Saturday, November 1, 2008

Training for a marathon, Walkers Vs Runners

No one has ever done a study of this, at least none that I can find so this is pure Panda theory and common sense, so take it as it is my opinion with no science to back it up.

When a person is training for a marathon their training plans should be very different if they are walking, running or doing a combination. All three need to do long distance training days, the big difference is the amount of time it takes to recover from the training. If a runner does a 15 plus mile day they shouldn't do another hard day for at least 3 days and not another distance day for a week. I'm speaking of newer runners not seasoned runners who regularly do 30 miles a week or more.

Elite, even local elite runners can do more miles because they are conditioned to it. Do they still get injuries, yep. I'm speaking to athletes who do a moderate amout of exercise as a part of living a healthy lifestyle. Part of that life style is being able to exercise at a moderate level free of over use injuries. Doing a few marathons and half marathons a year is certainly possible. But if you skimp on recovery time you will have problems.

When a walker trains for a long distance race they also need long milage days. The difference is that if you do a 15 plus miles day you don't need as long to recover as a runner. You can do a long day twice a week with out problems. However, the build up is every bit as important for you as the runner. Don't add more than 10% to your miles each week and every third week do a 20% less week to help you build safely.

Another area where both runners and walkers need to be cautious in in increasing intensity. If you are building base distance don't try to increase speed at the same time. Example: If you are doing 12 miles for the first time don't try to do it as fast as possible. Do your miles at the same or even an easier pace than you normally do. After you have gone 12 miles a few times and you are comfortable with it then go ahead and pick up the pace if you want to. But do not increase miles and speed in the same week.

I have discovered over the years that just before an injury I was feeling very strong and bullet proof. I would have a super run and of course the next day I wanted to repeat it. The feeling is addictive and you want it to last. Like a recovering addict we need to remember, "Just one more time will hurt". So if you do have a super run or walk take is easy for a day or to after, it's hard to do but showing restraint is good. If you have a PR (Personal Record) don't try to repeat it the next day. Every PR should be rewarded by a rest or easy or cross training day.

The hardest training to plan is run/walking. You still have a lot of pounding and stress on your body from the running so I'd use the same plan as runners for your marathon training. The walking breaks help you do the distance easier but you shouldn't look at it as less stressful and that you don't need as much recovery.

My personal plan: One long distance day a week, increasing by 10% each week. One moderate day around 6 to 10 miles each week. Several walks of 3 to 5 miles at varied intensity.

Example: (Remember I'm purely a walker)

Monday: Long day, increased by 10% per week to 20 miles.

Tuesday: Moderate day, 6 to 10 miles. (a runner should make this a rest or easy day).

Wednesday: Easy day, 3 to 4 miles comfortable pace.

Thursday: Hard day, 3 to 5 miles of speed work

Friday: Moderate day, 3 to 5 miles of fartlac or cross training.

Saturday: Rest or easy crosstraining

Sunday: Rest day.

This schedule is assuming nothing hurts. If you have pain anywhere you should adjust your schedule accordingly. If you have pain that is not just soreness that goes away after you warm up rest is better than tying to push through the pain.

Every workout should include warming up, cooling down and stretching. Any body part that is prone to soreness needs to get ice treatment as soon after your workout as possible.

I'm going to do a lot of dialog on training for distance this month since a lot of us are training for a january marathon at DisneyWorld.

Thanks for reading.

Long Distance Panda

No comments: