Sunday, 5 May 2013

Half Marathon Training: Week 3. Trail Vs. Treadmill.

Footpath in snowy Forest
Courtesy of Andreas Krappweis at Stock.xchng

So I've done it. Finished Week 3 of the half marathon training. Though  I skipped one session this week. Just put it off until too late and couldn't fit it in. But other than that, it wasn't too bad a week.

The most interesting thing I found this week was the trail vs. treadmill debate.

I've been doing most of my training on a treadmill, because it's getting cold and dark, and I like watching TV while I jog.

However, yesterday for my long run I went out to Woodend (at the base of Mt. Macedon) and jogged the trails through the state forest there. It was a really nice change of scenery but my legs were killing me by half way through!

It was ALOT harder on my calves not having the road slip away beneath me, and then there were the hills. I mean, they were short in distance, but tracks I wouldn't take my car down. Add in all the unevenness, the jumping between tyre tracks and over eroded parts, and it made for a much more active jog than on a treadmill.

Lots of people have noted this and argue that jogging outside is the way to go. But is it actually better for you?

Benefits to trail jogging:
- it does work more muscles, especially with hills, wind resistance, needing to push your own weight.
- it does build up your stabilisers and develop your balance etc, which can reduce injury.
- the constant changes required in foot fall reduce risk of over stressing one particular muscle.
- the change in scenery can make it more enjoyable.

Benefits to the treadmill:
- you can actually monitor your pace, so it's much better for training to a particular speed.
- can monitor technique much more easily.
- it's not cold, dark, wet or likely to get you attacked by bears.

So, it appears in general if you can choose between the two, for your long steady runs outside is better. However, there are still plenty of good reasons to use a treadmill, just maybe not all the time.

Keeping in mind that the actual race is going to be outside, but I'm not going to go running outside every night after work, I've put together some strategies to make up for the deficit of the treadmill:

- make sure I do my long run outside on the weekend.
- keep the treadmill on a slight incline (1-1.5 for me I think will be fine) to prepare for the extra resistance of jogging outside (I'm not just talking about air resistance here, but resistance of pushing off a stationary base, and making up for the slight raise and fall that happens in most running tracks).
- on my steady runs, I'm going to try throwing in a few hills, just to spice things up.

And as I get closer to race day, I might start trying to add in more outside running. (Am contemplating the run home from work. It's a nice 5km, it's just a matter of what to do with work gear and avoiding all the insane cyclists on the track).

So, will see if that prepares me a bit better for the real thing.

Training this week:

Again moved things around, which resulted in me missing one, so might really need to stop doing this.

Wednesday 45mins steady. Was supposed to be Tuesday, but you know. The jog was fine.

Friday 50 min pace: 20 minute warm up, 1min fast/1 minute easy x 5, 20 minutes warm down. Fast was meant to be at estimated 10km pace, but I've been doing all my intervals above my 10 km pace already, so just stuck with it. (It's only 11k/h, but my 10km pace is not quite 10k/h.) Finished the jogging cool down and was just walking while trying to find out what happened on The Voice when the TVs suddenly went off. Didn't realise the gym closed at 8pm on a Friday. It's sort of like they expect you to have a life or something!

Saturday: the day I was bad. But I went to the zoo with my little sister and did lots of walking. Does that count for something?

Sunday: 1:10min long run. Was much harder out in the real world, and the hills did get me, but plodded through. Got back to the car for the second time at 1:07, and decided that would just have to do, as I was parked on a hill, so either way I went would mean coming back up again.

Weighed in about an hour after my long run and a snack, using my parents' scales, and was 74.6! Yah! Though, will have to make sure that wasn't just because of a change of scales.

Otherwise, weight on track, mileage increasing, and while I'm exhausted (but that might also be partly work) I've so far have avoided injury. Go me!

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