Friday, June 8, 2012

Training Tips: Trying New Distances

Happy Friday, everyone! We have an amazing guest post on training from my girl, Megan at Watch Mego Run! If you're thinking of tackling a new distance, whether a 5k, 5 miler, 10k, or 1/2 marathon, read this "Runner of All Trades" guest post!

Name: Megan O
Twitter Name: @watchmegorun

Distance to be discussed: TRAINING!

What distances have you trained for? Everything from 5k to marathon (and the random weird distances in between)

What is your favorite distance? Depends on my mood!  I like 15k's because they are rare and they feel kind of long without also feeling like death.  

Now that you've trained for these distances more than once, what are your top training recommendations? (Answer or add all that are applicable)

5k: don't go out too fast the first mile.  It's short, so go fast, but not so fast that you'll die by mile 3.

5 miles: I've only done this race distance once.  I'm still trying to figure it out.   I treat it similar to a 10k though.  If you trick yourself into thinking you're doing 6.2, you'll feel really happy when you hit mile 4 and realize you only have another mile.  That way your legs can kick it up a notch for that last one too.   
10k: This distance is so so tricky. I know so many people who struggle with it.  It's not considered long, but it's hard to run it "fast", whatever your fast may be.   I took almost 8 whole minutes off my time between my first 10k and my second 10k and they were only 4 months apart.  I realized I was trying so hard to run hard the whole time and was slowing down so much by the end.  Now, I start slow the first mile.  I often alternate and do a slower mile, then faster, slower again, then faster.  Treating it like a tempo run also works. I've also wanted to try treating it like two 5ks.  One as a training run at a semi-fast easy pace, then race the last 3.1, that way I think my legs will really hold up until the end.   I really like the 10k distance because I've seen the most improvement in minutes in it.   I know I can be faster though, so there's always more to learn.  They get easier to train for, the longer distances you do.  

1/2 Marathon: I didn't follow a true training plan until my first half.  I loosely followed a plan by hal higdon and met by goal time by doing so.  I highly suggest looking into a training plan for your first half.  It helped me so much and made the distance seem less daunting.   Besides that - hydrate often and find a fuel that works for you - otherwise, you'll never survive those 13.1 miles.  

What, if any, training plans did you follow? I've only ever followed plans by hal higdon and have glanced around at others.  I have nothing against other plans, I just always like his best.   

How do you fuel?  Before runs, I often stick to bars: luna bars or larabars.   Sometimes a banana or pb toast.  During runs I use GU and honey stinger chews.  

What was your favorite place to train? I don't go to a ton of different places to train, but my local park has some pretty scenery, which helps.  If I could, I'd love to train by the water all the time.  So peaceful!

What is your mantra, or a quote for inspiration? "You're stronger than you think"  

Please add anything you feel is important to let people know how they can get started running and training: Don't get frustrated.  Everyone starts somewhere.  There's no shame in walking or going slow.  Eventually you take less walk breaks and even if you never get faster, you'll be able to go longer and it will feel easier.   Just get out there and run, the rest will come to you in time : ) 

Thank you, Megan! This was an awesome post. Get out there and train, runners!

What advice would you give about training? Share you mantra! Share your fuel supplies! Share your favorite distance! TELL ME ABOUT IT!
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