January 8th - Training begins...

In this post: easy vs complicated, 1/2 marathon training and brunch time.

Easy vs Complicated

Running is not complicated.  "So you mean it's easy?"  No...I didn't say that.  Running is certainly not easy, but it's also not complicated.  The longer I coach the more I realize the truth of this statement.  Sure there is a difference between training for a half-mile and a half-marathon - but at the end of the day, running is about putting one foot in front of the other quickly and efficiently.  And the greatest thing that you can do to improve your running, is to go out and run consistently 5-7 days a week.  Frank Shorter was once asked what was the best training plan to follow, and his answer was "any of them, as long as you are consistent."  More recently, Haile Gebrselassie (sub 2:04 marathoner) was asked how to become a great runner and he said, "run twice a day, every day."  Complicated?  No.  Easy?  Heck no.

But we want details!  "How far?  And how fast?" you ask.  Well, that is the other thing that I am learning the longer that I coach.  Most of your runs should (1) be conversational, (2) go from slow to fast  (3)  be adjusted by feel not dictated by a certain pace and (4) you should run as much as your lifestyle/running goals allow.   (Note: One or two of your weekly runs should be dictated by pace, or heart rate.)

These facts should offer you encouragement and freedom in your running!  It's exciting to hear that most runs should be conversational.  There is freedom when you learn to speed up or slow down based by how you feel, and not be married to a particular pace regardless of how bad you feel.   Knowing that a 30 minute run will improve your fitness, and you don't have to do 5 miles of hard intervals, makes running 5-6 days a week (or even 7...) an exciting and achievable proposition.

1/2 Marathon Training

Our training starts this Sunday.  9 a.m. Sunday morning at Shelby Park near the nature center.

Novice - 50 minutes w/ 2 miles of 30 step strides.

Intermediate - 60 minutes w/ 2.5 miles of 30 step strides

Advanced - 70 minutes w/ 3 miles of 30 step strides

How does this work?  For all groups, all running should be conversational - except the strides.  During the last 2, 2.5 or 3 miles of the run, at every quarter mile mark on the greenway,  you should perform a fast stride (30 steps per foot for 60 total steps.)  The pace should be fast, but under control.  These strides are short enough that you recover very quickly and never feel out of breath.   Between strides, you should run your normal easy, conversational pace.

Brunch Time

The first Sunday brunch of training is at Polly & Rich Alexander’s place at 10:30am directly following the run.  If you’ve never done brunch with us, you’re in for a treat!  There is nothing like a warm breakfast with friends after a cold morning run.  We basically get together at a local EN home and have a big potluck.  We fry pounds of bacon, admittedly drink too much chocolate milk, and wax philosophical about whatever comes to mind.  This is all possible because everyone chips in.  Come with a dish to share or staples from the store and be prepared to help cook and wash dishes! Please sign-up on the Google doc to bring something, and we’ll see you Sunday morning!

Rich & Polly's address: Rich & Polly Todd Alexander 904 14th Ave N. Nashville TN 37206

See you on Sunday. - Mark