Running A Marathon. Training Plan Week 12. The Shoe Shine Shuffle
Running A Marathon. Training Plan: Week 12/30. Mastering The Shoe Shine Shuffle.
Running Do’s: Using Your Long Training Runs As ‘Real’ Races (i.e. from a Nutrition/Hydration/Kit Preparation/Race Strategy perspective) Will Help You Come Race Day
Running Don’ts: Switching Your Nutrition To Whatever Is On Offer By The Race Organisers – Stick With What You Know.
Background: I have signed up to the London Marathon 2015, having never run before and recently having undergone major knee surgery (twice). This is my weekly diary which captures the highs and lows of my attempt to get fit enough to run the marathon in April 2015.
I am running for the mental health charity Mind. Please feel free to donate on my Virgin Just Giving page – every single penny I raise goes directly to Mind and helping people with their mental health – thank you.
I am following a 30 week marathon training schedule that has been defined for me by Jeff Galloway the American Olympic Marathon runner. Jeff espouses the run – walk – run method which enables you to gradually build up your strength, endurance and speed.
Week 12 Schedule: 3 Miles. 2 X 60 min cadence and track sessions.
Weekly Diary: My schedule had me down for 3 miles which was a blessed relief given the 15 miler the week before and the fact that it was Christmas week too. I appreciate that I have banged on a fair amount about running the long runs – personally I find these more rewarding and perhaps feel they are getting me closer to running a marathon distance. I know for a fact though that simply running the longer runs is not enough if you want to run effectively – it is also critical to complete the shorter sessions too. It is often easy to overlook these shorter activities – but do that at your peril. Without the shorter runs (apparently) you will not build speed or strength into your longer runs.
So this post is dedicated to the 800m circuits that I need to run weekly as part of my plan. Simply put the idea is to walk/run 800m 4-6 times with a rest in-between each 800m. The objective is to try different combination of walk run ratios (e.g. 15/15, 10/40 etc) and aim to complete the 800m in less than 6min 30 secs (or less). The purpose of this exercise is to improve your speed and footfall which you can then incorporate into your longer runs.
As I have described in earlier posts I have struggled with the shorter sessions as I couldn’t seem to increase my running speed without increasing the length of my stride. The problem within increasing my stride was that it creates greater friction and pressure through the Achilles, shin, knee etc. The walk run is all about ‘shuffling’ i.e. small steps with a low lift (as used by the British and US Armies among others).
In my last post I talked about my eureka moment (or in fact my long suffering wife’s eureka moment on my behalf!) where I eventually understood that to go faster AND shuffle I simply had to increase my footfall and NOT my stride. This may seem counter-intuitive but trust me (even though I am not a doctor) it actually works. For an online demonstration watch Jeff Galloway here.
Still not convinced? Looking for hard evidence? Facts and figures? I don’t blame you – after all you shouldn’t trust anything you read on the internet.
Ok. So I completed 6 runs of 800m. For the first 2 I used a run walk ratio of 10/40 (i.e. 10 secs running and 40 secs walking). I ran these as if I was running a longer run (I am always a little apprehensive about pulling a hamstring or some such on the first couple of runs) and I registered 6.30 mins on the first and with a little more effort 6.10 mins on the second. Not bad I thought.
For runs 3 and 4 I then switched to a ratio of 15/40 to see what difference it made. I also pulled my finger out and put in a series of much shorter steps – on the first of these I registered 5.51 mins followed by 5.36. I was amazed the difference in timings and how that could (positively) affect the timings of my longer runs.
For runs 5 and 6 I switched back to 10/40 as I wasn’t sure whether I was speeding up because of the run/walk ratio or because I had simply pulled my finger out. Anyway, for these last 2 runs I registered 5.21 mins and 5.15 mins. Frankly I couldn’t believe the difference in how I was able to improve my timings between my first 2 runs at 10/40 and my final 2 at the same ratio. By taking smaller steps – I was moving more quickly across teh ground and improved my 800m time from 6.30 mins to 5.15 mins!
Now if only I could do that across 42165m!!