School is about to start and cooler temperatures are just around the corner. Those anticipated cooler temps make great weather for marathon and half marathon training.
The last half marathon I ran was about six years ago. When I was training for that particular race I suffered a few injuries and was afraid I would never be able to run more than a mile without pain again. Part of the reason for my injury was running too much and running without a plan. I didn’t know anything about tempo runs or interval training. I just ran as long as I could and as often as I could.
Over the past few years I’ve been reading much more about training plans and focusing on different cross training exercises. I’ve personally seen a substantial benefit to my running by building a better cardiovascular base with cross training such as cycling, rowing, and swimming.
However, the book that has been the most influential to my running and the one I will be using to train for the Route 66 Half Marathon is Run Less Run Faster from Runner’s World. The initial chapters of the book provide a base knowledge of their recommended 3-run-a-week training program. The rest of the book includes training programs for many distances (5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, and Marathon) as well as a Boston qualifier plan. The book also includes recommended stretches and strength training.
Books about running and training plans themselves will always have supporters and naysayers. It seems that everywhere you turn there is an expert ready to oppose one plan because they have the “best” or “right” training plan. However, as an amateur runner, my humble opinion is that sometimes you have to do the best with what you have. Furthermore, a training plan is just that. A plan. Ultimately, I will listen to my body while training for my next half marathon but will use this book for a guideline to prepare myself for that race.
The benefits for me, with regards to this book, are that it’s easy to understand (full disclosure, I didn’t understand interval runs such as “12 x 400 with 400 RI” until I read this book) and even easier to follow. The 3-run-a -week offers plenty of flexibility for me to not overload my demanding work and family schedule.
Are you planning to run a fall marathon or half marathon? Which training plan are you using?