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Training question - do I need to follow a plan? (Read 215 times)

GinnyinPA


    I am signed up for a HM in the fall.  I have never raced one, but I trained last year for a HM in March (using a Runners World SmartCoach program, more or less), then got injured a week before the race so DNS.  I began running again in November, and decided to just run without a definite plan, with the intent of building up my base and avoid injury.  So far so good.  I'm up to about 20-25 mpw, with my longest run at 9.5.  I haven't been doing any formal speed work, just an occasional stride or fartlek run. For the next month or two I plan to stick at about that level, increasing my long runs, but not every week.  I know about alternating easy runs and hard runs, with some runs longer and some faster.

     

    So, in terms of getting ready for my race:  Should I just continue what I'm doing, adding in some tempo runs and increasing my long runs to 14-15 miles?  Or should I start a program like Hal Higdon's in June, even though his programs have you start at much lower mileage?  Is there an advantage to having the weekly progression from 5-6-7-8-9-10, even when you've done those distances before?  My goal is to run the HM with some enjoyment and without getting injured.  I'm not worrying about speed, since I'm not at all fast.  But I do like challenging myself, and doing 2 mile runs when I'd rather be doing 5 mile runs doesn't make sense to me.

     

    Thoughts?


    Fat butt on couch

      The thing about the plans is they don't know your individual position, so they pick a point at which many people may start and give a schedule from there.  If you are more advanced than that starting point, you need to jump into the schedule based on where you are at and adjust it from there.

       

      Some canned plan on the internet is never going to be perfect for you.  You need to adjust it to your situation.

      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

       

      laurita


        hello Ginnying PA, iam really not an expert on the matter, but i want to share that my personal experience with runners world smart coach has been good for the last 2 half marathon races. One program was 16 weeks long  (11-24 mpw)  and the other one 12 weeks (15-22 mpw), i finished with paces 8:42 and 7:56 /mi. As you can see i guess is not really a rule that we need to put a lot of miles per week, as long as we keep training.

         

        good luck and happy runs

          Background - I can't follow canned plans. The only time I've come close is when running with a group for most of the runs. I don't think it's slowed me down much. I like the ability to adjust my workout up or down based on how I feel that day - eg. 12 miles at marathon pace instead of 9 at easy pace on a day when I felt so good it would have been a fight to stay at easy pace. More often easier than I planned, but it's a wash, I think.

           

          I began running again in November, and decided to just run without a definite plan, with the intent of building up my base and avoid injury.  So far so good.  I'm up to about 20-25 mpw, with my longest run at 9.5.  I haven't been doing any formal speed work, just an occasional stride or fartlek run. For the next month or two I plan to stick at about that level, increasing my long runs, but not every week.  I know about alternating easy runs and hard runs, with some runs longer and some faster.

          Looks good. When I first looked at your log I was going to make a comment about running more often - shorter slower runs instead of days off. Then I noticed you were walking on almost all your days off, this is good, especially if you try to long stride a bit while walking - it helps stretch muscles that will tighten from running. You might take a couple of those 2 mile walks and turn them into 2 mile runs, but you're likely fine either way.

           

           

           

          So, in terms of getting ready for my race:  Should I just continue what I'm doing, adding in some tempo runs and increasing my long runs to 14-15 miles?  Or should I start a program like Hal Higdon's in June, even though his programs have you start at much lower mileage?  Is there an advantage to having the weekly progression from 5-6-7-8-9-10, even when you've done those distances before?  My goal is to run the HM with some enjoyment and without getting injured.

           

          You're doing the 9 miles NOW - there's no reason to back off and start doing less. Just keep doing what you're doing and build to a little more as it's still comfortable - If you've been doing long runs of 15 miles for 6 months by the time you run your half, you'll be better prepared. Also, just because you're not the fastest is no reason not to race - that's part of the fun of the sport. There are many people faster and slower than me at just about every race I enter, all of us racing either a couple people near the same speed that we know, our previous best, or a round number of some kind. If you've got the base to support it, you can certainly race a half without getting injured.

          2013 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away - FAIL.

          2014 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away.


          Muddling through

            I am signed up for a HM in the fall.  I have never raced one, but I trained last year for a HM in March (using a Runners World SmartCoach program, more or less), then got injured a week before the race so DNS.  I began running again in November, and decided to just run without a definite plan, with the intent of building up my base and avoid injury.  So far so good.  I'm up to about 20-25 mpw, with my longest run at 9.5.  I haven't been doing any formal speed work, just an occasional stride or fartlek run. For the next month or two I plan to stick at about that level, increasing my long runs, but not every week.  I know about alternating easy runs and hard runs, with some runs longer and some faster.

             

            So, in terms of getting ready for my race:  Should I just continue what I'm doing, adding in some tempo runs and increasing my long runs to 14-15 miles?  Or should I start a program like Hal Higdon's in June, even though his programs have you start at much lower mileage?  Is there an advantage to having the weekly progression from 5-6-7-8-9-10, even when you've done those distances before?  My goal is to run the HM with some enjoyment and without getting injured.  I'm not worrying about speed, since I'm not at all fast.  But I do like challenging myself, and doing 2 mile runs when I'd rather be doing 5 mile runs doesn't make sense to me.

             

            Thoughts?

            SmartCoach is not the best of plans; IMO is probably one of the worst of popular canned plans. I'm assuming you've patterned you own build to something similar to what SmartCoach had, because in general having a 9.5 mile long run on 20 mpw lake for too unbalanced a schedule unless you run only 3 times a week. At this point I suggest you run 4-5 days a week and increase oone of those mid-week runs instead of the long run until you get it up to about 75% of the long run. Obviously that will also be icnreasing your weekly base, just in a different way. After that continue to increase your mileage but try to maintain the same rough percentage for your long and semi-long runs. While getting your long run up to 15 miles would be great of HM training, that would also imply getting your weekly mileage up to 45-50 mpw. Even with 6 months to go that's a 150% increase which is a lot if you haven't been at those levels before.

            2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

              I have no familiarity with a lot of what's available out there, but I've enjoyed the book "Daniels' Running Formula" for spelling out the functions of different parts of a training cycle and providing guidelines on how to incorporate them. Daniels' approach is also cautious with regard to potential injury. If you like to do your own thing and don't mind a little number crunching, you might get a lot out of it.


              Dad of a real runner

                First of all - congrats on your race yesterday.  2nd in your age group - and time would have also been second in the age group a decade younger.

                As to training plans - Spanial is spot on - as usual.

                No training plan, whether something as simple as the smart coach, or as involved as Daniels or Pfitzinger can take into consideration the uniqueness of you.  So, yes, use a plan, but mostly for the information on the type of workouts and some of the target ranges.  It needs to fit your schedule, and where you are at in your training.

                GinnyinPA


                  Thanks for the replies.  They are helpful.  I didn't think it made sense to back off on mileage too much.

                   

                  Last week was my first week running 5 days, which I hope to continue.  I switched to 4 a while back, but we spent a month on the road and my running while travelling was sometimes erratic.  We're home again, so I should be able to be more consistent.

                   

                  The walking every day happens because I have a golden retriever that I walk with my husband.  Neither of them can run.  Our walks aren't very fast.  The walking has been a big help though in keeping me injury free.  Any stiffness gets worked out on our twice daily walks.

                  gilbertholdings


                    congrats on the training going well.  hopefully you'll avoid injury and make it to your goals for the HM.  good luck!


                    Mmmmm...beer

                      I've been running for a year without a plan.  I just go out and run at whatever pace feels easy that day, sometimes it's fast, sometimes it's slow.  Worked out fairly well for my first two half marathons, and helped me build a good base.  I also walk a fair amount too, 3-5 miles pretty much every day with DW.  I think that definitely helps with recovery and overall fitness.  Increasing your frequency is good, I think that has helped me a lot.  Good luck at your half!

                      -Dave

                       

                      2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-1:26 HM | BQ done!