The 36-Week Training Program for 10- to 42-km Races
The 36-week training program (see Exercises 6.4) was designed to allow a novice to complete a 10-km race after 25 weeks and a marathon after 36 weeks. The Exercises lists the time (in minutes) you should exercise each day. Thus the code W 20 for Day 1 of Week 1 means that you should walk for 20 minutes on that day.
Although most people think that to become runners they must begin by running, it is essential to only walk for at least the first 3 weeks and then to introduce running very slowly. It is in fact, far better to walk for the first 6 weeks of the program rather than risk an injury, which might force you to stop running for 6 weeks.
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The initial walking period allows the bones time to strengthen (second law of training) so that they can resist the more demanding stresses to which they will be exposed subsequently. This period also provides the opportunity of ensuring that your heart is sound and not causing symptoms that require medical evaluation (see Step 2). The main aim is to acquire the exercise habit rather than to become fitthe concept of shaping described earlier in this post.
On the 1st day of the 4th week, running finally begins. The designation W15.R5 for that day indicates that you should walk for 15 minutes and jog/run for 5 minutes. Over the next 14 weeks the amount of time spent jogging will gradually increase, until after 17 weeks each training session includes only running, which is shown by the R30 designation.
During the period from the 4th, to 17th weeks, certain symptoms may appear for the first time. These include persistent calf-muscle soreness and discomfort along the border of the shinbonethe tibia. This condition is known as shin-splints, which tends to disappear with time without recourse to the more involved treatment regime described in post 14.
These symptoms indicate that training, however light it might seem, is too intensive and that at least for a few weeks until the symptoms abate, more rest days are required and less distance should be run. If these simple measures do not alleviate the symptoms, you should consider changing running shoes and possibly seeking professional advice (see post 14).