Make Sure Your Legs Are Ready by Coach Jay, Nike Sports
The first race of the year for most people is shorter than their goal race. For instance, if you’re one of the people who has the Chicago Marathon as your goal race of the year, you might have the 8k (just shy of 5 miles) Shamrock Shuffle on your calendar for March 17th. What’s interesting if that your pace for 8k and your pace for the marathon, 42.2k, are going to be vastly different. And this is true even if you’re out of shape in March but will be in shape in October for the Marathon. So what should you do? First, make sure you’re doing strides at 5k pace or faster at least twice a week, if not three times a week. After just a few short weeks of doing strides you’ll feel better on all of your runs – threshold runs, fartlek runs and long runs. If you’ve had a great winter of training so far and have a goal time in mind for your opening race, make sure you’ve done some longer repeats on the track (or the roads if you have a GPS) at race pace. For instance, if you were running the 8k you could do 8 x 1k with a sixty to ninety seconds rest, or 5 x 1 mile with three minutes rest, or 4 x 2k with three to five minutes rest. If you can do one of these workout three weeks out, then repeat the workout ten days out and see if you can do it with just a little less rest between the repetitions. You’ll be grooving your goal pace, but you’ll get plenty of rest, allowing your to finish the workout.
Bottom line is that your engine may be ready, but if your legs aren’t ready then you won’t run as fast as you’re capable of. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun in this first race…you’ve got the entire year to train and run PRs.
*Coach Jay’s advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.
And don’t forget, if you have a training question for Coach Jay, email him here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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