Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Early season half marathon guidelines

Well, It is almost that time of the year to begin half marathon training. It seems that January and February are the most common time for clubs to begin their organized training programs for the May and June races. Locally these races include the 500 Festival Indy Mini, Geist Half and the Flying Pig. Hopefully prior to beginning these programs all of you have been running at least 3 miles 3-4 times per week in December. If you are not currently a runner and are thinking about a spring half marathon we would encourage you to re-think that as a goal for much later in 2009. Stick to the 5k or 10 k distances and have fun with those distances. Let your body adapt to the demands of running for several months, injury-free before committing to a half marathon. For the more experienced runners, hopefully you backed off your weekly mileage in December as compared to November and October. This downtime is important to allow the body a break from the rigors of late summer/ early fall training and the late fall racing schedule. Give the legs a break! Here in the Midwest, it also works out well as our weather begins to really SUCK! Late December is also a good time to work on our functional strength and mobility exercise or add swimming as a way of cross training. Over the month of January and February most half marathon programs begin with a gradual buildup of weekly mileage and long runs. No speed or quality workouts yet. This is a good time to begin to get into a pattern of "de-loading" (2 weeks up / 1 week down). This will allow the body time to recover between the harder work load weeks and will help to decrease the risk of injury. In another post, we will share our guidelines for the next phase of half marathon training for the month of March. Check out some of the online programs but make sure to adapt them to your schedule, skill level and perhaps some of the guidelines on this blog. Good Luck in your training and Happy New Year!

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