For recreational runners, training for an event like the Towpath Half-Marathon or the Cleveland Marathon, following an adequate training routine to build up to race day mileage is absolutely essential. Typically this includes actually running and building up distance and pace with long-slow-distance (LSD) and fartlek training in the weeks leading up to a race.
Proper Running Technique
Running is hard on the body. Repetitive, hard impact exercise can lead to chronic knee, back and ankle injuries. While running as an exercise seems pretty self-explanatory, doing it with proper technique, maximizing running economy while minimizing impact on the body and preventing injury, is not as simple as it seems.
The Good Form Running video in this article illustrates how to improve running technique, pointing out some of the basics and common mistakes that many runners make.
Basic Marathon and Half-Marathon Training Programs
Many endurance running novices benefit from fairly simple training programs. The most common endurance running training programs engage the athlete in progressively building their distance and pace over a 3 month period ahead of an event.
The Rite-Aid Cleveland Marathon’s website offers a fantastic, free and simple training routine to prepare runners for its 5k, 10k, half-marathon and full-marathon events. The routines available on the marathon’s website employ well established principles including long-slow-distance running to build up mileage and pace-tempo and fartlek training to enhance speed and train for race conditions.
An important note for beginners to running: Before starting any running routine, be sure to not only get your physician’s clearance but also be sure that you’re able to run at least 30 minutes at a steady jog. Progressive training programs are designed for individuals who have already established a base of cardiovascular fitness.
Cross-Training to Improve Performance and Prevent Injury
With any running training routine, it’s important to cross-train, incorporating exercises throughout the week that will strengthen the core. Dedicate at least 10 to 15 minutes every day to training your core. For a fantastic runner’s ab workout, check out The Ultimate Ab Workout for Runners on Running Times Magazine’s website.
Building endurance for running doesn’t mean that every cardio workout during the week has to be a running workout. If you have knee or ankle injuries or if you just want to reduce the amount of time you spend with high-impact workouts, you can effectively cross-train for running on an elliptical machine or a stair climber.
The key for adapting other modes of cardiovascular training to your running program is intensity and duration. For example, if you’re training for a half-marathon, 60 minutes on an elliptical at an endurance pace is not going to challenge you in the same way as jogging for an hour at an endurance pace. Take advantage of the non-running workouts to push yourself. Instead of using those 60 minutes on the elliptical to practice a long-slow-distance pace, try a 15 minute warmup at a comfortable pace followed by 30 minutes of interval training and a 15 minute cool down.