Saturday, August 1, 2015

Increasing My Running Speed and Endurance

When I started running I used the Couch to 5K app and I really enjoyed it- for awhile. However, once I reached a certain point it was moving too fast for me and I couldn't keep up with the daily goals. I kept running, sometimes using previous days on the app and sometimes just making up my own goal that day. But I wasn't seeing much improvement in my 5k times and knew I needed to do something different.

That is when I really started researching what others do to increase their speed and endurance and I found out there is a vast amount of information on the internet about the subject. I read and read, then I asked questions on the THM runners facebook group. (They are so supportive and helpful!)

I learned enough to come up with my own plan and it has helped me tremendously! I thought I would share what I do each week, but then I highly encourage you to do some reading on your own and find out what works for you. Just because this works for me, it may not be the best for you. Also remember that I am not a professional, I am just sharing what I do.

I learned that Jeff Galloway teaches to run for a certain amount of time, then walk for a set amount of time and alternate this throughout your run. He says it increases your speed no matter your level. You can read about it here.

I also read about doing one day of sprint intervals to increase your speed, you can google that and find a wealth of sources. Then the other thing I learned is that I should do one long run a week, increasing my distance just slightly every week or every other week. 

Then after learning what I could and deciding to incorporate some of these things, I wrote down what my goals were. What did I want my 5k time to be and what would that mean my average pace had to be? How long did I want to run at one time and by what date did I want to achieve my goals? I came up with some attainable goals, counted how many weeks I had until my goal date and broke my big goals down into weekly goals.

I used my current pace and my goal pace to determine how much faster I would need to be to gradually reach my goal and broke that down into the number of weeks I had. I did the same thing with my endurance goal. I knew how long I could run at the start and what my goal was, figured the difference and divided that by the number of weeks I had. Then I printed a blank calendar and wrote down my goals for each week and what I needed to do each day to reach that goal.

For example, I run three days a week. On my first run day, I run as long as I can my first mile, aiming to reach my set goal for that week. After that I alternate running/walking intervals for the rest of the 3 miles. On my second run day, I run the first mile and then do sprint intervals for my second mile. I will sprint 30 seconds, walk for 60-90 seconds and sprint again, continuing this for the entire second mile. My third mile on this day is walking/jogging intervals.  My third run day is my day to increase my distance. Again, my first mile is running as long as I can, aiming for my time goal, then I alternate walking/running until I reach my distance goal for that week.

Does that make sense? I tried to explain it best I could, but if you have questions just ask.

I also decided I wanted to work on toning my arms, so on my off run days I do arm weight exercises. I found some online and made my own workout to follow.
Six days a week I do push ups and a plank. I add one push up each day and I add time to my plank every other day. These are also written on my monthly calendar so I know what I am supposed to be doing each day.  The planks are great for my core which also helps my running, bonus!!

I highly encourage you to set goals and then break them down into attainable weekly goals. If you don't know what your are working for, how will you know when you achieve it? It is so motivating to know what your goal is and then to REACH it!!

This week, praise God, I surpassed both of my running goals!! That felt amazing!

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