Digital Champions Blog: Race Training – Making a Plan

By Jamie-Leigh Cuthbertson 
Toronto August 25th, 2016

I signed up for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon in May, riding the heels of the incredible runner’s high I had from running my first half-marathon in the spring. I loved training for that race, but found that my training lacked a whole lot of structure and I didn’t end up building distance as early in my training schedule as I should have. It was fine, and my race went really, really well.

For this race, I decided I wanted to put together a formal training plan for the race. I did my research and put together a plan that included everything a good training should include:

 #1 Long Runs: 

Building up your distance is going to be an important part of training for any race. Your training plan should include a weekly long run where you can gradually increase your distance each week, getting closer to your actual race distance. These runs help build the physical foundation and endurance you’ll need to run the race as well as the mental strength to face any challenges you may encounter.

#2 Speed Work:

While it may be hard to believe as you’re doing 200m sprints during the hottest days of the summer, speed workouts get your body used to moving faster and train it to burn less fuel while going further. I have also found that increasing my pace in speed workouts mean that my long run pace seems a lot more manageable. Playing around with running paces has helped me know when to give it more gas or when to keep some in the tank in race scenarios as well.

#3 Strength Training:

Long runs and speed workouts are great at working the main muscles we need for running, but there are other important parts of our body that we need to keep strong to help prevent injuries. Strength workouts for runners should focus on targeting muscles that help keep you balanced like your core, hips, back, and glutes.

#4 Rest Days: 

The most important part of any training plan is scheduling your rest days! Your body is working hard for you and you need to reward it with some recovery time. Your body takes this time to repair muscles and without these days, you risk over training and overuse injuries. My training schedule ensures I get at least 1 day per week of full rest and relaxation.

Even though I follow a training plan, I work in extra strength training and sometimes shift the dates of each run or workout based on what is happening that week. It’s important to be a bit flexible with your training plan and enjoy the process!

If you ever need any company for speed work, long runs, carb loading, or rest days – give me a shout on Twitter @JamieLeighTO.