1. Pace Yourself
The schedules are shaped to allow you to increase the workload gradually and consistently, so you are not asking too much of your body all at once.
2. Keep Perspective
The 10-week plans are to give some focus, but life goes on after 10 weeks. If you feel, for whatever reasons, you are falling behind, or struggling to keep to the schedule, nothing is ever lost. Just evaluate where you are and hook into the schedule again.
The idea is to have some fun as well, not to end up stressed out. Although you may have set an event as your finishing goal, there are always plenty of other goals and events to aim for.
3. Rest and Recovery
Rest and recovery days are always an important part of the schedule. Look at them as the days when your muscles and everything else re-builds their strength, and the work of the training days is assimilated to allow you to do a bit more next time!
4. Race Pace
"Race pace" in some schedules, means sessions where you run slightly faster than the rest of the week, They are there to gradually get you to adjust to the pace you aim to run for a full 5k at your target pace. You will be aware of the increase in effort, but it is not so fast, or so long, as to cause you huge discomfort. As the weeks go by, you will develop an intuitive feel for what pace you can hold comfortably.
5. Cross Training
Cross Training and alternative exercise. This is a day which for beginners and improvers is meant to be a rest or active recovery day. It is not meant to be strenuous but an easy "low impact" day. Cycling, swimming or easy walking are perfect low impact exercises to offset the higher impact of your "training days". Some coaches and trainers liken it to your "fun" training day.
6. Time vs. Distance
Some sessions are listed by time and distance. It is up to you which you find easier to deal with. If you know a distance of a route or are near a running track, (approx 4 laps = 1 mile) it is easy to use distance. Many runners are happy though just running by time. The main thing is not to tie yourself up in knots over this, but to just do the session.
7. Active Recovery
Active recovery on the 10km schedules is a day after a long continuous run, where you are running well within yourself, almost going as you please, with little walking breaks or view stops as required.
8. Stay Flexible
Treat the schedule as a guide and not something set in stone. The schedule doesn’t know your work patterns or when family birthdays or anniversaries are! At the weekend, after your Sunday session, when relaxing over a cuppa, review the previous week and plan when you can fit the next week's training in around everything else going on in your life.
9. Plan Ahead
Try and plan in the times of next week's sessions: either before work, lunchtime or evening. If events in your week mean you have to switch some days around, that is not a problem, as long as you stick to the basic principle of alternating a training day with a rest or recovery day.
10. Warm Down
At the end of each session, a few minutes brisk walk is great as a warm down, as is some simple stretching.
At Run and Become, although we are all passionate about exercise and running and doing our best to improve, we try not to forget it is really only our "playtime". Keeping the overall work / life / play balance is always important too.
Everyone seems to accept the benefits of regular exercise, and how it can improve general health and well being. However, if you have not exercised for a few years, or have a known underlying medical condition, do consult your GP or a health professional before commencing an increase in training. Also, if you feel unwell or really stiff or sore from a previous day's effort, it is better to miss a day (or two) and pick the schedule up again.