Q:

Is it possible to work up to run over ten miles in nine months?

Is it really possible to go from a beginning runner (i.e., comfortable for about a half mile) to someone who can manage 10.8 miles in a mere nine months with proper training, or I kidding myself? y Atlanta, Georgia

Sep 9, 2005
Outside
Outside Magazine
A:

With a well thought out training program, nine months is definitely enough time to get your body ready to run 10.8 miles. The key to improving your running fitness from your beginner level is to start out gradually and be consistent with your training. When you do this, you will slowly but surely be able to add mileage and time to your runs while reducing the risk of injury.

Here are a few general guidelines as you get yourself going on your training program:

  • Everyone responds a little differently to a training program, so there are no hard and fast rules as to exactly how much mileage you should add over time. As a general guideline, however, adding mileage at a rate of no more than 10 percent every week is a good place to start to increase your fitness while minimizing the risk of injury.

  • Get in the habit of stretching regularly, particularly after your runs. "Hot spots" for runners often include the hamstrings, hips, low back, and calves. Here are a few stretches to target= these muscle groups:

  • Hamstrings: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Pull your right knee into your chest. Holding on to your calf, gently straighten your knee as much as you can. You should feel a stretch in the back of your right thigh. Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides.

  • Hips: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the soles of your feet touching each other. If it is difficult for you to sit like this, prop your back against a wall. Place your hands on your thighs above your knees and gently press your outer thighs towards the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.

  • Lower back: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms out at your sides to stabilize your body. Drop both knees down towards the floor on the right side of your body, keeping your shoulder blades flat on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

  • Calves: Stand on a step on the balls of your feet. Gently drop your right heel down towards the floor until you feel a stretch in the back of your lower right leg. Hold for 30 seconds then switch sides.

  • Use every fourth week of your training program as a recovery week. This week should be lighter in volume and intensity than the previous three weeks, allowing your body some extra rest and time to adapt to the stress you've been placing on it with your training.

  • After a couple of months of consistent running, add some intervals to your program. This could include some hill running, sprint or fartlek intervals, or tempo runs.

Be aware that different people progress at different rates to a running program, so it would be to your benefit to either seek out a coach (you could find one online or through a local running club), or to at least get a good book on training for running and educate yourself.

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