The cool thing about marathon and half-marathon training is that you build yourself up a little bit each week until you suddenly find that you're running distances that seemed impossible two months before. It's all about conditioning yourself and building endurance.
One thing you'll notice is that most training programs give you a variety of different run types. It sounds like you're going out and doing a daily run at the same intensity and slightly different distances? To start training for longer races, you'll want to switch things up a bit (this lets you work on different aspects of running while giving yourself some recovery time). That's another important point: It's a good idea to build a couple rest days into your weekly plan.
Here are some of the typical training components in most HM plans:
Steady runs: These are comfortable, non-stop runs at an easy pace (you should be able to carry on a conversation). Usually up to 5-6k at a time.
Tempo runs: These are fairly short, quick runs. You don't want to be sprinting, but it should be more challenging than a steady run.
Long runs: Most people do one a week on the weekend. These are slower, usually incorporate walk breaks, and are all about building up your distance and endurance. The goal isn't to mimic a race, it's to slowly build how long you can make your body move. The group I train with does ten minutes of running followed by a one minute walk break, at a pace that's about a minute per kilometer slower than we would race at. You start at a manageable distance (for my HM training, my first long run was 8k) and then add two km per week. Every 4-5 weeks, we'll drop back and do a shorter recovery run before continuing to build, so it might look something like this: 8k, 10k, 12k, 14k, 16k, 10k (recovery), 16k, 18k... and so on.
Hills/speed: Most plans will incorporate some hills and speedwork to help build up your strength. It's easy to neglect these (they're hard!), but I've found it really helpful to add them in.
My usual training week will look something like this:
Sunday: Long run
Tuesday: Tempo run
Thursday: Steady run
Saturday: Easy steady run or crosstraining (Swimming is great)
As for food, it's not unusual to gain a couple pounds or hold steady while you're training. It's a delicate balancing act, because you do need to eat more, but it's so easy to fill in the extra calories with junk. Make sure your tracker is up to date with the amount of activity you're doing, and try entering your meal plans in advance to make sure you're hitting all your nutrients. More than ever, food is fuel for you now and you need to make sure you're getting the good stuff.
Edited by: CHRISTINA791 at: 5/4/2013 (14:55)
|45 Days until: Calgary Marathon