Monday, August 31, 2009

Book Review: The Complete Book of Running for Women

The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik is a book that I got for Christmas. I've read it a bit here and there, but recently dug it out for a deeper perusal. I like the philosophy of running part. But right now, I dug it out for the more practical purpose. I'm training for a 1/2 marathon.

I know, it's not food. But running is frugal (need shoes and a place to run), healthy (assuming your body can take it), and very simple.

I am not really a runner. I didn't run in high school or college. When I downloaded some training plans to run a half, I was a bit intimidated by the "tempo" runs, "pace" runs, etc. I mean - just tell me how many miles to run. So I was gradually increasing my mileage, but the last two weeks - splitting headaches about three hours after the run. Debilitating. I mean, can barely function for several hours. So clearly, I'm doing something wrong.

This book has really good, simple explanations. She explains how to set your pace by your breathing...which is something that I never thought about. She explains a "pace" run, gives several different types, and mentions that your "speedwork" should not be more than 10% of your total weekly mileage. She discusses cross training, stretching, clothing, hydration.

She's got three training plans for the 5k/10k and three training plans for the 1/2 marathon/marathon. Bronze, Silver, and Gold simply refer to the maximum # of miles per week you can run. And I'm on the "working mom" plan. Which means Bronze, but even less. Her plan involves 5 days/ week, and I can only do three.

What I've gotten out of the book so far is this - I now know that my "easy" running pace is about 10:00 mile, and my "fast" pace for the pace runs (which is equivalent to my 5k pace) is about an 8:50 mile. And I also learned that I shouldn't be trying to run hard and fast all the time. So today, I actually ran 2 miles "easy" on the treadmill. And I *loved* it. It reminded me of what I like about running (except the treadmill part). I wasn't beet red when I finished, and I had energy to actually lift weights when done. I don't remember the last time that happened.

I've got plans for my "pace" runs on Wednesday (which will probably peak at 4 miles, not the recommended 6). I'm scaling back my long runs a bit...rather than adding a mile a week, I'm staying at 7 this week, then 8, then 6, then 8... And I'm going to start taking water with me. I didn't really need to hydrate during my runs for 5 miles and under. But these longer ones are taking a toll.

In the next couple of weeks I should get a feel for whether or not I can really run this thing. Might as well be sure before forking out $45.


Joanne said...

Congrats on training for the half! That is quite a feat. Usually when I get headaches after running it's because of the heat or because I'm dehydrated. I usually try to do my long runs EARLY in the morning otherwise the sun gets too intense. Also, take it slowly when you run. The point of long runs is to get your body used to being on your feet for a given amount of time. Our coaches recommend that you run at a pace that you could still hold a conversation at. Good luck!

Marcia said...

Thanks for the tips! I tend to run early, and I think dehydration is an issue. I think I just need water for the longer runs.

Also, I am trying to go too fast. I *want* to run the half in under an 10-min mile, so I've been pushing myself pretty hard to run a 9:30 pace ... and my body just can't maintain that for 7 miles yet.

Erin, Mommy on the Run said...

Good job on your training! To not be a runner, you are pretty fast!! I hope the headaches go away.