Have you ever signed up for a race in a flurry of excitement, only to find yourself two weeks into your training plan, already struggling to complete the prescribed workouts? If so, you’re not alone. A training plan can look great on paper, but once put into practice, can start to feel like a chore. And if that happens, you’re at greater risk for losing motivation, focus and energy for running.
This mindful running approach to your next half-marathon is designed to maximize the enjoyment of every run, ensure sustained energy, swift recovery and high motivation. This way, you show up at the starting line on race day healthy, well rested and psyched.
The key to running mindfully is paying close attention to how you feel during each run. Are your legs sluggish or springy? Is your mood bright or dull? Are you motivated or in a hurry to just get it done?
The answers are subjective, yet are just as valuable as quantitative recovery measurements such as resting heart rate for revealing how your body is responding to your training volume and intensity.
The following training plan gives a mileage range within which to aim rather than a fixed distance to run. This way, you have the flexibility to run more if you feel good, or less if you feel tired and still feel good about following the training plan.
The other unconventional element to this training plan is that it refers to your perceived exertion level (PE) to regulate your training pace. Some days, your usual training pace will feel hard and other days it will feel easy, so rather than measuring workouts by minute-per-kilometre, this plan asks you to manage effort level based on how it feels to you that day using perceived exertion.
Staying positive about your progress is another important aspect of mindful running.
Running success is less about what numbers are on the clock when you cross the finish line and much more about how well you come to know your body and how you adjust your training based on how you feel. You know you’ve got it right when you can run your best and stay healthy doing it.