Week 6 Training Plan

November 14, 2012 at 11:31 am 2 comments

Time rolls on and I am now in Week 6 of my 16 week half marathon training program. The form focus this week is upper body: arm swing, upper body posture, head and neck alignment, and proper breathing.

Here’s the plan:

Monday: travel home and rest

Tuesday: 45 minute upper body form focus run

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: 45 minute lunch run/yoga after work

Friday: rest

Saturday 7 miles (!!)

Sunday: 35 minute Recovery run

Why focus on upper body?

Because your upper body is just as important as your legs in running and by not paying proper attention to it, you can be working against yourself. The upper body lean balances out your lower body and creates balance.

What should your upper body be doing?

Your head, neck and shoulders should be pointed in the direction your heading, and square to the road. No shoulder rotation! Arms at 90 degrees, and allow your elbows to swing back from the pivot point in your shoulder socket. No pumping, no clenched fists and no shoulder rotation (aka, never cross your hands across the center line of your body)!

Any amount of upper body rotation will decrease your amount of lower body rotation, create unnecessary tension in your neck, and create an inefficient stride” (Chi Marathon, p. 83).

As far as proper breathing, this one is hard and will take time. I should be belly breathing through my nose–basically my yoga ujjayi breath–and matching my breath rate to my cadence. The book recommends breathing out for three strides and inhaling for two. This is hard for me because I’m used to breathing in and out for at lease 5 seconds with the ujjayi breath and I need to practice taking quick (for me), but still full (belly) breaths. I consider this an advanced skill and is something I will keep in mind but I still have so much work to do with my form that I am putting this in the backseat.

I ran last night for my 45 minute form focus run and it was pretty rough. I ran around my hilly neighborhood for the first time in about a month and realized I was using my legs too much because my calves tightened up immediately and I found it hard to practice relaxation for most of the run. I’m also still practicing pelvic rotation, along with now thinking about keeping my upper body strong, relaxed, aligned and square.

I keep thinking about the needle-in-cotton principle (great article linked to there, btw)–your core is your needle and the rest of your body moves around it like cotton; relaxed and limber. I’m finding it so hard to isolate the muscle engagement. When I tighten my core I also tighten my legs or my shoulders and when I relax, I relax everything. I’m getting there, but still have much progress to make. I should probably be taking Tai Chi, but in the meantime I will keep practicing. It’s back to the flat ground by the river for the next few runs. Removing challenging variables will reduce the ‘noise’ in my running focuses and hopefully the next few runs will go better.

But enough about me. How is your training going?


Entry filed under: Arm Swing, Half Marathon Training, mid week run, Relaxation. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jenna  |  November 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    wow! that looks like a great plan! i never ever thought about the upper body focus in regards to running! thanks for all the geat insight! spa <3

    • 2. Steph  |  November 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks Jenna! I had never thought about upper body when running either, but it’s really important. Glad it could help. SPA love!


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