SNEAK PEEK: CHRISTY'S FIRST TWO WEEKS OF TRAIL RACE TRAINING
You want to start training for a race, but don't know how? Read these four helpful tips to start creating a plan that works for you mama.
There are different ways to approach coaching and in turn training. Everyone will have different circumstances that impact how often they can run. You can find training plans online, but they are fairly generic. Hiring a running coach helps cater a plan to your base mileage and your schedule needs. It provides challenges and ensures progress. Most importantly there is accountability. The most important advice I can give whether you hire someone or decide to train independently is to be honest with how much time you can dedicate to training and then create a plan you can implement into your week. This plan is tailored to Christy's work/life schedule and base mileage, knowing she had about 14 weeks until her goal race. This plan would be too aggressive to start with if you have not ran more than a couple of miles consecutively or don't have a moderate cardio base.
Tip 1: Reflect on your base mileage and past experiences. How often are you running presently? Have you ran a race in the past? If yes, and it was relatively recent, what was your finish time and how did you feel?
Confidence comes from past experiences, so it is always good to reflect on where we came from and build from there.
Tip 2: Determine your present goal. Is it to complete the distance alone? Or do you have a time goal you are chasing?
The intensity of your training plan should vary depending on the goals you have.
Wanting to finish a half marathon with friends will feel different than training to hit a personal best.
Tip 3: Create a training plan working backwards from your long run.
Your total weekly mileage and intensity of the workouts should steadily increase in order to prevent injury.
Often if you are training for a half marathon or full marathon, you have a set race date in mind. This allows you to work backwards from the long run to create a plan with enough time for a gradual build.
Tip 4: Set a schedule that works for YOU. How many days/week or hours can you commit to training? How many days do you want to dedicate to running versus cross training?
You should be pursuing a running goal because it fills your cup. It brings YOU joy. Not because you see other people doing it. Don't take the love out of running.
Training plans can have you running anywhere from 3-6 days/week. I like to break training into 2 week intervals and check in on how the workouts felt and adapt the plan from there. There will be hard workouts and hard runs, but it should never feel like a punishment.
Again, this plan is tailored to Christy's routine. She has completed half and full marathons. But the last race she ran was 13.1 miles in October 2019 postpartum with KJ. She is 8 months postpartum with Adria and has done PF PT, healed her 2 finger diastasis recti through 360 breathing/core work, and focused on strength training the past few months. Christy was running 1-2x/week, but had a strong cardio base with Peloton cycling classes and traditional HIIT style strength workouts. She is a working mama with a baby and a toddler and felt she could commit to 3-4 days/week running. She has never done a trail race and set the goal of Smith Rock 15 miler with about 14 weeks to train. Ultimately, she wanted to commit to a running goal so that she can refocus on herself. She is the strongest mama I know, but sometimes we need to feel it ourselves. She is not chasing a specific finish time but wants to finish the race feeling STRONG and JOYFUL, which makes the training plan a bit more fluid.
We wanted to share these tips and a bit more detail because goal setting can be daunting, but it does not have to be. If you take the time to create a plan that works, set realistic goals, and adapt your training you can accomplish most things with a bit of grit and consistency. The best part of racing is not race day, but the confidence you build and memories you create training along the way.