25 Week Marathon Training Boot Camp: Week 3
Great job last week! I hope that you are starting to feel more comfortable with running as we are increasing mileage.
I wanted to talk a little bit about safety for this week. Safety is so important as you are running, especially the more you start running. I have never had anything scary happen to me as I have been out running about, but I think that is because I am a more cautious runner. Here are my tips that have kept me safe on my runs. I encourage you to implement them into your training.
Running in the dark:
Sometimes as you are training, the only time that you can get out and run is when it is darker outside. I think this is when you need to take the most precautions because you are less visible to others.
Wear reflective clothing: I can’t stress this one enough. You have to wear reflective, brighter clothing even if you are planning on staying on sidewalks, off the road. Wear light-colored clothing and get a reflective vest or something that is reflective so that you can be seen by other people.
Go with a buddy: I never run in the dark without a buddy. I don’t think it is a good idea and I don’t think it is safe. There is safety in numbers.
Run on busier roads: Run on roads where there will be other people around so that if something happens, there is someone there that could help. Busier roads are usually more well-lit too which is safer.
Tips for anytime:
Don’t be predictable: Don’t run the same routes every day. You don’t want to be predictable when you are running so people can notice when and where you are going to be somewhere. If possible, try to change-up what time you start your run and if you can’t do this, at least change where you go.
Let someone know when and where you are going: It is good to let a family member or friend know where you are running so that if something happens, they know where they can find you and when they should expect you back.
Busy streets: Make sure that even if you are crossing at a cross walk and it is your turn to go that you check to see if there is a car coming. There has been countless times when I have been crossing the street and would have been hit if I hadn’t looked first because there was a car that was turning and wasn’t paying attention. If you can catch their attention and look them in the eyes, that means that they have noticed you.
Run against traffic: If you run against traffic, you can see if there are cars coming. This is safer than if you run with traffic because they are coming at you from behind.
Pepper spray: I like to run with pepper spray. It makes me feel safer, not only around other people but animals too.
Phone: I always take my phone with me. That way, if something happens, I have an easy way to get in contact with someone. I had a run one time where I started feeling really sick so I had someone come pick me up. It would have been terrible if I didn’t have my phone with me and I had to tough it out. I usually just carry mine, but they make great phone carriers so that you don’t have to worry about dropping it.
Road ID: This is something that is great for long-distance runners. Especially those with a certain medical condition. It is a bracelet that has information about health concerns and a contact number so that if something happens, other people will know how to help.
I hope your training went well last week! Now is a good opportunity to evaluate how you are doing and if you are still feeling injury-free. If you are, great! If not, you may need to back off your training a little bit.
Day 1 (Monday): Run 3 miles
Day 2 (Tuesday): Rest or cross training
Day 3 (Wednesday): Run 2 miles (speed/hill workout)
Day 4 (Thursday): Strength training
Day 5 (Friday): 1.5 miles (light run)
Day 6 (Saturday): Run 6 miles
Day 7 (Sunday): Rest
Tips for this week:
Last week we talked about hill workouts so this week I wanted to talk about speed workouts. I know that a lot of distance runners do not understand the importance of speed workouts since they are not “sprinters”. I did a lot of speed workouts in my training for my second marathon and I believe this is a big reason that I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I was able to see improvements in my endurance and in my running form. They aren’t the most fun, but they will make you feel really good afterwards.
I usually recommend doing speed workouts on a track or treadmill because it is way easier to see how fast you are going and how far you have gone. This is definitely not a requirement, you can do them anywhere, but make sure that wherever you are going that you are choosing a terrain that doesn’t have a lot of obstacles and things you can trip on.
Focus on good form. I had a coach in high school that would tell us to pump our arms “cheek to cheek” (from your cheek on your face to your cheek on your rear) to make sure that you are getting a good, strong, arm swing.
Stay loose. Don’t tighten up your shoulders and face. Same coach told me to hold on to my middle finger knuckle with my thumb to keep loose. I don’t know why it helps, but it does.
Time yourself. You never know if you are improving if you aren’t timing how fast you are going.
Take advantage of the breaks between sprints to let your body get ready for the next sprint. Don’t stop moving though, this will let your muscles tighten up and it will be way harder to start the next sprint. I usually walk or jog in between sprints.
I am attaching my favorite sprint workout here. I have done this one multiple times during a marathon training program and think it complements training very well. This one is designed to be done on a track.
This week is a good week for a core workout! I already created a great core workout for runners so I will attach that this week and I encourage you to try that one out this week.
Best of luck to you this week! As I mentioned last week, make sure that you are doing your best to get all of your runs in this week, but if you have to leave something out, make sure that you are not skipping your long run for any reason! That is the most important. I’ll talk soon about fitting your run into a busy schedule for tips on how to work that in. Happy running!