The Fall Classic is an excellent opportunity to find a race distance that will meet your running goals because there is a 5km, 10km and half marathon. There are several steps to achieving your goal. Your goal may be to run your first race, improve your best time, or boost your fitness for another race.
The first step is to decide which event you want to run. If you have a marathon planned in early December then the Fall Classic half marathon is a good race test of your fitness. The course is two loops and if you are running your first half marathon it offers the opportunity for your friends and family to cheer you on. If you are looking for a faster run to test your fitness or to run your first race there are the 5km and 10km events. Both courses are set up nicely for spectators as the finishing 2km has an out and back portion.
The second step is to decide the time you want to achieve. Now is a perfect opportunity to plan and write it down. By thinking of your goal, you begin the process of meeting your goal. Choose a goal time that you know you can achieve though it may not be easy. Write it down and think about it. What will you need to do to get there? How fast will you need to train? What kind of workout is your weakest; is it tempo or speed? Maybe you need to focus more on your weaknesses to improve.
Choose a finishing time that is reasonable based on your fitness. Your training should consider your physical capacity to run without injury. Being consistent in training is a major key to success. Running three times per week is within most people’s capacity; additional aerobic volume can be added through cross-training. You can expect some improvement if you are training consistently week to week.
The third step is to estimate the paces you need to run in your workouts to achieve your goals. There are several pacing tables and pace equivalency tables that give you an idea of how fast to run your workouts.
The fourth step is to work backwards from the race date to now and set-up a weekly training schedule that will gradually improve your fitness.
Forerunners is starting a running clinic later this month to help you train for the Fall Classic 10km and Half Marathon. We also offer a Learn to Run 5km program for beginners. We are providing you with help through a training schedule, and guidance on finding your paces and training zones. But there is more that you need to do. Your goal is what you want to achieve in your race. It may be to reach the start line in great shape, or just finish your first 10km. You may want to meet a specific time or just improve a bit. Whatever your aspiration is, the next two weeks is a good time to think about it.
Forerunners base platform training plan calls for three runs per week: 1) Tempo and Steady State; 2) Speedwork Intervals; and, 3) Easy Aerobic Endurance runs. This base training program helps you achieve the three goals of the clinic:
Goal 1 – make to the start line (avoid injury);
Goal 2 – make it to the finish line (sufficient training to complete the race); and,
Goal 3 – run your target time.
Running three times per week can increase your fitness to a good level with a lower risk of injury. Many of our clinic runners qualify for the Boston Marathon this way. After you have reached a fitness plateau you could add a fourth day of running. I suggest running threshold training on the fourth day; such as in our Goal 3 clinic.
If you are training at the wrong paces week after week you can become stale. Pacing and knowing your running pace zones is important. Remain fresh and improve your fitness by following the zone training method we use at Forerunners:
Zone 1 for easy aerobic endurance runs;
Zone 2 for marathon and half marathon event specific steady state and tempo runs;
Zone 3 for anaerobic threshold tempo runs; and,
Zone 4/5 for interval speedwork.
Learn your desired paces for each zone by using equivalency tables or through a fitness test. Also learn your equivalent race paces. For a 2:00 half your race pace is 5:41/km, and equivalent race times are 5km 25:55 (5:11 per km), 10km 53:55 (5:22 per km) , and full 4:12 (5:59 per km)
Stay motivated by reminding yourself of your goal. Write down your time on a piece of paper and put it on the fridge next to a picture of you running. Every day you will remind yourself of your goal when you get a snack. (Setting your goal time banking pin number is another way to remind yourself.) Think about what it will take to achieve it. What paces do you need to run in the race and the workouts. See yourself accomplishing that goal. Carry that image of yourself achieving that goal all of the time. This will give you a much better chance of achieving that goal. You should remind yourself of that goal every day.
Most goal setting coaches and mentors will tell you to believe in yourself and that you can do it. You may generally have a goal in mind, however; it’s the process of thinking about it, writing it down and reviewing it that makes it more powerful.
Be as specific as possible with your goal. This will help you stay focused.