10k Training Week 4: Push it Good

Looking back, I can’t believe four weeks have already gone by since I started training for my 10k race!  I’ve accomplished a lot in that time period, and I still have two thirds of my plan left.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to rock the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis 10k.

Run 1:  3 miles @ 11:21 min/mi pace

My first run of the week was great!  My Saturday rest day combined with an easy walk on Sunday made my legs feel really fresh, so I decided to push myself to see what I could do.  I ended up running 1.5 miles, walking for a few minutes, and running the remaining 1+ mile.  Three miles in 34:04!  That turned out to be an average 11:21 min/mi pace, my fastest pace to date!  It was a great run, and I felt extremely accomplished.

Run 2:  3.01 miles @ 11:25 min/mi pace

After my stellar performance on Monday I decided to try and push my endurance a little bit more on Wednesday.  I went a little  slower and ran two continuous miles!  I walked for a few minutes, then finished out my three miles strong.  Another great run, another great feeling!  Running two miles was a little tougher for me, so I definitely had to play some mind games with myself.  I told myself I would run for a mile, then another five minutes.  Since I was almost to two miles I needed to go for it, I told myself.  Sometimes that’s what you have to do.

Run 3:  4.01 miles @ 11:03 min/mi pace

My long run of the week was incredible.  The theme of the week seemed to be endurance, and I couldn’t let myself down on my last run.  I ran all four miles without any walk breaks and averaged my fastest time yet!  What an amazing feeling – I’ve never run four miles straight without any walk breaks.  I know I’m going to reach my goal of running my entire 10k in two months, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue my training!

Yoga

I continued with my yoga practice this week as well.  Tuesday was all about stretching out running muscles, while Thursday was full of deep stretches.  It was just what I needed.  I can definitely tell that yoga has helped the performance of my muscles, and I intend on keeping it up.  I’ve been trying to incorporate more yoga into my weekly routine but haven’t been too successful so far.  Four weeks of running and yoga has been great to me.

Samantha or Sam's 10k Training Week 4 Progress
Pace is on the left, while run number is on the bottom

Here’s a cool little graph I’ve been keeping with my min/mi pace.  I’ve normalized the times so they don’t include any warm up or cool down walks.  My Friday runs are consistently my fastest runs, while I seem to take things easier on Wednesdays.  While it seems silly, seeing this information laid out makes me that much more excited about running!  My progress has been better than I imagined after only a month.

I’m very proud of myself.

10k Training Week 2: Fuel!

My second week of training was definitely better than my first.  I managed to get three of four runs in.

I skipped my Wednesday run in favor of a walk; I hadn’t slept well and was having trouble staying awake without the wonderful aid of coffee.  There was no way I would have been able to run and stay awake for the rest of the afternoon.

My Sunday long run was rough.  Once I convinced myself to get out of bed (an hour later than I had planned), I skipped breakfast and went straight for the run.  Big mistake.  Half a mile in I started getting lightheaded, felt weak, and started cramping.  Apparently I should not run on an empty stomach!  I had already suspected this, but had never confirmed it.  Now I have proof I needed to fuel before any run.  This was an uncomfortable lesson to learn, but I’d rather find out now than right before my race.  Fortunately, thanks to most of my runs being pre-lunch, I know a packet of oatmeal 20-30 minutes before my run is all I need for a 3 mile run.  I’ll have to see what I require for my longer runs.

Week 2 Training Breakdown

10k Training Week 2 Recap

10k Training Week 1: Balance

My first 10k training week was all about balance.  This weekend I experienced how tough balancing fitness plans and a social life really is.  You see, in the year that I’ve lived in St. Louis I haven’t had the best luck with making friends.  This weekend we had some college friends from out-of-town stay with us for a wedding they were attending.  Additionally, after my husband’s bicycle race we hung out (and drank lots of beer) with some of his new friends.  I had a great time, but I ended up skipping my Sunday run this week.  I failed at finding balance this week.

I already have a difficult time motivating myself to run on Sundays.  During the week I run on my lunch break, but I’ve always felt like weekends are for lounging and friends.  This mindset is obviously going to have to change.  Skipping this week’s Sunday run is okay since it was only a two miles and I have a decent base, but I’m going to have to be more dedicated in the future.  I can already tell finding balance between fitness and friends is going to be an ongoing struggle.

Despite my failure this week I am more excited than ever about my upcoming 10k.  Life is going to get in the way no matter what, and I still squeezed in my week day runs without issue.  I have some weekends coming up where I’ll be out-of-town, and I’ll be able to prepare for running interruptions by tweaking my schedule just a little bit.

Speaking of being out-of-town, I managed to double book myself over my race weekend!  I was initially quite upset about this, but was able to find a different 10k to run the next weekend.  Instead of the GO! St. Louis Halloween 10k I’ll be running the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis 10k.  While I’m not quite as enthusiastic about my new race (no Halloween costumes!), I know it will be a good time.  I’ve done several events in the Rock ‘n’ Roll series before, and will just have to wait until next year to run in the GO! St. Louis Halloween race.

Week 1 Training Breakdown

10k-training-week-1

The Personalized 10k Running Plan

Today I’ll be talking about my running plan, AKA listening to people who actually know what they’re talking about to train for a 10k.  😀

Well, mostly listening.

When I first started out as a runner I followed Cool Running’s Couch to 5k Program.  It was great at first.  Lots of walking, a little running – how could that be bad?  Once I got up to running five minutes, eight minutes, oh God no 20 minutes at a time I gave up.

A few years later I started running again.  I would listen to my body and run when I wanted to, walk when I felt like I was going to throw up.  As you can imagine, that didn’t last very well either.

This time around I actually did some research to figure out what plan was best for me.  With my goal firmly in mind I began to scour the internet for the perfect running plan.  Did I find it?  Well, no.  Unless I wanted to shell out some cash for a running coach, I was going to have to tailor someone’s plan to my fitness levels.  I decided to combine two 10k plans together to create my perfect running plan.

***

Plan 1:  Jeff Galloway’s 10k Training Plan

I’ve heard really fantastic things about Jeff Galloway.  His approach to running is a run/walk method.  He suggests walking before you get tired, which I think is a really great way to go about running.  It’s very easy to get burned out of running as a beginner when you try to go too hard too fast.  It’s something I’ve experienced multiple times, unfortunately.  Incorporating walking before you need to walk is an effective way to maintain strength and energy throughout the entire run.

His 10k plan is 13 weeks with only three runs per week.  13 weeks is the longest training plan I’ve seen, but most seem to do four runs per week, so that accounts for the difference.  He also includes three days of strength training/cross training, with one rest day every week before the long run.  Jeff Galloway’s 10k plan is definitely one that will set runners up for success.

10k Training Schedule
Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 walk or XT run 20-25 min walk or XT run 20-25 min walk or XT off 2 miles
2 walk or XT run 20-25 min walk or XT run 20-25 min walk or XT off 2 miles
3 walk or XT run 25-30 min walk or XT run 25-30 min walk or XT off 3 miles
4 walk or XT run 25-30 min walk or XT run 25-30 min walk or XT off 4 miles
5 walk or XT run 30-35 min walk or XT run 30-35 min walk or XT off 4 miles or 5K
6 walk or XT run 30-35 min walk or XT run 30-35 min walk or XT off 5 miles
7 walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT off 5 miles or 5K
8 walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT off 6 miles
9 walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT off 6 miles or 5K
10 walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT off 7 miles
11 walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT off 3.5 miles
12 walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT off 4 miles or 5K
13 walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT run 30-45 min walk or XT off 10K Race

Plan 2:  Jenny Hadfield’s 10k Training Plan

Jenny Hadfield actually has several different 10k plans.  She has a 10k walk plan, multiple level 10k run walk plans, and a few 10k run plans for beginner – advanced levels.  I’ll be using the 10k run-walk, which is geared towards first time 10k runners and injury prevention.

Jenny Hadfield’s training plans have more structure than Jeff Galloway, which is something I’m interested in trying.  Her plan is 10 weeks long with three runs per week the first three weeks, moving to four runs on weeks four – nine.  Jenny Hadfield’s runs are all longer time-wise than Jeff Galloway’s 10k training plan, and she includes two days of strength training/cross training each week instead of three.

Jenny Hadfield 10k Run-Walk***

Jeff Galloway and Jenny Hadfield both have exceptional training plans, but they aren’t quite what I need.  I’ve taken the best of both plans and personalized them for myself.  Here’s my plan:

10k-training-plan For reference, I have a base of 4 miles with a 12 min/mile average long run speed (slow runner in the house).  You’ll likely see me updating the plan as I go.  The most important thing to do with any kind of exercise is listen to your body.  If this plan ends up being too intense (or not challenging enough) I’ll certainly be making tweaks.

Goals

I’m notorious about starting things and not following through with them.  The first iteration of this blog (now deleted) is a good example of my propensity towards fickleness.  When I realized I actually enjoyed running and wanted to keep it up, I knew I needed a goal to keep myself in check.

When used correctly, a goal can be a great tool.  As a naturally competitive person, goals give me something to focus my energy towards.  For me, running is a deeply personal expedition.  I’m not worried about being the best, I just want to be my best.  Translating all this into a feasible running goal was a very simple task.  I’ve participated in several 5k races, and the last one I ran was the first one I actually ran the whole time!  This was an astounding feat to me, but it also meant I could do better.  The next step up from a 5k is, of course, a 10k.  I knew what I wanted to do:  Run a 10k race the entire time.

Goals, while a great tool, can also be intimidating and highly daunting.  I wanted as much time as possible to get in race shape and make sure there was no doubt in my mind that I could run this sucker without stopping.  Hence, I knew I needed to find a 10k in the fall to have adequate time to (over)prepare.

Enter The Great GO! St. Louis Halloween Race!  This race, which offers a 1 mile fun run, 5k, 10k, and half marathon, takes place on October 11th.  Perfect timing, literally, with a date over three months away.  I knew I had found my race.  The GO! St. Louis races are supposed to be the best in the area:  fun, well-ran, and with a lot of participation.  The cost is fairly reasonable for a 10k, a t-shirt and finishers medal are included in the price, and this race has a costume contest!  It’s easy to get excited about this race, which makes this an even better goal to work towards.  For more information visit their website.

Sometimes setting a goal can be a difficult thing to do.  The best way I’ve found is to know exactly what you want to accomplish.  I wanted to keep running and challenge myself, hence the 10k goal was born.