for it, but don’t push too hard.
* You won’t actually run the full half marathon distance until race day. Some people are freaked out by this. But if you can run 12 miles, you can run 13.1 miles. I promise.
* If you need to move around some days or even weeks for whatever reason (you’re traveling, for example), no problem. Again, it’s a good training program but slight alterations will not derail you. Things happen. Try not to flip out. It’s gonna be OK.
Now the only question is: Which half marathon are you going to tackle first? — Mags