Begins Here

  • January 24, 2018

Blog Update from Running Ambassador Chris Stuchko

The email arrives in your inbox and it feels like Christmas morning for runners.  The subject line reads “Download the Official St. Luke’s Training Plan.” It is at this moment when you know it is happening and there is no turning back. The anticipation is there. The following Monday, and for the next 14 weeks, your running life is scheduled out for you in great, easy-to-follow detail.

It’s time to get down to business and begin training for the 2018 St. Luke’s Half Marathon!

When you are reading this, you may be a full week into your training, months into your training, or gasp, not training much at all. But no matter where you are, it is so important to remember to get out on the roads or on the treadmill and put in the work.  There are many times when you regret not running, but I have never met a runner that regretted getting in a run, no matter how long, how fast, or how challenging.

Each time that I have run the St. Luke’s Half Marathon – this year will be my 8th – I have used the Bart Yasso training plan provided. Back in the day (man, that makes me sound old) the plans were sent out weekly instead of in one lump sum like this year’s.  I always wanted to see how my runs needed to progress each week, adding either speed, hills, or distance. Now I can plan out my whole training cycle since you can download the plan right now.

This year I am following the Intermediate Training plan, while also sprinkling in some elements from the Advanced plan. I have found the Intermediate plan in the past to be challenging, raise my fitness level, and give me confidence to tackle the course. With a mileage high of 40 miles in a week, it is not too daunting, while also feeling like you are really working.

Don’t fret though. If you are doing the Beginner plan, you will get all the miles and specific workouts in that you need to feel ready to compete.

One of the most important things I have learned during my time as a runner is not to do each workout at the same intensity and speed. If you are supposed to do an “easy day,” you should run at a comfortable easy pace, even if it feels too slow. If a workout asks for “speed” or “tempo” then these workouts needed to be harder.

This is one of the things I will be working on during this training cycle. I get stuck running many of my miles in this comfort zone and don’t push myself all the time. I know in order to get better and challenge my anticipated finishing time of less than 1 hour, 42 minutes, that I will need to grind out tough speed workouts.

Be aware too if the plan calls for “hills” you should try to get some inclines or set that treadmill a little higher than normal. I know most runners don’t like hills, but to prepare for the St. Luke’s Half Marathon, you need to include them.  The hills are hidden in the course, especially in the Parkway and on the home stretch. You think you are cruising along and then BAM!

So, whether you have been forced on to the treadmill because of the cold weather or you are layered up to look like the Michelin Man, remember now is the time to begin putting in the work.

If you are local, look out for me at the Lehigh Valley Road Runner’s Superbowl Tailgate Trot 10K, on February 4, at the Lehigh Parkway. It is a great way to begin your big game Sunday, and you almost don’t feel guilty eating that extra plate of nachos later on that day.