A few weeks ago I was training for a race with a local celebrity named Sheila.
Sheila is a local celebrity because even at age 45 she is winning races against people much younger than her. People she doesn’t know recognize her and stop her in the supermarket to say, “congratulations.” It’s amazing to see, and I am very proud of her.
Recently, Sheila ran a full marathon in the 2 hour fifty minute range. If you aren’t familiar with marathons, let me tell you that is pretty fast! I asked her, "what has been the secret to successful training?" and she said something so simple it had to be true:
“Don’t run more than 6 hours a week.”
At first I was confused, because I had assumed it would take much more than that to build the strength and stamina necessary to compete in a full marathon. But after speaking with Sheila about it, I realized she is right - running more than 6 hours a week leaves you vulnerable to injury… and you can’t compete if you are sidelined with an injury.
As we age, daily running increases our body's susceptibility to injury. We are better off running longer every other day to give our body a chance to recover, than running shorter distances daily. Since it is true that you need to run a lot to train for this kind of event, Sheila has figured out that as long as she starts training early enough before the race date, she can get the hours she needs and still not risk a training injury by running more than 6 hours a week.
Sheila also told me that she maintains one “long run” per week. This is the time to really test and build your endurance.
I used Sheila’s principles to construct some good training templates that you are free to use. These templates will help you schedule enough training before your chosen event without overdoing it:
For a half marathon training schedule, click here