Since my return to training in September, I haven’t really had much of a training plan. Sure, I’ve mapped out when I need to up my distance to make sure I’m ready for the half marathon in February and the full marathon in April, but beyond that I’ve really just been winging it.
Not that there’s anything wrong with winging it for a couple of months. If nothing else, it has helped me to figure out how much running I could cope with as I eased myself back into training again. But now that I am getting back up to speed, I feel it’s time to get some structure and routine back again.
One thing I have realised is that I have to make a choice between continuous running and run-walk-run. Originally, I thought I could use both to work on my distance and endurance, but the reality is that there just isn’t enough recovery time to do both if I’m going to be race fit for the February and April events. So, I made a decision and came up with a plan… of sorts.
I have decided that I’m going to stick with run-walk-run when it comes to increasing the distance and that I will use this strategy for both races. Apart from the fact that I can increase the distance more quickly in this way without affecting my overall pace too much, run-walk-run also puts less strain on the joints and muscles, which is the main thing that has got me back on track over the last couple of months.
The other deciding factor in adopting the run-walk-run strategy is that ultimately I want to be able to run ultra-marathons and, for most ultra-runners, running the whole distance is not an option. Unlike with marathons and half-marathons, when it comes to ultra-running, using a run-walk strategy is pretty much the norm, even amongst the fastest runners – not that I’ll ever be one of them, but if it makes sense for them, then who am I to argue?
Of course, those of you who read this blog will know that I do love continuous running and I’m not about to give up on it completely. I’m still going to work on my 5K time in my midweek runs by running without walk breaks, but I’m not going to push myself to run more than that for the time being – it’s just too much if I’m going to get to where I need to be by April without picking up another injury.
So, this morning, instead of trying to push for the 7K I had originally planned, I decided to just get a continuous 5K in. No walk breaks, no worrying about pace, just a nice easy run. And it felt great!
Hopefully, this will mean that I have the energy levels that I need for one or maybe two more 5Ks mid-week. I’m making my first attempt at a half-marathon using run-walk-run when I do the Virtual Jeff Galloway 13.1 next weekend, so this should be a good test to see if the plan works or not.
How’s your running going? Are you using a training plan or do you prefer to run according to how you feel? Please share your thoughts in the comments.