Yesterday I mentioned that my marathon training team, The New York Road Runners Team for Kids (“TFK”), meets three times a week in Central Park to run as a group. Mondays are usually tempo runs – runs that are designed to add to a runner’s overall mileage base, run at a pace that’s consistent and can be improved upon as training goes on. Wednesdays are “speed work” days – where we spend our time running up hills (as the old runner’s saying goes: “Hills are speedwork in disguise”) or doing “pick-ups” (which are the types of runs I described in yesterday’s installment. Saturdays are “long run” days. These runs are the foundation and the key to distance running success, because the runner adds on a mile or two each week to his/her prior week’s total, thereby getting the entire body used to the feeling of running for longer periods of time without rest. For example: last Saturday I ran 10.5 miles along the Hudson River with TFK. By the end of the run, I felt as if a tap dancer was perched atop my head dancing along to Singin’ in the Rain, while an elephant sat on my chest as two trolls used my legs as a wishbone. (I just read that last sentence to myself several times, and each time I was left with the same thought: God that was weird. So weird…..I’m going to leave it in and just move along….). I was not caught by surprise – I’ve gone on runs much longer than 10.5 miles. I knew how the run was going to make me feel, and I was not doing cartwheels due to the pending excitement (….because if I WERE doing cartwheels AT ANY TIME, anyone standing nearby has the legal right to backslap me into coherence). As much as I was NOT excited about the aftermath, I ran the distance anyway….because I know how important the long run is.
This coming Saturday is my next long run – 12 miles. Estimated temperature in the park for Saturday….94 degrees….and humid. Oy. Not excited. But I’ll do it anyway. Fortunately for me, today is not Saturday!
Now aside from these three TFK group training days, each runner is expected to do addiitonal weekly work. This consists of an easy runs or cross training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a light recovery run on Sundays. Friday is a pure rest day, since it’s the day prior to the weekly long run. Cross training for me consists of lifting weights, light stretching, and abdominal work. Cross training is pretty important because it allows the runner to develop some stregnth and work the muscles of the boday that aren’t primarily stressed during running sessions. Marathon running is definitely a full-body experience – after the race, muscles that you never knew you had will hurt. So working out the entire body helps your endurance and overall performance…or at least that’s what I’ve read! LOL This is the first time in my life that I’m actually following a strict training regimen without “falling off the waggon” one month into the program. I’m hoping that I’ll see results along this journey.
So today I’m hitting the gym and working out for about an hour. No running AT ALL. I need to work on my abdominals most of all, since strong abs help running posture and overall endurance.
Until tomorrow, my friends!