I know about a million women who have recently given birth or will be giving birth shortly. I know a lot of people who are going back to school soon. I know several people who are just trying to maintain an easy-ish “training” schedule, even if they aren’t really training for anything in particular. In short, there are a heck of a lot of people who are not necessarily hard-core runners, who may not have a lot of time, who really just want to maintain ground rather than lose it, or regain ground that they may have recently lost. I’m personally in the mode where I want to maintain what I have although I’m not training for anything in particular. I mentioned before that it is hard to get yourself out for a run if you don’t have something you’re aiming for and races are nice for that, but I have found that I am able to get myself out simply by scheduling time to run when I write out my schedule for the week. It’s been working for us for a good month now.
Anyway, this schedule is on the lighter side. It should be good for easing back in, for maintaining a basic baseline of miles to build on when you decide you want to start training for something more serious, or for maintaining some activity while you, say, grow a baby. It is easily adjustable if it doesn’t necessarily suit your style. And let me again remind you that I am not a personal trainer and please don’t get mad at me if this doesn’t work for you or you get hurt.
Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezey Training Schedule
2-3 times a week go for a 20-25 minute (or 2-3 mile) run. Try to spread them out through the week so you don’t get to Thursday and feel like you need to pound the pavement 3 mornings in a row. Start either with a warm-up like this or just start running slowly. (In my experience, I always start running slowly until my muscles warm up. It can hardly be helped.)
1 time a week do some sort of cross-training. Ride a bike. Play Ultimate frisbee. Chase your children around the park. Lift weights — or your baby. Walk to the grocery store (and take the bus home).
If you want to add intensity or speed, take the fartlek approach. When you run, speed up for a little while until you decide you’ve had enough speed, then slow back down to your normal pace. Repeat as many times as you want throughout the run.
If you start to feel like your body is rebelling, slow down. Walk a little bit and then run again when your body feels better. If you start running again and your body tells you to stop again, I suggest listening to it. Walk until your body is ready to run again.
On the other hand, maybe you feel like you need to ramp it up a bit. Add 5-10 minutes to your run and see how it feels until you reach a time or distance you feel good about and can keep up. Speed up your overall pace until you feel like you can just maintain it through the rest of the run.