Training for Multiple Race Distances

Top of the morning!


I’ve never properly understood that phrase. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the “top” of the morning to be the end of it? But people always say it early! Or maybe they don’t, and I’m just living in my own world. Wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.

I’ve been training with the track team since October, but I wasn’t really sure if I was going to race until now. In the past, when I’ve done track, I’ve been an 800m runner. But with my half marathon coming up, I didn’t know if I would be able to train (and do well) for both distances.

Last week, though, at practice, we realized that we had EXACTLY eight girls. We need eight girls for the 200m relay. Yes, you read that right. No, I have never raced 200m in my life. But if I don’t, my school won’t be able to compete. SO, I am now embarking on a journey to become a sprinter.

sorry-usain-bolt-puma-i-am-60-ecard-someecardsMe too…

My coach did call me fast at our last practice (!) so maybe there’s hope for me after all.

As I’ve been saying, my #1 priority for this running season is to stay injury free. I would rather take three hours to run my half marathon than get hurt AGAIN. So I am putting some measures in place to make sure that I stay healthy while supremely taxing my body training for two very different race distances.

1. No speed work. Yep. This is going to be a tough one for me, especially for short runs. I absolutely love doing intervals on the treadmill, because it makes the time fly by and really helps with stress management. But if I’m going be doing track practice at least twice a week, that WILL be speedwork. So the runs done on my own time need to be the weekly long run (obviously) and pooooosssibly a recovery run. But running 4x a week makes me a little nervous so we will see.

2. Two back-to-back running days MAX. The week before last, (not on purpose) I ran 4 days in a row. I had Monday off, so I naturally took advantage of being able to head out for a run whenever I felt like it. Tuesday was track, Wednesday I was at the gym and the treadmills were calling my name, and then Thursday I had track again. Some people may be able to do this like it is no big deal but I have the knees of a 85 year old man and this is not okay for me. With Tuesday/Thursday practices, this means no running on Wednesday and one on the weekend. I think I need to create/find a new training plan with this in mind.

garminJust have to work up to that +7 miles…nbd.

3. PROPER RECOVERY! Oh my good god this is so big. I have been really working on this but I am far from perfect. After EVERY run I need to spend at least 15 minutes stretching and foam rolling, and 15 minutes of core. This obviously isn’t possible when I have track practice right before school but for my own runs, most definitely. If it means I have to wake up before 5am, so be it. I have a detailed post coming up on my half marathon recovery/nutrition plan so stay tuned for that.

4. And proper nutrition. Again, I’m not going into detail yet as I have a post on this planned, but just know that I will be prioritizing my nutrition and ensuring I eat a LOT to fuel and recover from my workouts. I’m working on a little less of eating ALL THE SUGAR and (trying) to get some quality nutrients in as well.


5. No stress. Enjoying this training cycle is just as important to me as staying injury-free! I refuse to get to the place where I dread my runs. If I have to skip track practice once in a while it is not the end of the world. I will not melt into a pile of mush if I have a week with zero strength training. #runhappy is the name of the game here.

Have you ever trained for multiple distances at once?

Any advice for a newbie sprinter? 


7 thoughts on “Training for Multiple Race Distances

  1. Wow Emma you really at it! Sounds like you taking all the factors into consideration and approaching it with a sensible mindset. I’ve got nothin’ for ya..but I just wanted to say best of luck 🙂 oh and yes to fueling properly. Looking forward to seeing your detailed post.

  2. Wow- sprinting- how exciting!

    You sound like you have an awesome plan. I think the recovery time is really important. I need to remind myself to ALWAYS take the 15/20 minutes to stretch and roll or else my body reminds me in the form of pain later on…

    You’re going to have a great track season! 😀

  3. I am so happy that you were smart and actually thought about how you needed to adjust your training – someone *cough me cough* didn’t do that and ended up injured. Haha my knees are awful too – and I run a max of 4x per week. Why are we not neighbors/twins???
    You will be an amazing sprinter! Just smile and focus on your turn over – touch your feet to the ground as often as possible 🙂 (I’ve tried it and it works, but I haven’t run the 200, so I don’t know if the same strategy applies)

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