Our beginners are officially graduates. Congratulations on completing your training program! Intermediates, you’re in the home stretch with two weeks to go.
Let’s cover what’s coming up this week in the training check-in.
Training Check-In: Beginner 5K Plan
Although your official 360 YOU training program is over, you don’t have to—and shouldn’t—stop running. If you’re feeling sore and tired after your 5K, take a rest day as you relish in your accomplishments, or take a walk or do a light cross-training workout. Many runners find that light activity the day after a race can help increase circulation and flush out any metabolic byproducts to alleviate stiff and sore muscles. Swimming, water jogging, yoga, or a gentle walk can be the perfect salve to soothe away any aches. However, if you have more significant soreness, it may be best to take complete rest.
The rest of the week, use your body as a guide to inform what type of workouts to do. You may want to rest or cross-train for a few days, then take power walks, and build back up to jogging when you feel better. If you’re already feeling back to baseline, you might consider short runs (15-25 minutes) with walking breaks as needed. The focus should be on recovering from the hard effort of the race, not progressing your fitness. You won’t become “unfit” in a week of rest or easy workouts. In fact, your body needs time to rebuild and repair, especially if you’re feeling worn down from race day.
And don’t forget to join us in two weeks for an International Women’s Day run.
Training Check-in: Intermediate 5K Plan
This penultimate week of training is the time that the excitement and nerves may really start growing. As race day approaches, doubts sometimes start setting in and our brains have us questioning our abilities: Am I going to run well? Can I really run the pace I have in mind? How will I feel on race day?
First of all, it’s completely normal to start feeling a little anxious. Even professional and elite athletes battle self-doubt at times, but don’t let that part of your brain take over. You are more than capable and ready. You’ve been putting in the work and your body and mind are ready to work together on race day for the performance you want.
With race day approaching, this week of training starts a mild taper to ensure your legs will be fresh and ready once race day rolls around. You’ll still have a pretty full week, but you’ll be dropping one of the speed workouts for a distance run. Your long run is also backed off to 45-60 minutes, so use effort rather than pace as your guide. This run is just about time on your feet; you don’t need to push the pace or concern yourself with hitting a special mileage.
The one speed workout for the week will take place on Saturday, and heads up: it’s a big one. This is a major confidence-building workout because you’ll be challenged to hold your goal race pace for longer than you have been asked to thus far. You’ll kick off by running 3000 meters at your goal 5k race pace. This is more than half the full distance you’ll be smashing in just a week. Focus on staying relaxed and in control; settle into the pace and just take one lap at a time.
After the big interval is out of the way, you’ll jog for five minutes then hit a hard 600-meter interval at the same goal race pace, and then jog 200 meters to recover. Then, attack a 200-meter interval at your mile pace. This pace is faster, but you’ll get a full lap (400 meters) to recover afterwards. After the recovery, you have one more 600m at goal 5k pace again, followed finally by your hard 200m at mile pace. All told, you’ll cover nearly 5000m in your hard intervals at 5k pace or faster, which should fill you with confidence in your preparation for race day. You’ve got this.
Continue to listen to your body this week; nourish it with satiating foods, adequate sleep, and plenty of water. If and when little doubts creep in, swat them away by reminding yourself of everything you’ve been able to do so far. You’re incredible.