This is the third installment on my progress on training using Garmin’s free training plans provided to owners of garmin wearable fitness devices.
I started my training exactly four weeks ago after a base building phase of about two months which got me up to running 40km per week. There are many opinions and philosophies when it comes to training and it can be a bit overwhelming and confusing sometimes for a newcomer to the sport.
No doubt having a training plan is the way to go as it gives you something to aim for and ticking off those days and seeing your fitness improving is very motivating. On the flipside the wrong training plan can derail you from achieving your aims and can demotivate you from running completely. This is what happened to me five years ago when I was training for my first half-marathon. I arrived at the start line carrying multiple injuries and barely survived the race.
The idea for this blog came about because after looking through some forums and the Garmin website itself there was no clear instruction on what to expect from the training plans and which one to pick from what level. From all my reading and research I came to a conclusion that heart rate based training is more suitable for me than training on pace alone. it is very adaptable to changing conditions and can help a new runner tune in to their body better and recognise any signs of overtraining very early and because its not based on distance it allows for good time management.
I have gone with the level three heart rate based half marathon training plan. So far the plan is having me running an average of 6 hours per week. Its less time than I had expected. The plan seems to be periodised for recovery weeks every three weeks and so far it has felt like a good match as I was starting to feel tired when the recovery week came. I am now on the second block of training and my times at the same heart rate shown significant improvement with my pace at threshold heart-rate now 18 seconds faster per kilometer and my easy run pace now 30 seconds quicker at the same heart-rate.
I have a 10k race in four weeks which part of the training program. My current 10k PR is 49:17 set eight weeks ago. I am shooting for 47:00 that will be a two minute improvement and I am confident in reaching or even bettering it. If you are undecided on which level of training plan to chose i suggest you pick one that is closest to the amount of running in hours you are currently doing per week. I also recommend you choose the heart-rate based versions of the plans as the distance covered will be exactly according to your level of fitness and the training plan will continually adapt as you get fitter.