This six-week plan will prepare you for the New Balance Falmouth Road Race. It is geared toward serious runners and racing veterans who can comfortably run for an hour or more, and who want to develop the ability to run stronger and longer. Designed by the experts at Runner's World, this plan includes two speed sessions each week, two days of easy running, a day of rest, and a long run that stretches up to 12 miles.
It's important to establish a routine that blends well with everything else in your daily life. Figure out what times of day are most convenient to run, and scout out some safe routes that you can regularly take. If possible, get into the habit of heading out at the same time each day. If it's built into your schedule, you're less likely to skip a run and more likely to look forward to the next day's workout if you do miss a day.
4 to 6 miles easy 6 strides Run easy, then finish the run with six strides. Gradually accelerate over 100 meters until you reach 90 percent of all-out effort. Hold that effort for five seconds, then smoothly decelerate. Walk to full recovery after each stride.
Today is your first long, slow distance run (LSD). Long runs help you develop the physical endurance you need for the race, but they also help prepare you psychologically for spending hours at a time on your feet. Use these workouts to figure out what strategies help you stay mentally strong. Good music may help you stay psyched up, running with others may make the miles roll by faster. Mantras that are short, inspirational, and meaningful can help you stay positive, even as your body fatigues.
Now is the time to invest in high-quality running gear. Shirts, shorts, and pants that wick away moisture will help protect you from chafing and keep you comfortable no matter what the weather conditions are. These items may seem like extravagant expenses, but the investment you make now will pay off for hundreds of miles. The most important piece of gear is your shoes. Worn-out and ill-fitting shoes are often the cause of injury. Go to a specialty running shop to find a pair that offers the fit and support that your feet need. Shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles.
The Falmouth Road Race has a series of rolling hills. There is a gradual hill in the first mile, leading up to the Nobska Lighthouse. There is a series of modest rolling hills as the course winds through the woods. The next significant hill is just before mile three, just before you hit the beach section. The biggest hill occurs at mile 6.5. It rises about 100 feet in about one-quarter mile. After that, it's all downhill to the finish. The best thing you can do to prepare is to train on terrain that mimics the same patterns of inclines and descents. Now, at the beginning of training, scout out a variety of safe, traffic-free convenient routes that you can use to practice.
During runs or races of 75 minutes or longer, consume carbs 30 to 60 minutes into the run. Continue fueling in small doses, aiming for 100 to 250 calories (or 25 to 60 grams of carbs) per hour-equal to one to 2 1/2 sports gels or 16 to 40 ounces of sports drink. Try different brands and flavors of sports drinks, energy gels, and chews to find out which ones sit well in your stomach. Find out what will be served at the aid stations on the course so you can test it out during training and figure out whether it works for you.
Runners are at a higher risk for skin cancer, so be sure to protect yourself every time you head out. Wear a hat with a brim to shield your face. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 that's labeled 'broad spectrum' to protect you from UVA and UVB rays. Apply it 20 minutes before you start running so it can be absorbed by the skin. Sun protection is even more important on race day. The event starts at 10 a.m., and there are long stretches of the course where there is no shade.