Lessons From the Long Runs
I’ve been training for the Austin half marathon now for about 6 weeks. Here’s a general idea of my workout routine, loosely based on the book, “Marathon, You Can Do It!” by Jeff Galloway with a couple of things I came up with on my own.
- Monday – light run for 30 minutes
- Tuesday – speed or hill drills 30-45 minutes
- Wednesday – 45 min – 1 hour run
- Thursday – elliptical 30 minutes
- Friday – light run for 30 minutes
- Saturday – rest
- Sunday – long run. Start with 3 mile run and increase mileage each week (reducing the miles two weeks before the half marathon)
The mid week running provides lessons in time management. Typically I do all my bodybuilding strength training at 5 am and then I’m done for the day. The idea of running at 4 am alone in a dark park before going to the gym scares me for two reasons: 1) I might trip and fall, and 2) I am afraid of being raped (I grew up around the time of the Central Park Jogger).
So that means I do my park runs when the sun is shining and my kids are with me. Sometimes they do the hill runs with me and other times I manage to squeeze in a run while they are engaged in afterschool activities. Sometimes my husband is able to join us after work and we play tag-team parents (one stays with the kids on the playground while the other one runs and vice versa.)
The biggest learning experience for me though has been the weekly long runs. It seems like each week a new body part hurts: my hips were tight after the first run, my left calf got a Charlie horse the following week, then my right calf locked up the run after that.
Some things I’ve learned:
- Do 10 minutes of dynamic stretching before the run
- Do static stretching after the run
- Foam roll daily
- Do static or yoga stretching at least once per week
- Let supplements be your friend on the road to recovery (L-glutamine, potassium, magnesium)
- Use correct form when running
- Invest in good running sneakers and dry wic socks
Here’s another thing I learned that is specific to me…wear a lift in one shoe. Backstory here: I’m lopsided. Literally. But I didn’t know that right away.
The first marathon I ran (over a decade ago) I kept getting sharp knee pains after mile seven and had to go to a physical therapist. He video taped me running and said my hips were totally out of alignment, putting pressure on my IT band and knee. He told me I had to say a mantra in my head (“Run Straight”) and wrap my knee before each long run.
This worked for the other marathons I did as well. It was only after them when I got a X-ray for something else entirely that I discovered that one leg is almost 1/4″ shorter than the other. Which explains the messed up hip alignment. But my messed up hips and corresponding pain only really bugged me when I did long runs (or lifted heavy weights, I later discovered) so I didn’t think much about it. When I lift heavy at the gym I put a foam pad under my left foot to level me out and that works well for me.
My bodybuilding coach, Robin Johnson, said, “Why don’t you just put a lift in your shoe and wear it every day?”
So I did, starting last week, and guess what? No calf pain, knee pain or hip pain after today’s long run (12 miles)! Feel free to collectively say, “Well, duh!” <<here>>. I kind of wish I thought of that shoe lift thing on my own ten years ago, but that’s why I pay him the big bucks. Better late than never.
Today’s long run was my best yet. I met up with the local No Excuse Moms group (started by my “American Grit” cast mate Maria Kang) at Brushy Creek park in the drizzly fog this morning at 7 am.
We stretched and then when running towards the hills, literally. Everyone was running different mileage but collectively those ladies were fast! While typically I run a 12.31 minute mile today I ran a 10.38 minute mile! And today’s long run was 12 miles! (The half marathon is 13.1 miles).
I struggled to keep up at times but those speed drills that my “American Grit” teammate David Neville taught me have been coming in handy. You can check out his speed drill workout here: Run Faster! Workout by Olympian David Neville
And in case you missed it, my other “American Grit” teammate Mark Bouquin (aka the Lumberjack) made a video about foot care and blisters that you can check out here. (FYI – He hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 99 days, so he knows a thing or two about blisters!)
I hope you are finding these marathon training posts useful, especially if you ever thought about running a half or marathon yourself, or 5 or 10k for that matter!
I am running a half marathon to raise money for medical expenses for my friend’s son, JJ (Johnny James Follis), who was in a horrific car crash before Thanksgiving and is paralyzed from the neck down.
If you like these videos or blog posts please: DONATE NOW
Please give what you can – any amount is appreciated and all money goes to his medical expenses. Please share his page with as many friends as possible. The more shares the more likely he will get donations to cover his long-term medical expenses.
Thank you Mark for making this training video!
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!!!
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