Hopefully, you have "maintained," through what has been, in many areas of the United States, a harsh winter.
If you have maintained your fitness level and have not regressed since last fall, here are five recommendations for a successful spring and summer running season.
1. Speed-If you read my blog regularly, you know that I preach a need for speed, for every race distance. In fact, I read an article last week which suggested that, for runners over the age of 50, speed is even more important.
Speed work, of course, is all relative. Usain Bolt would chuclke at our idea of "speed," but it essentially goes like this. Let's say your goal is to run a 3-hour marathon, which equates to about a 6:56 per mile pace. On your weekly speed workout, you should be running FASTER than race pace. A 3 x 1 mile interval workout should be run at a 6:30 or better pace. 4 x 800s should be in the 3:00-3:15 range. A repeat 400 meter session is a terrific workout for any race distance. Now here's the key ingredient to your speed workout: rest (or lack of). You don't want your heartrate fall to rest level. Therefore, 'halve' your interval. If you're running a set of 800s, slowly jog 400 meters in between.
2. New Digs-Take a trip to your local running shop and buy a new pair of running shoes. Do your research, Choose the shoe for your, receive expert advice, and you'll feel better when you run. While you're at it, purchase a new pair of shorts, a shirt and socks. There's just something about new running clothing and shoes that makes you want to get out there and run.
3. Tech it Baby-I just 'copyright infringed' myself, since that's the title of a chapter in my book, Personal Best. www.muldowneyrunning.com. Purchase any technological product that's going to make you feel better when you run. We have more high-tech stuff for running then ever. Use it.
4. Phone a Friend-Find someone in your community who runs around the same pace as you, and run with them. Set meeting times and distances. Share your knowledge and training advice and listen to theirs. Running friends are important components of your training life.
5. Map it Out-Sit down and map out your running and racing goals for the next few months. Don't overrace, rather, concentrate on fewer, faster race efforts.
Follow these five essential spring rules and you'll be on your way to your personal best.