So we’re just past the half way in preparing for the 1/2 Marathon at the end of the month. And by ‘we’ I’m referring to a number of us in Kelowna, some in Washington and a couple in Vancouver. You see we’re following this crazy experiment to get ready to race 21.1 kilometres without running more than a half mile at a time.
More than a few people think we’re crazy. A more still are really curious to know how we’re going to make out. But you know what?
Almost everyone in the group is:
* getting fitter
* getting faster
* gaining insights into their running, sprinting and overall movement mechanics
And addition to these benefits there are 5 other lessons we’ve learned along the way. Here they are.
Lesson #1 – You can’t jump straight into sprinting
Sprinting is a plyometric activity that involves jumping (or bounding) from one leg to the next. And while the same can be said to a lessor degree of running or jumping, it’s not nearly the same.
You need a much higher level of eccentric strength, more hip mobility and more time to recover after sprinting than with other two.
If you are going to start in with some sprint training make sure you address any imbalances and build up your strength first. Failing to do may lead to down time from injury.
Lesson #2 –Sprinting is great for getting lean
Have you ever noticed how your body changes after a phase of sprinting? You drop pounds. Your waist shrinks. You become more striated and have better separation of muscle groups.
Personally I’ve noticed this the other day when demo’ing an exercise for the Youth Fitness. I threw a med ball against the wall and my ring went flying off my hand into the wall.
If you want to realize these benefits as well give sprinting a try. Just remember lesson #1.
Lesson #3 – You learn tempo
Sprinting is about moving quickly but staying relaxed. This is easier said than done.
When the body is tensed there is restriction on range of motion. And energy stores are depleted more quickly. And there is increased nervous system fatigue.
With our training we have been practicing staying relaxed when sprinting. This improves running economy and leads to better performance. And it all helps with learning pace.
Lesson #4 – Know thy pace
My goal is to run the 1/2 in under 90 minutes. I know this will be a challenge. But why give yourself an easy goal? Make it and earn it.
One thing about this program has been the specificity of the numbers. By this I mean how much time it should take to do an interval. How long your rest break should be. How many intervals to do. What the work to rest ratios are. What days to train and what days to rest.
Everyone in the group could probably tell you their times for the 100 m, 400 m and 800 m with a problem.
Now they are learning to run at their race pace. They are getting a feel for what this speed feels like. They are getting a feel for their breathing pattern at this speed. They are getting a sense for their stride rate.
And when they get out there on race day they’ll know how it should feel. They can block out the distractions and just run their race.
Lesson #5 – Negative splits
The 1/2 Marathon won’t be won in the first half of the race. And although none of us are expecting to win we are all trying to keep this in mind with our own race strategies.
We want to find our stride and tempo in the first half of the race. And in the second half we will look to push the pace depending on personal goals.
But something I read recently sounds like a great rule for us as well. Every second we are under pace on the first half of the race will cost us 2 on the back half.
So with this mind I’ll know what my per km and per mile pace should be. If I’m 5-15 seconds over pace during the first half of the race I’m ok with this as my goal is make it up on the second half.
We will run the 1/2 Marathon in Seattle on November 27. Wish us luck. Pics and maybe video to follow.