Sorry this took a little longer than I had anticipated, but I wanted to make sure it was perfect for you! Jeff Galloway is a former Olympic runner that has developed a great method for people brand new to running, so we are using a slightly modified version of his plan. If you'd like to use his plan exactly, that's certainly fine and will work great as well. Here is the plan I put together for this group:
GP2C Princess Training Program
And here is the Galloway plan from the Disney website (scroll down to the Disney Princess Training Programs section):
Some important notes about this:
- The schedule doesn't actually start until next month. If you are raring to go and want to get started now, that's great! The first week of the schedule I have you going 20-30 minutes, so if you're comfortable doing that already, start there. If that seems like a long way to go initially, start with 10 minutes for a week or two, then go up to 20 minutes, whatever you are comfortable with. And if you want to just gear yourself up mentally for now and wait on the actual training, that's great too. Starting next month will give you plenty of time to be ready, there's no hurry.
- I put 4 workouts a week on the schedule. As I always tell my athletes, if you can train 3 times a week you'll finish the race, if you can do 4 times a week you'll finish and have a great experience. You can move them around during the week as needed by your schedule, but try not to do all in 4 consecutive days and then nothing for 3 days.
- Don't worry too much about any one workout or week. At some point during training you're likely going to get sick, or injured, or something will come up and you can't do the schedule perfectly. Totally fine, it's all about consistent training over a period of many weeks rather than any one specific workout. If you get sick or injured, just let me know and we'll tweak it accordingly. There's some buffer in there that I include purposely in case that happens, so don't feel that it's the end of the world. Really try to get the one long run in (the Sunday run on the schedule), and the rest of the week you can modify if needed.
- Walk/Run: I really recommend doing a combination of walking and running rather than trying to run the entire workout. When I first started playing around with it I had my doubts, but now I'm a strong believer. Jeff Galloway talks about it here on his website. It really allows you to ramp up the mileage whereas trying to run the whole thing is much more difficult. Figure out a run/walk interval that makes sense to you. Since we have all abilities and backgrounds in this group, we'll range anywhere from 1:1 (1 minute running and 1 min walking) to 9:1 (9 min running, 1 min walking). If you've never done this before, try out 2:1 or 3:1 and see how it goes. What that means is if the schedule says 30 minutes, you run for 3 minutes, then walk 1 minute. Run 3 more minutes, walk a minute, and keep repeating until you've done 30 minutes total. If you're feeling great and find it's too easy, try increasing it to 4:1, 5:1, 7:1 or whatever feels comfortable. Keep in mind, though, that the training will get harder because we're increasing the mileage gradually, so increasing the intervals as well as the mileage may be too much to handle. If you do 3:1 the whole season, that's great too. Better that you err on shorter run intervals than too long of run intervals, especially in the beginning. Most of you I'm going to guess will be somewhere between 2:1 and 4:1 intervals.
- Plan on doing your walk/run intervals during the race. Lots of people say they want to do intervals during the training, but they want to run the whole race. Sometimes it works fine, but other times they end up working so hard early on that they don't even finish. For your first race, just finish, don't worry about how much you walked versus ran. Trust me, doing the same intervals you did throughout the training will mean the difference between having fun on race day versus potentially not finishing. And yes, you can still tell people you "ran" the race if you do intervals!
- Cross training: The fourth session each week (Thursday on the calendar) is cross training. Really
anything that elevates your heart rate and keeps it elevated will
work. Biking, skiing, climbing stairs, any of the cardio stuff
at a gym, even a brisk walk (not a meandering walk mind you!). If
you're wondering if something counts as cross training, stop after
you've been doing it for 10 minutes and take your pulse for 6
seconds. If it's at least 10-12 beats over 6 seconds (so 100+ beats per minute), it's
probably fine. You can either do the same run/walk intervals or do it continuously. As long as you're keeping your heart rate up for 30-40 minutes consecutively, perfect.
- Treadmills versus going outside: Treadmills are great if you prefer them. The only suggestion I'd make is to try and do at least 1 session a week actually running outside. Treadmills are softer than the roads, which is great to prevent injury in training, but you also need to get your body used to running on the roads on race day or your muscles will all cramp up. I speak from personal experience on this one!
I know this is a lot to absorb in one gulp. Print it out and read through it a couple of times, and of course if you have questions, feel free to reach out to me!