14th June
2011
written by Randy

When this year began, I could barely run 1 km, and doing so left me exhausted and in pain. This morning, I ran 7 km and I felt like I could have kept going. The last 7 weeks of training have been building up to that, of course.

The goal is to run 40 km, so I’ve still got a long way to go. But I’ve got a solid training technique which seems to be working quite well.

First, an explanation.

The problem is, if you just run until you can’t run any more, you’ll exhaust yourself early, and each new run will be little or no improvement over the previous run, so in order to increase stamina, you need a way to run longer than your maximum. You do this by taking a walking break when you get tired, and then running again after you’ve had a chance to rest.

By running again after you’ve rested, you continue the workout past your maximum. This allows you to keep running, to increase distance and stamina, and to improving your pace.

The secret ingredient for me has been music.

I wear my iPod Nano while I run, and I use the music to keep my pace. If I’m tired, I walk during the slow parts of the music, but I always start running again once the music gets to the refrain. If I can get through a whole song without walking I do, but even if I have to take a walking break I am back to running as soon as the music changes.

This has been working very well for me. Even if I were to give up now and never run that marathon, the improvement I’ve already had in my breathing and energy and daily stamina have been incredible. I’m undoing the damage of 12 years of smoking, and I’m getting into better cardiovascular condition than I think I’ve ever had in my life.

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  • Penny

     … even if you have to take a walking break you…? :)

    Btw, do you stretch before/after running? I didn’t, and now have to pay the price in form of hurting adductors *grmbl*

  • http://www.yearlyglot.com/ Randy the Yearlyglot

    Doh! Somehow the end of my sentence got cut off.  It’s fixed. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I’m not currently doing any stretching. I need to do some research on it first. In weight training, I learned that stretching actually increases your chance of injury. I need to find out if it’s different for running before I’ll consider doing it.