If 2009 is your year to run a half marathon or a full marathon, you're probably upping your weekly mileage, but you want to be smart about it. Increasing your weekly mileage too quickly leads to overtraining, exhaustion, and overuse injuries — things we are definitely all trying to avoid. Here are a few guidelines to follow as you train for your goal race:
- Increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent. A gradual build-up is best for acclimating your body, lungs, and ligaments to the added distance.
- Add only a mile a week to your long run. Your training regimen should include one endurance run a week, but don't be tempted to up mileage. Remember to keep your long runs easy, slower than your anticipated race pace. Once again, I think a heart rate monitor is a great tool for this.
- When adding mileage to your regimen, make sure to cross train and run every other day. Spinning or working out on an elliptical is a great way to increase your cardiovascular fitness level without straining your joints.
To find out about rest days, just read more.
- Rest days and recovery weeks are important. You should have at least one complete rest day a week or even two. These are great days for walking or working on your flexibility training with some yoga. Yoga and running are wonderful complements to one another. Recovery weeks should come every three to four weeks in your training schedule. During these weeks decrease the mileage on your long run and your overall number of runs. Don't think of yourself as slacking on these weeks — you're taking care of yourself.