There are a lot of training programs out there and you need to find the one that works best for you. I can't recommend which one is the best for you because I don't know your running experience. For me, as a 47 year-old woman, I find that the less I run the better. I tend to get injured the more I run, so I have decided to use the Run Less Run Faster program by Runner's World. According to this plan, I run three specific training runs a week and cross train with non impact activities 2-3 days a week, plus I also add in some resistance total body and core training.
This will be my third Boston Marathon and my 14th full marathon. I train for speed, I train for a BQ and my time to beat is 3:55:00. One day, I dream of running a 3:30:00 marathon, but I don't know if I will see that in this lifetime! You see, the older you get, the slower you get; it's all a part of aging. This training is hard and it is intense, but I only do it for the 16 weeks, then I give my body a break.
Currently, I am suffering with some hamstring issues that have me in physical therapy. Apparently, I tend to be a hamstring dominate runner, meaning my body has let my hamstrings take on all the burden of running, and they are strained and fatigued and causing pain. Physical therapy has me training my body to use my glutes, which is hard! I started out doing very simple exercises where I lay on my back and just tighten my glutes and hold them as tightly as possible for 10 counts. Then I have progressed to single leg bridge four sets of 25 Reps each leg. I also work on some exercise machines to help strengthen my glutes, all while concentrating on engaging them. It has involved a lot of mind over body to the point where I can engage them whenever I need to. The only problem is, they are weak and they fatigue easily. I need to make them stronger than my hamstrings.
I have also had to implement a whole new way of running, which is interesting after running 13 marathons and numerous other races. I have been practicing the CHI Running method, but this method doesn't require you to use your glutes. So now I am doing a modified CHI Running form. I still land mid foot, then I really try and extend my leg behind me as much as I can (no longer doing the butt kick) and really push off and propel myself forward using my glutes, all while maintaining the forward lean, or forward fall from your feet. Learning a new running technique is difficult, because my body wants to slip back into its old ways, so I have to keep my mind in it and maintain the new form. It is exhausting, and I find that I don't have as much stamina due to the weak glutes.
With that being said, I know this is going to be a challenge, training to reach my BQ goals with an entire new way of running. This first week of training didn't go quite as well as I had planned, but I am OK with that. I know it is going to be harder this time around and I am listening to my body and doing what I can without over doing it and becoming injured. Plus, I was sick the week of Christmas and didn't do much as far as exercise, so I was a little fatigued going into this first week. I cut back on my speed interval training and opted for hills instead. My tempo run wasn't quite as fast as I had hoped, but it was still comfortably hard, and my long run was a little slower and one mile shorter than I had planned. I had to quit at 12 miles because I was so fatigued after mile 9 and my glutes were really starting to hurt (13 was my scheduled distance). My average pace was supposed to be 8:40, and I ended doing 8:50 with the first nine miles being 8:40, so I am getting there. I also didn't do all my cross training this week, just recovering from being sick and easing into the training program. We will see how week 2 goes!
Final thoughts: I am thankful for my body, for physical therapy, and for my injuries. I always learn so much about myself through injuries, and I am better in the long run (pun intended)! It is a blessing to be able to run and spend time with God working through issues and concerns. It is my time to train, to push my body and mind, and see how far I can go. I am thankful for every step of the way.
Cross My Heart Fitness
Cross My Heart Fitness is dedicated to improving the lives of its clients through nutritional, spiritual, and physical training.