Runners need strength. Now while I know many of us run from the sight of a gym this bodyweight workout will give you the strength that you need to maximize performance and avoid the gym. While many strength athletes will argue that strength based workouts needs to be done on a regular basis to harness any performance I would argue that a fortnightly routine will be enough to stimulate performance enhancements without undue muscular bulking. If you feel that this is not enough I recommend that you increase the frequency and intensity until you find a happy medium.
I highly recommend the following youtube workout to get you started.
For this first run of the program I want to see where you are at. As the name suggests this is the line in the sand and also the measuring stick through which we will compare all your efforts from this point forward.
Simple run/walk 5 kilometers. If you can only run 1km and walk 4 that is fine. Most importantly I don't want you to get excited and remember past glories and blow up in your first outing. I understand that you are excited to start this exciting challenge in your life but spread that inspiration over the next 10 weeks. Getting out of the front door should be inspiration enough for this first run.
For this second run of your 10 week program I want to get you familiar with running at different paces. For many of us we get used to running at a set speed, the problem with that is the body and mind will settle in a routine pretty quickly and find the easiest path from point A to point B. If your desire is to run a half marathon then the body and mind will work to ensure that it does this half marathon as economically as possible. Your job is to mix things up in training to shock your body into a form of passive submission.
For this first tempo session I would like you to do a 10 minute easy warm up with 5 harder 30 second efforts to slowly get the body ready for the main 10 minute set . In this set I need you to do the following:
1st minute - fast walk
2nd minute - slow jog (just above a walk)
3rd minute - medium jog
4th minute - slow jog
5th minute - medium jog
6th minute - fast jog
7th minute - medium jog
8th minute - fast jog
9th minute - slow run
10th minute - slow jog
For the cool down you simply need to repeat the warm up but the key is that you need to cool down so you feel like you can do it again. If you have your hands on your knees sucking in the breaths then you have gone too hard. The 10 minute main set is where you should have done all of your work.
Hill strength walk/run repeats. Find a moderate hill with a flat approach.
5 min walk to warm up.
Main set repeat 4 times:
Walk up and down hill (2 min uphill on toes to activate calves, 2 min downhill with controlled descent).
Jog out and back on flat approach (1 min out, 1 min back at a pace you can sustain for 2 min). (Focus on landing on your midfoot to forefoot during run, avoid heel striking.)
5 min walk to cool down.
The core is one of the most undervalued elements of running training yet it is vital for performance improvement as it facilitates the effective and efficient transfer of leg momentum to your gait.
For this session you will need to do the following beginner pilates program on youtube. Click on the link below
For this second 5km run of the program I want to see how you have coped with a full week of training and what effect the day off yesterday had on you. If you ran longer and felt better than the run on Tuesday then you are in a good spot and you are ready to hit week 2 with a full stride. If you found yourself struggling much more than Tuesday run then you need to take week two slowly as your fitness is not where you think it is. You are pushing your body harder than it can handle and you are on path for illness and injury. This run is the litmus test and your body will well and truly tell you if you have pushed yourself too hard.
As with Tuesday, simply run/walk 5 kilometers. If you can only run 1km and walk 4 that is fine. Write down everything in the post-activity comments and compare all metrics with your run on Tuesday. Be scientific and make a decision based on all the qualitative (how you felt) and quantitative data (what your time and heart rate was telling you).
LSD - Long slow distance. Over the next 10 weeks the I have written into the program a gradual increase in distance so you will be able to cover the half marathon distance. The key to these sessions is Long Slow Distance and keeping your heart rate at 180 minus your age. If you are 50 you are not to go over 130 bpm. At the beginning this will be painful you will be walking more than you will be running but you must trust me that these sessions train you heart to be more efficient. You will find over time that your speed will increase but your heart rate will stay the same.
So for this session run/walk 8 kilometers keeping your heart rate under (180 - age) like your life depended on it.