By DR. THEODORE STRANGE
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- For the last four weeks of your training, you’ve consistently and patiently built up your endurance. Your body has undergone gradual adaptations as you’ve increased your cardio base.
So where do you go from here?
If you want to try and pick up your pace in the Advance’s 4-Mile Memorial Day Run, you’ll need to add a speed workout this week and next week. (If you’re more concerned with just finishing the race, we’ve got you covered with an alternate workout for Wednesday’s speed session.)
Generally, runners can improve their speed by landing on the balls of their feet – as opposed to the heel or mid-foot – when they race. This type of foot strike pattern leads to less time that your foot is in contact with the ground and a faster stride.
And, equally as important as how your foot lands, is where it lands in relation to your body. Try to have your foot land directly underneath you, rather than in front of you, to keep your center of gravity moving forward. This will improve your leg turnover time, enabling you to run faster.
For runners and walkers, we’ll be doing 400-meter drills at a pace based on your goal time. Note: Be realistic about the time you think you can finish the race in.
The best way to do drills is on your neighborhood school track. If the sports field isn’t open to the public, use your car GPS to measure out a distance of one-quarter mile (400 meters, which for most tracks is one lap).
Your speed session will consist of running 4 to 6 laps at goal pace, jogging one lap in between each. For example, if you’re aiming to run the race in 40 minutes, your goal pace would be 10 minutes per mile, so your quarter-mile pace should be 2 minutes 50 seconds. Make sure to warm up and cool down with a 5-minute walk before and after this workout.
Walkers can also do a modified version of this by just going from a steady comfortable pace to a brisk one for the speed laps. Pump your arms to increase the speed and intensity of the workout.
Monday: Walk 4 minutes (warm up), run 9 minutes followed by walking 1 minute. Repeat this run/walk sequence 2 more times. Add another 3 minutes to your last walk for a cool down.
Tuesday: Walk for 35-40 minutes at a comfortable yet brisk pace.
Wednesday: Either do the speed drill or walk 4 minutes (warm up), run 12 minutes followed by walking 2 minutes. Repeat this run/walk sequence and then run 5 minutes. Walk 4 minutes for a cool down.
Thursday: Repeat Tuesday’s workout.
Friday: Repeat Tuesday’s workout.
Saturday: Repeat Monday’s workout.
Sunday: Rest or walk 35 to 40 minutes (your choice).
Walk 30 minutes at least 4 days and add a long walk of about 60 minutes. If you want to try the speed session, make sure to rest the following day.
Dr. Theodore Strange is the associate chair of medicine and vice president of medical operations at Staten Island University Hospital South. The hospital is a corporate sponsor and partner with the Advance for the Memorial Day Run. Both organizations encourage Islanders to get in shape and run the race on May 27.