Mommy Marathon Training Week 4
WHY DOES THE MOMMY MARATHON PROGRAM INCLUDE DOWNHILL TRAINING? ISN’T DOWNHILL RUNNING EASY?
The Mommy Marathon training program was designed specifically for the Big Cottonwood Canyon Marathon in Utah. In this marathon, the runners run almost straight downhill for about 15 miles with an average grade of about 5%. The race begins at an elevation of 9,600 ft and ends at an elevation of about 4,400 ft so there is a net elevation change of about 5,200 ft! That’s a lot of downhill.
While running downhill, the effort is easier. However, downhill running can be very strenuous on the body. Downhill running is an eccentric contraction. This means that the muscle (the quadriceps) are actually lengthening while it is contracting. Compare that to a concentric contraction which the muscle shortens while it is contracting; for example, during a dumbbell raise the biceps brachii goes through a concentric contraction which pulls the forearm towards your shoulder. Or an isometric contraction which is when the muscle stays the same length while contracting; for example, during the plank exercise your rectus abdominis is contracting but it stays the same length.
Eccentric contractions cause INTENSE soreness. Sometimes you don’t feel it until later that day or even the next. This soreness is known as DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. You will definitely want to plan on icing after a downhill workout to help you recover from DOMS. This extra strain on your quadriceps is why it is vital to begin preparing your body for downhill running.
If your race has a lot of uphill running, then you may want to consider changing the “downhill” workouts to “uphill” workouts by doing the same workout, but instead of going downhill you will go uphill. I would suggest that if you don’t have a lot of either downhill or uphill workouts, that you alternate the hill workouts so that one week you do a “downhill” workout and then the next week do an “uphill” workout.
Sunday: Recovery day! Plan your workouts for the week, get a massage, go for a walk, and take a nap!
Monday: Warm-up by jogging 1 mile.
- Then run 4 x 2 min on flat terrain at tempo pace (which is your 5k race pace plus 20-45sec, it should feel SOMEWHAT hard) with a 30 sec recovery in between each rep.
- Then run 4 x 2 min downhill on a grass hill with about a 3-4% grade, recover by walking uphill again.
- Then run 4 x 4 min on flat terrain at tempo pace with a 30 sec recovery in between each rep.
- Then run 4 x 4 min downhill on a grass hill with about a 3-4% grade with a 30 sec recover walking uphill again.
- Cool down by jogging or walking 1 mile.
Tuesday: 30 min cross-train. Continue your cross-training plan or try a water aerobics class! Some pools offer both deep water and shallow water aerobics.
Wednesday: Warm-up by walking or jogging 1.5 miles. Then do 2x800m and then 1x400m at interval pace. Pace for the interval workout (the 800s) should be your 5k race pace and then subtract 10-20sec. You should feel like you are working HARD. In between each interval, rest by walking 200m (or about 3 minutes). Then cool-down by jogging or walking 1 mile.
Thursday: 30 min cross-train. Continue your cross-training plan or try something new. Another idea is to play a game of Frisbee golf with some friends, your spouse, or your kids.
Friday: 2 mile tempo run. Warm up by jogging or walking 1.5 miles. Then increase pace to tempo run pace (which is your 5k race pace plus 20-45sec) for 2 miles. This pace should feel SOMEWHAT HARD. Then cool down for 1 mile.
Saturday: Long Run 7 miles (Half-marathon 5 miles). Pace is your 5k race pace plus 90-120sec. The pace should feel EASY.
*If you are training for a half-marathon do the same work-outs except your long run is shorter this week.