I will give a brief overview of the training schedule that I am following, as a Team In Training (TNT) participant, in preparation for the marathon. This is basically a five-days-a-week schedule, out of which three days are with the TNT folks.
We start with a track workout every Tuesday evening. This workout currently primarily consists of stretching exercises and core strength exercises, inter-leaved with running laps around the track. This hour and a half long workout usually is enough to make you feel half-dead, thanks to the squats and pushups and other deadly exercises, that I have never paid much attention to, until now. Once the core exercises become routine, we will concentrate more on tempo runs and such. Following the workouts, we usually have various information sessions such as the gear clinic, nutrition clinic, injury clinic, etc., which are really helpful.
Every Thursday we have what is called as the buddy run. This mid-week run is a short run, which starts at 2-4 miles, and builds up very slowly (a mile or two a month) until the event week. Various mentors in TNT lead runs at different location at different times of the day, and we can join any run that is convenient to us. Alternatively, we can run the distance at our own convenience.
And then comes the big one- the long run on Saturday mornings. This is the run where we build up the miles- approximately two miles every two weeks. We started with 2-6 miles (depending on prior running experience) the first weekend, and will gradually build up the miles upto the event month. The entire TNT group meets once in two weekends for the long run. The in-between weekends are supposed to be on-your-own runs, which usually cut-back a bit from the previous weekend’s mileage. The idea is to get some rest before the next long run.
In addition, we are required to throw in a couple of days of cross training and stretching during the remaining days of the week. This could be cycling, swimming, elliptical, stair-master, etc.- ideally something that does not strain the knees too much. Friday is a recommended off-day, to give the body some rest before the long run on Saturdays.
Overall, it’s a pretty tough schedule, in preparation for a pretty tough event. It’s a lot of fun though, and I am looking forward to every week of the schedule, for the next four months.