Strong Legs, Steady Breathing - that's my running mantra. Today I went out with the intention of running 45 minutes. I thought that as I've been putting in 45-60 minute interval sessions this was an achievable goal. 55 minutes later I stepped back in the house knowing I could have gone further but chose to stop as the hips were tightening up - likely from running on the uneven packed snow for 65% of the run. It was a fantastic run. My legs were strong, my breathing was steady; The weather was better than yesterday.
There are hundreds of running programs out there designed to help you train for any goal race. I like flexibility in my life and as such I can't subscribe to such regime. I have however studied and read a whole bunch of programs, training ideas, advice from coaches and pro athletes and here's what I can tell you for sure. To be a decent runner, you should aim to run three times a week, to be a better runner you should aim to run four times a week, if you're competing at a really high level (college, Olympics) you should run six times a week.
All of these programs say that non-running days should be rest or cross training - but rarely do they delve into detail as to what this should entail and how, if possible this should best complement and could even supplement for running. So I will cross train intensely. Hard workouts on the bike, strenuous weight sessions. This will help build strength, speed, and stamina.
They also say that mileage counts, the further the better. This means lots of kilometres weekly. So being one to ignore structure and being a bit more free flowing my running program will be this: run at least twice in march, three times in April, four times in May - except the week before the half marathon where I will taper. Run far but not necessarily slow. Slow isn't bad. But my goal isn't to complete, my goal is sub two hours. So I will: Challenge my pace weekly with speed sessions, fartleks, tempos. I have run my personal bests running max three times a week though not necessarily far. I believe that by adding distance I will at the very least post some good 5k times this year. I'm convinced my program will work for the half marathon too. I guess I'll know for sure in 11.5 weeks.