It’s no secret that staying in any kind of groove during the sweltering summer months is something that’s been incredibly difficult for me this season. It’s been all I can do to survive the summer heat. Trekking back and forth across Florida while trying to get a number of dreams and schemes sorted out before fall arrives has not made things any easier. Instead, it has discombobulated my running regularity and any sort of routine I thought I would uphold this past month. Still, my running shoes have been going with me everywhere, and I have been making an effort to run in between thunderstorms. Each and every run has been a sweaty, tiring kick in the butt.
As the latter portion of summer blazes on, in an effort to keep on keeping on and hold myself a bit more accountable between now and the arrival of fall, I’ve developed a simple 8 Week Base Training Plan.
Although I am certainly an advocate for running how you feel, I also believe it is imperative to begin with a feasible plan if you have a goal in mind. During marathon training, having a base plan to build upon helped me develop an ever-evolving plan of my own that fit me—one that made way for natural give and take.
My current 8 Week Plan is one I built around my summer schedule (that remains here, there, and everywhere at the moment). As I currently prepare to embark upon week three, the aim of this plan is to get me in the position to kick off my half marathon training come Labor Day. Taking into account your own fall goals, this plan can be used in a number of ways.
Mile Building: If you are looking to increase your mileage, following this plan through to fruition will put you in a good place to continue to build upon your base come fall and add lengthier runs in the mix. If you are aiming for a more gradual increase and not bound by a strict timeline, meaning there is no race looming, allowing yourself two weeks at each total mileage count and stretching it out to make it a 16 week plan is a wonderful idea to make sure you are comfortable at each week’s distances before you push on to the next.
More important than how many miles you run each day, is how many miles you run at the end of the week. If you don’t feel comfortable stepping it up for a long run in the summer heat, consider running more days each week at shorter distances, with the same end goal in mind. Treat each week like a math equation—have some fun and play around with the numbers.
Basic Maintenance: Depending on where you are with your running, you can select a single week or two from this particular plan and make your own additions, beginning anywhere. Repeating week 1, 2 or 3, of this plan is a great idea if you are an infrequent runner who is looking to develop consistency, or if you are a frequent runner simply looking to maintain or build gradually.
Cross Training: Included in the plan are designated yoga, bike and swim days. I’ve selected these three activities simply because yoga is the yin to my running yang, I love riding my bike, and summer is the prime time for swimming (even though I’ve been doing less of it than anticipated). Swimming is something I’m gradually making baby steps to becoming more invested in, although late afternoon storms that last for several hours have deterred me as of late. The point of these built in cross training days is to keep your body moving on the days you aren’t running. This can include a countless number of activities and is certainly not limited to those I’ve listed. Last week following an afternoon run in St. Augustine, I embarked upon a beach cruising date, which was just the pace of a bike workout I was looking for. Naturally, we ended up having to out pedal a storm.
Turning Up The Tempo: Tempo runs are a way to help you gradually incorporate speed into your workouts, without delving in too hard in the heat of the summer. Running at a comfortably hard pace that doesn’t drain you to the point your race pace does, but pushes you harder than your comfortable running pace, allows you to build up strength and prepare your body for additional speed training. I define my tempo run pace not by any sort of official measure, but by my inability to talk. If I can talk while running, I’m not at my tempo pace. In essence, my tempo pace exists at the point I can’t talk, but I’m not gasping for air.
Walking It Out: Adding cool down walks to the end of your runs before you settle into a time of stretching and/or allowing yourself walk breaks within your runs is imperative in the heat of summer, regardless of how far or fast you are running.
Hydration Station: In order to survive being active in the heat of summer without getting worn down, hydration is key. Water fountains become my summer savior while out on runs. In fact, I even plan my routes around them to some extent. Still, hydration doesn’t stop at water. Thanks to Vega, I am fueling better and have quickly become hooked on Electrolyte Hydrator as a vital part of my regular cool down regime, either mixed in with a glass of cold water or blended up in smoothie form.
Ultimately the beauty of any plan is allowing it to simply serve as a motivator and a base, something you can adapt to your liking and call your very own.
To run with VOTR this summer, click here.