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ACORALSEA's Photo ACORALSEA Posts: 4,223
8/19/13 7:49 A

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The triathlon season is winding to a close and many running clubs and training teams are about to kickoff the Fall training season. Everything from Galloway's Run/Walk, that will get you through a 5K or more, to marathon/half marathon programs are out there for you.

Your current ability and experience should guide you.

If you've never done a 5K, but you can walk 3 miles or run 1.5 miles comfortably, you should be able to handle a 26-week half marathon training program.

If you've done a 10K, you can easily handle a 26-week half marathon training program.

If you've already done a half marathon, you may be ready to take the next step and train for a marathon.

If you have done 2 or more half marathons within the past 12-18 months, should definitely be ready to train for a full marathon.

Choose your training plan carefully. A good program will start you off with a 1.5 to 3 mile time trial to see how comfortable you feel at an easy pace over the distance. It should not be at race pace, as the time trial should be geared toward finding your training pace group.

An experienced runner should already know about where you come in.

All programs should have at least these 4 components:

1) Base building - the period of building the foundation, easy and at a conversational pace

2) Strength and endurance - this often includes hill training (strength) and your weekend workouts will grow over longer distances

3) Speed - weekday workouts will include Fartleks/speed intervals to trigger fast-twitch muscles, and weekend tempo runs/walks to improve your endurance at at steady pace over longer distances.

4) Maintenance - taper down period the 3-4 weeks prior to your target marathon or half marathon to maintain your strength and endurance while the distances drop. This is to further prevent overuse injuries and keep you ready for race day.

You may see a lot of programs out there that run over 12-16 weeks; 26 weeks is about 6 months of training - appropriate for marathon/half marathon training, even for veterans and advanced runners. The longer period is designed to keep you injury-free.

If you already do a marathon/year, you might be able to handle a shorter training program. The same may hold true if you do 1-2 half marathons/year.

Again, it all depends upon your current ability and experience as to which distance and length or type of program you choose to follow. I will take someone who has done at least a 5K through a half marathon training program. BUT, not through a full marathon training program - it's very tough on the body!

Challenge yourself, sensibly, so that you can enjoy the race at whatever distance!

Alysia :)

"Life is like a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death." Auntie Mame

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