Jumpstart your body with a cardio cross training workout. During the course of this training plan, you're going do many aerobic workouts other than running to help build strength and endurance without the pounding that comes from running. Find a cross training activity (or a few) you enjoy, such as swimming or cycling. Concentrate on staying comfortable during this run, even if that means running outside of the recommended pace range. Tell your friends, family and/or coworkers about your goal to break 4:00 in a marathon. Committing to a goal is something to be proud of and talking about it helps many athletes stay dedicated and feel accountable to themselves.
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4 miles easy (11:30 to 12:50 per mile pace) w/4 x 20 sec strides after run w/full recovery + hip
Concentrate on staying comfortable during this run, even if that means running outside of the recommended pace range.
Strides are short accelerations from a stand-still up to a fast pace. They help refine your technique and improve efficiency at every speed. Take as much standing rest as you need between strides. Top out at a fast but comfortable speed--strides are not sprints. These will appear repeatedly through your training plan.
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Off or cross training
Cross training, which includes swimming, strength training, cycling, rowing, elliptical, stairmaster, hiking or another activity, is a good way to build fitness without risking injury or getting overtired. An off day will help your body respond to the training you've done; take at leasy one day completely off each week. Pick the day based on your fatigue and real-life schedule.
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2 mile w/u, 4 x 5 mins @ 8:10 to 8:20 pace w/3min easy jog btwn each, 1 mile c/d + core
When you have a rest period between intervals, what should you do? Stand, walk, jog? In short, I suggest standing if your rest period is less than a minute, walking if the rest is 1-3 minutes, and a slow shuffle jog if the rest is longer than 3 minutes (once you catch your breath). 4:00 is an ambitous goal. To reach that milestone, you'll have a short, fast workout like this one most weeks. They will improve your aerobic fitness, efficiency and confidence.
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Off or cross training cross training
Aqua jogging, or deep water running, is the best form of cross training for runners. The movement closely mimics running form, which provides a neuromuscular workout that, in addition to aerobic benefits, helps keep the running specific muscles active. Most importantly, aqua jogging is impact free, which means it can be implemented during almost any injury.
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4 miles easy (11:30 to 12:50 per mile pace)
Stay comfortable during this run, even if that means running outside of the recommended pace range. How is your body adapting to the new training load? It's normal to feel sore and tired, especially at the start of the plan, but it's important to stay on top of unexpected pain. Extra soreness in a singular spot of a muscle or a sharp pain can be a sign that you're experiencing the beginnings of an injury. If that happens, take extra rest and see a medical pro who specializes in endurance injuries. It's much easier to prevent an injury than fix one after it gets out of control. The difference betwen an easy run and a recovery run is subtle, but important. If you feel tired, run down or just not motivated during a recovery run, add extra walk breaks or pull the plug entirely. Rest for tomorrow's workout is more important than any gains you'll make today.
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12 mile long run - all easy pace (11:30 to 12:50 per mile pace)
Today's run is all about distance. Don't sweat the pace, just cover the miles. Today's run is more than two hours, which means you're going to need some water and some carbs to stay strong. Every long run is an opportunity to zero in on your own personal formula for nutrition. Start at a baseline around 10 ounces of fluids and 125 calories per hour. Pay attention to your body's reaction during the run and note it down afterward. Next week, adjust your nutrition strategy based on the results today.
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