Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Couch to Peachtree plan

I'll be providing a weekly unofficial training guide for anyone who currently can't run to the mailbox and wants to run the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th. This gives you about 19 weeks to build up to a 10K, which is plenty of time. I'm not in any way licensed to train anyone but this is going to be a very simple and easy schedule only requiring 3 days of training per week. I'll try to post each week's schedule on Monday's and title them clearly so for those who could care less, you can skip.

For the record, I won't be running it this year and I've actually only done it 3 times but have raced plenty of 10K's and can at least answer any questions you might have about the event itself. I will however be doing the Boulder Boulder. A very similar event held out here in Colorado. So if you want to come out here for the race, maybe I'll buy you a beer to celebrate post race.

Please note that these are massive races (number of runners) and are very fun but much larger and more complicated than many other races. Smaller races usually start in one group at the start time where the larger ones will go off in waves or heats. These waves are usually determined by your projected finish time. You may be asked to provide proof of this by showing a result from a previous race (usually only if you are trying to qualify in one of the first waves).

Advantages of big races:
  • Usually more "fun" courses. Meaning they run through big cities, have better in race amenities like bands, sometimes vendors throwing out free t-shirts, burritos, or even beers.
  • The more people around watching and racing usually helps with motivation during the hard parts. Being in the middle of a race all alone can make it hard to find motivation to keep up a certain pace.
  • Race Expo's. Cool places to walk around the day before to find some cool gear and food.
  • Usually better quality race t-shirts
  • They can help you qualify for other big races if you are looking for setting a time.

Disadvantages of big races:

  • Crowded. Usually not going to run your best time because there's just too many people around you.
  • Waiting. Unless you qualify for an early wave, you could be waiting around for a long time before your wave even starts. Later waves in the Peachtree have waited well over an hour from the actual start time before they get started. I finish the race before some people even start. Not because I'm fast but because there's just so many people and hence, waves.
  • Parking. Bigger races are usually a pain to get to and from. Sometimes you have to take a bus or public transportation which isn't too bad going to the race but not quite as fun riding with 50 sweaty, stinky people back. For a local small race, you can usually show up 20 minutes before, park, and be ready to go but expect to arrive much earlier for bigger races.
  • Because of the sheer number of participants, they usually don't have a lot of options post race for food/drinks. Some smaller races will have pizza, drinks, and sometimes full dinner options but something as big as the Peachtree only gives you a bottle of water and maybe a cookie or half bagel if you finish the race early enough.

So without further ado, the schedule for this week is to go for a 20-30 walk everyday. I'll let you set your own pace but do a minimum of 20 minutes everyday. If you're already doing something around this, then push your pace but don't worry about doing any more than 30 minutes this week. Also, I don't want to hear any excuses about the weather. I ran home from work the other day in 20 degrees and snow covered ground. It wasn't fun but thanks to yak trax, I made it without busting my butt.

You'll be ready for a 5K by the end of April, so if you see a local 5K around that time or after, feel free to sign up to help with the training motivation and get a race under your belt. Speaking of signing up, if you are thinking about the Peachtree, you need to start looking at the registration details now. Let's get in shape dawg nation. The worst thing I ever had to see was a Gator team doing a triathlon together down in Florida. They all had their stupid custom gator tri jerseys and doing gator chomps all over. We must not let this happen in Atlanta.


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