With 6 weeks to go until late summer half marathon races such as the SeaWheeze in Vega’s hometown of Vancouver, it’s not too late to integrate variety into your training routine for performance advantages and injury prevention.
Workout monotony can be a goal-oriented runner’s worst nightmare. A predictable routine can challenge your internal motivation, and cause your progress to plateau. Well-designed half marathon training programs implement cross-training recommendations, and leave room for alternative workouts in the event of injury, travel or scheduling conflicts.
Training for a half marathon requires consistency (and a reasonable time commitment), so if your training plan leaves you dreading the weeks ahead rather than looking forward to them, consider adding variety with the training techniques below. Proactive variety can help you continue to progress physically, and maintain motivation throughout your training program.
1. 10 Day Long Run Rotations
If no two weekends are the same for you, consider a 10 day long run rotation rather than completing your long runs on the same day each week. For injury prone runners, this is a great way to build mileage slowly, and allows greater scheduling flexibility for those with schedules constantly in-flux. Mark every 10 days on your calendar for long runs, from now until race day. It’s best to use this technique at least 8 weeks prior to your race, or to begin from a strong 10km base, as it will take you longer to increase your mileage.
2. Practice Endurance Cardio (in any form!)
To build your cardiovascular capacity, and comfort in duration-based activity, consider completing 2 to 3 hour cardio workouts that involve anything but running! Bike riding, power walking (consider wearing a weighted backpack), roller blading, and hiking are good low-medium intensity options. Focus on maintaining hydration and testing mid-workout fuel options to use later in your long runs.
3. Double Up Your Workouts
If you find it challenging to fit in the right mileage, or you live in a climate where 2 consecutive hours at a reasonable temperature is hard to come across, consider splitting your workout into two sessions. The sessions can build on one another (i.e. a 10km light/easy run in the morning and 5km of higher intensity speed work or hill training in the evening), or be completely different (cardio workout in the morning, and a functional strength workout in the evening). Be sure to eat nutrient dense foods such as seeds, leafy greens, and fruits high in antioxidants. To speed recovery, drink a smoothie after you workout—add in a scoop of Vega’s Sport Performance Protein for a protein boost.
4. Join a Run Club or Sports Team
Despite running being a very individual sport, including camaraderie through run clubs or team sports (soccer, ultimate Frisbee, touch football, field or ice hockey), will keep you accountable to your goals. Showing up to a drop-in club, or joining a team as a sub can be a good option if you’re hesitant to commitment fully. Team sports can also train your body to recover quickly between bursts of higher intensity. This will help you when you need to dig deep to pass someone on race day.
Here’s to avoiding training monotony and injury, while having more fun on your runs. What races are you running this season?