Training for a 12K on a Sunday
Last week I shared with you that I cut my time for Bloomsday, the 12K race (7.46 miles) by six minutes. Today I will detail some of my training preparation. But first you need to know something about me.
I’m not a runner.
That’s correct. Running is not a priority for me; I only do it occasionally. Those occasions are a few times per month to mix up my workouts, if I’m traveling and need a quick workout, or if I’m running Bloomsday once per year. If you are a runner, good for you. It’s just not a big part of my workouts. Here’s why. Many years ago I was training for a marathon and developed severe pain in one of knees. I had it checked out and discovered that I was missing some much needed cartilage. That constant pounding on the pavement wasn’t doing me any good so I reserved it only for special occasions. Enough about that, why was I able to run 7.46 miles without being a runner?
What I’m about to share with you is how I prepared. That is not to say this is the best way and certainly isn’t the only way, it is simply how I prepared. It’s really more about a lifestyle. A lifestyle of awareness, accessing strengths and weaknesses, willingness to listen to new ideas, and a desire to take action.
Awareness: I function best when keeping healthy and fit by working out, eating nutrient-dense foods, and sleeping well.
Assess strengths and weaknesses: my body responds well to a variety of exercises, knees can’t take constant pounding.
New ideas: minimalist training; don’t need run and run and run to be able to run a race. In fact, constant cardio, doing the same thing over and over, can actually cause you to gain weight.
Take action: I incorporate movement of some type each day, use weight resistance three to four times per week, eat well the majority of the time, get rest.
As I mentioned above, I do some type of exercise each day. It might not be a formal workout but it will include one or more of the following: arm movements, yoga poses, dynamic stretches (think walking lunge or bodyweight squats), walking at incline on the treadmill or walking outside.
Resistance training three to four times per week. I will vary my exercises with body weight movements i.e. squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, with using additional weights i.e. dumb bells, bar bells, medicine balls, kettle bells, weight vests, etc. The key here is to vary your workouts. I don’t go “full throttle” each workout. That’s not conducive to long-term gains. Instead, I vary my workouts, some I use a heavier resistance, some just my body weight, working a variety of muscles.
Generally, prior to a resistance training workout, I will begin with a warmup either on the Elliptical or jump rope, or walking for five to 10 minutes, until I feel ready. I might also include foam rolling to workout some tight muscles.
Workout specifically in preparation for Bloomsday (race day is first Sunday in May)
Sprints. The only running I do aside from a warm up and cool down is sprinting. What does this look like? Starting in February for one to two times per week, I will jog on the treadmill for five to 10 minutes and then increase the speed and sprint for 60 seconds then jog for 60 seconds and repeat five to seven times with a five minute cool down.
When the weather allows, I will do the same concept outside. I jog to a hill in the neighborhood and sprint up the hill and jog down it ten times and then jog back. That may have topped out at one and a half or two miles at the most. It doesn’t take long, I’m not getting constant jarring and pounding on my joints for very long, I’m not going at the same pace forever. In fact, by doing sprints or intervals of any kind, you can really blast fat. You may have heard of HIIT or high intensity interval training. This would be one example of that.
Once or twice per week I will use the stair mill at the gym (the one where “stairs” rotate and you have to step on each one as it rotates, not to be confused with the stair master). I begin at a steady pace for a five-minute warm up, then increase the speed for 60 seconds and ease off for 60 seconds and repeat five times. This year I continued to do that but ramped it up by doing seven to ten 60-second intervals instead of just five intervals. Took much more effort, especially if the gym was hot and nasty.
A month or so before the race, I incorporated a mega workout once per week. This is something that I really enjoyed and will continue to do. It is 60 minutes in length or longer and includes interval training of some sort i.e. treadmill, stair mill, rowing, roping, etc., then weight resistance i.e. squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc., then finish with an absolute fat blaster i.e. battle ropes, tire flips, kettle bell swings, squat jumps, etc. Oh yeah! That will do it. This will destroy you so if you try it be sure to hydrate properly and get adequate rest for the next day or two.
Two weeks leading up to my trip, I really ramped up the water intake, especially in the mornings to rehydrate from previous night and get the body ready for work. I also included a few drops of lemon essential oils for added immunity benefits. I didn’t have any alcohol in the weeks leading to the race and limited my caffeine and sugar intake. On the plane I wore my compression calf sleeves to help with circulation. I didn’t wear these during the race but put them on afterwards to help in the recovery.
Without a doubt, the way I train enabled me to run a 12K on a Sunday. But why was I able to shave six minutes off my time?
To your journey, [if !supportLineBreakNewLine]
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