Time to Run

Posted on January 1, 2008. Filed under: Running, Take Care of Yourself | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Photo by fdecomitetime.jpg
I love running on the weekends because I can sleep in, wait until the sun comes up, have a little breakfast, wake up, wait until it gets warmer outside, and can run without worrying about how long it will take because I don’t have to get ready for work. Since today was a day off from work, I approached it like it was a weekend run. That means it was my long slow run. Since I have been slacking off on the running for the past few weeks, I was concerned about how I would do with a long run. Also, it’s been cold outside and I have been on a treadmill, but today was warmer (47 degrees) so I ran outside. I wondered how my legs would feel on hard pavement after being on a treadmill for a few weeks. My goal was to do a 45 minute run. I took it really easy and ended up doing 4.85 miles in 55 minutes—that’s REALLY slow, over 11 minutes per mile. But I felt great, ran longer than I planned and felt like I could have gone even further.

As I have slacked off in the past few weeks, I found that whenever I went back to running I felt really great. So I guess the rest has been good. When I started running, I was trying to get out there at least five days per week and experienced a lot of injuries. Then I read an article in Runner’s World about the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) and their training program which includes only three days per week of running. Basically, they recommend three days of running, but that each run be hard—a tempo run, intervals, and a long run. They also recommend doing non-weight bearing aerobic exercise such as swimming or cycling on other days, and include at least one day of rest each week. When I have really stuck with the program my schedule has been:


Tuesday-Intervals (a 3mile run with 4-5 1 minute intervals at top speed)

Wednesday-30 minutes of cycling and weight lifting

Thursday –Tempo Run (3 mile run with middle third run at a faster pace)


Saturday-Total Body Fitness Class with Weight Training

Sunday-Long, Slow Run (between 4-6 miles)

As I said, this is when I really stuck with the program. Most weeks I could not because of work, travel, kids’ events, just life. However, I found that this schedule worked best for me because it was more forgiving of my real life and allowed me to not do everything, but to still see improvements with my running if I could just get out there three times per week. Plus the schedule required only two days during the work week, if I needed to cut back (and cut out my cycling session) Over time, I saw my running speed pick up. I am still a slow runner, but when I was on the treadmill last winter, my regular pace was 13:30 min/mi and I sometimes pushed it to 12 min/mi. I followed the FIRST regimen over the summer, and find that my regular comfortable pace is now 10:50 min/mi, and I can comfortably maintain a 10 min/mi pace.

So all of this is to say, that I am really pleased with the program. The main thing is the schedule is less strict, and provides adequate time to run within my life schedule. It is also great to see improvements in my performance, even with this little bit of effort. I probably could improve more, if I stuck to the recommended schedule more closely. But my goal is really to just get out there and see some improvements. I am also happy to say that I have not had any injuries since starting the program, and generally am less sore and achy than when I was running five days per week.

I think it is the ideal running program for a busy working mom.



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  • About

    Musings on how a disorganized woman with a full time job, three kids and a real need to relax is trying to make life simple.

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