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You-Can-Run 'The Reggae Half Marathon' Training Program
This training program is designed for beginners. The beginner is defined as someone who has not run in a very long time or has never run before, but is able to walk at least one or two miles. If you are over the age of 35 and are 30 lbs or more overweight, it is a good idea to see your doctor before starting this program.
This is a 12 week training program which starts with base building and progresses slowly building your endurance thus enabling you to complete the distance. As beginners you may find it an awesome and overwhelming challenge, but taking short regular walk breaks will make your goal to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) achievable and with little risk of injuries. I recommend a 5:1 run/walk interval. That is, run for 5 minutes then walk for one minute and continue this pattern for the entire run.
The recommended run/walk combination is to run 5 minutes and walk 1 minute. You are to continue this pattern for the entire run. As you get fitter, gradually increase the length of your running time to 9 minutes and walk 1 minute. If, because of your fitness level, you elect to run continuously, you should start out at a pace that you can hold for the entire run. That is, run for 5 minutes then walk for 1 minute.
Your most important piece of equipment is properly fitting running shoes. The shoes must be designed for running (not cross trainers) and have a balanced sole at the heel. When purchasing shoes, wear the type of socks you will be training in. A guideline to use for proper fit is to have enough room - the width of your thumbnail - between the tip of your big toe and the tip of the shoe. Clothing is to be loose and comfortable and not cause irritation.
Your running pace for the training run should allow you to carry on a conversation while you are running.
Walk - The walk interval should be done at your normal walking pace, not a race walking pace.
Easy Runs - This is slower than your normal running pace. You may opt to walk on these easy run days.
Gentle stretching is strongly recommended before and after a run. Stretching helps to prevent injuries.
One to 2 days of strength training per week is recommended but swimming, walking or riding are also good cross training activities to do on days when you don’t run.
Hill work is optional for the inexperienced beginner. This type of workout strengthens your legs and is helpful in the event that there are hills on the course of the race. Select a hill with a moderate grade, which is about 400 to 800, meters long. Start by running 2 hills and increase by one every week to 6 or 7 hills. Try to maintain your normal running pace, as this will translate into a harder workload that is necessary to build strength. Do not be tempted to race down the hill as this will increase your chances of becoming injured. Run slowly or walk down the hill.
Speed work is not recommended for the inexperienced beginner. However, after completing the base training portion of the program and you are free of any injury, the more experienced runner may be challenged to do speed work. Start with 3 x 400 meters and increase by one on each successive speed workout day to a maximum of 8 x 400 meters. Do not run the 400’s at an “all out” pace. Take your normal 1-mile pace (including the walk breaks) and subtract 2 minutes then divide by 4 to estimate the speed at which you should run the 400’s. For example, if it takes you 12 minutes to run 1 mile then you should run a 400 in 12-2 = 10/4 = 2.5 minutes. Remember this is just a guide to guard against running too fast and increasing your risk of injury. Walk for 3 to 4 minutes between each speed interval.