By Jaymes Cole, Shoe Expert at Track Shack
Normal life has taken an interesting turn and many of us have decided to take this time to start running more. We, here at Track Shack, would like to provide you with some tips for your training during this time, both to keep training interesting and to keep you safe!
For those who were planning a big race this spring, you may still find it beneficial to go through the remainder of your training cycle. That gain in fitness won’t go unnoticed this fall when races come back around. If you were training for a longer race, like a half or full marathon, you may want to just scale back the overall volume of training. Such as shortening the long runs and lowering the overall weekly mileage. All too often, we run ourselves into the ground with hard training and that has an impact on your immune system.
If your big race was something shorter, like a 5k or 10k, toning down the speed work to make sure you aren’t digging too deep into the well. You can still run fast, but it should be done in lower volume, with more recovery between repetitions and sets.
Here are some modified workout ideas to help you take advantage of this time:
• Tempo runs: Most of us are familiar with these but they aren’t (or shouldn’t be) too strenuous on your body if done properly. Get your normal warm up completed, typically a very easy one-mile jog followed by some dynamic stretches. Then complete 15-20 minutes or 2.5-3 miles at your half marathon race pace. This should feel like you’re working but relatively comfortable. You should be able to say a short sentence if you had to. If not, you’re going too fast!
• Fartleks: Swedish for “Speed play”, these are timed intervals that have an equal amount of recovery afterwards at a slow jog. Similar to the tempo run, just feel it out. A good introduction workout to fartleks would be intervals of 3 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute, each with an equal amount of jog time before the next interval. Do 2-3 sets.
• Short Speed Intervals: As stated above, speed work can still be done where you won’t be overdoing it. Keep the overall volume low and the recovery between repetitions high. Our model workout is 8x200 or 300 meters with a 2 to 2.5-minute walking recovery after each rep. These can be fast, but be weary that the harder you push, the sloppier our form tends to become. Building into it is always better than trying to nail the first few because you feel good.
Still want to challenge yourself? A time trial can be the perfect “race” simulation to keep some spice in your life. These should be treated, and have the same preparation, as a race, but they shouldn’t be very long in distance. Training for a full or half marathon? Do a 5k! Training for a 5k/10k? This is the perfect time to see what you can do for a mile. Make sure you have proper rest and fueling the night before. Find a flat, fast course to do it on and even lace up those racing flats or track spikes that have been in closet collecting dust.
Time trials can even provide you with a “mental workout” that you can carry with you into your future workouts. It’s easy to be motivated to go faster if there’s someone you’re chasing after (or getting passed by), it takes a different strength to be able to push yourself when no one is around and you may even surprise yourself with what you’re capable of!
Along with altering the actual substance of your training, now is the perfect time to focus on proper warmups and recovery for each run and practice good habits. A basic warm up mobility routine and post run stretch, foam roll, and fueling have never been more important for maintaining the machine that is our body than now. Have a muscular imbalance that may be holding you back come race day? What better time to work those out? Have a nagging injury? Perfect time to take a break and let your body recover (currently what I’m doing).
Whatever your situation is, there is always an opportunity to make a positive out of this negative! Remember to follow all the normal social distancing guidelines and, even though it can be boring, avoid running in groups! From all of us here at Track Shack, we miss you all and hope to see you out on the roads!
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Track Shack is a specialty running/walking store that has been serving the footwear needs of Central Florida’s fitness enthusiasts since 1977. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff takes each person through a custom fitting process. Shoes and feet are our business but people are our specialty! Now that you’re here, walk through our user-friendly website and welcome to the Track Shack family!
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