This is the first article in a series from physical therapist Molly Gries who is training for the 2017 Boston Marathon. Gries will focus on phases of marathon training from planning to recovery. In this first article, she outlines planning and training.
Throughout my years of running and working as a physical therapist, I have developed a systematic plan to effectively train and manage a busy lifestyle and other activities. The keys to a good training plan are flexibility and recognizing when to adjust.
|Thursday||Regular run||5-6 miles|
|Saturday||Long run||20 miles|
Develop a Plan
- Start by figuring your baseline mileage. Tip: Use the longest distance you can comfortably run as a starting point for weekly mileage.
- Adjust your plan as needed for training, activities and vacations.
- Listen to your body and do what’s right for you.
- Increase weekly mileage gradually -- about 10 percent each week. A typical training plan takes anywhere from 13 to 24 weeks depending on your starting level.
- Include a variety of workouts. I always include these five: long run, track/speed workout, tempo, regular run and crosstraining.
Train with Intention
With advance planning done, the real running begins. A few tips for making your training count:
- Map your route. Don’t just wing it. Take the time to map out a route first taking notes of mileage and possible water sources. This is also a good time to try to work in more race specific training. If you’re running a hilly course, do some hilly training runs to incorporate elements of the course.
- Warm-up. Try a quick dynamic warm-up to prevent injuries before running.
- Run hills. During long runs, training runs or repeats. It will help increase your endurance and strength.
- Hydrate. Bring water with you or scout your routes for water fountains to stay hydrated. The goal is to take in water every two to four miles. Tip: Most cities turn off outdoor water fountains in winter, check if they are on before assuming your source.
- Fuel your body. From energy gels to jelly beans, there are lots of options. Find something that works for you and practice eating and running. Find and practice fueling before long runs. I like yogurt and granola, or a Cliff bar and banana with coffee. As a morning runner, I try to wake up 30 to 60 minutes prior to a long run to make sure I can get ready, eat and drink water.