SUPER EXCELLENT HALF-MARATHON HEART RATE-BASED CHALLENGE: JAN/FEB 2018

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SUPER EXCELLENT HALF-MARATHON HEART RATE-BASED CHALLENGE: JAN/FEB 2018

$150.00

This half-marathon plan is for you if you’ve been running consistently for at least four times a week for the past year and have familiarity with heart rate training, if you aren’t currently using your heart rate in your daily training. Also, across the course of that year, you’ve had no significant (4+ weeks) breaks for illness or injuries, have raced a half-marathon or full marathon within the past two years, and are ready for a challenging 20 weeks of training that will make you an extremely strong, extremely competent runner.

We recommend that you have either done the EXCELLENT Half-Marathon or OUTSTANDING Marathon plan within the past year before taking on the SUPER EXCELLENT Plan so you have both the cardio base and the muscular strength to support the program.

On this plan, you will run five days a week; you have an option of running six days a week if you’d like. There are very few straight-up runs; most have bursts of speed—anything from 20 seconds to five miles—or strength elements added in. All the runs are in minutes, although some segments of them correspond to distance. Easy days will be fairly easy—there are two of these weekly—but hard days (three days/week) will be correspondingly pretty dang tough.

SUPER EXCELLENT is divided into segments with specific focuses:

Weeks 1-3: Introduction + Base
Weeks 4-6: Strength + Power
Weeks 7-10: Speed
Weeks 11-18: Integration of Strength, Speed + Race Pace
Weeks 19-20: Taper + Race

If you are coming into this plan with fewer than 20 weeks until race day and you’ve been training consistently with heart rate, you can skip and/or modify Weeks 1-3.

Fair Warning: You will likely work harder on this race plan than you’ve ever worked before in your running career. As such, SUPER EXCELLENT is not a plan to join if you are moving, starting a new job, or going through another phase in your life where your energy and time is more limited than usual. In order for you to maximize your success, a commitment to 20 weeks of five workouts a week, plus the self-care extras that aren’t really extra: foam rolling and strength training on a nearly daily basis are key.

It’s all worth it, of course; your final race will be so SUPER EXCELLENT, you’ll contemplate tattooing those two words on your (crazy strong) glutes after you cross the finish line.

THE PREREQS:

You need to please:

  1. Be able to currently jog for 90 consecutive minutes. For at least the previous three months, you’ve averaged 20 miles a week. What’s more, we strongly recommend that you have either done the EXCELLENT Half-Marathon or OUTSTANDING Marathon plan within the past year before taking on the SUPER EXCELLENT Plan. Also, over the past year, you’ve also had no major breaks (4+ weeks) in your running, due to injury (boo!), illness (boo again!), pregnancy (yay!).
  1. Own an accurate heart rate monitor, and understand you need to wear it all the time while training.
  1. Be ready to devote your body, mind, and spirit to 20 weeks of training. Again, this is a tough plan. During week one, you’ll run for five hours, 30 minutes over the course of five workouts. By week 17, the biggest week of training, you’ll be running seven hours, fifty minutes over the course of five workouts. The longest run distances are two, 180-minute runs.

WEEK OF TRAINING: Seven hours, fifty minutes.

LONGEST LONG RUN DISTANCES: Two, 180-minute runs.

SUPER EXCELLENT 4-6

Weeks 4-6 of the plan are previewed above and to the left. (Quick key: HK: High Knees; RR: Recovery Run; GOG: Glutes of Glory (a strength routine); BB: Bulletproof Butt (ditto: strength); FAF: Fully Aerobic Fartlek).

Not seeing your race date? Here’s a list of upcoming race dates + waves. 

The first date is date you officially start your 20 week plan; the second date should align with the weekend of your goal race.

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Product Description

The SUPER EXCELLENT HALF-MARATHON PLAN includes:

  • An EXCELLENT Half-Marathon Plan: 24 Weeks of Training. Designed by Coach Mary-Katherine (MK) Fleming, the EXCELLENT Half-Marathon is a 20-week plan that will turn you into a cardiovascular beast. (A beast whose legs look amazing in every race pic, btw.)

    On this plan, you will run five days a week; you have an option of running six days a week if you’d like. There are very few straight-up runs; most have bursts of speed—anything from 20 seconds to miles—added in. All the runs are in minutes, although some segments of them correspond to distance. Easy days will be unbelievably easy, but hard days will be, comparatively, pretty hard.

    The result? If you do the work, a PR is likely on this plan.

    The race-specific plan is 20 weeks, and you will also receive a four-week Introduction to Heart Rate Plan, which you can use while waiting for your training wave to take off.

    During this training cycle, your perspective on running will change. You will not be wasted exhausted after long runs. Your runs will become more meditative, less stressful. If you follow the foam rolling and strength training prescriptions (all very doable), you will likely not get injured. You will become a smarter, better, stronger runner all by deliberately slowing down when you’re supposed to and speeding up accordingly when it’s time. We promise.

  • Miles of Resources. Your registration gets you access to the Train Like a Mother private site, where you’ll find helpful articles; video demonstrations of strength training moves, foam rolling routines, and running drills that are totally doable (read: less than five minutes! truly!) and will keep you running strong and injury-free; and plenty of other tips and tricks to compliment your heart rate-based training.

  • Exclusive Train Like a Mother Podcasts. We’ll answer individual training questions—and entertain you on your runs on a nearly weekly basis. Your first podcast will be a Heart Rate Training 101, which will explain many of the tenets you’ll use in this program. After that one, we’ll pull in experts, answer questions, help you thrive. As always, no question is too basic or TMI.

  • Accountability—and Camaraderie—Galore. In addition to Train Like a Mother Club, you’ll be invited to join a private Heart Rate-Based Half-Marathon Challenge club on Strava, where you can track your miles, and a private Heart Rate-Based Half-Marathon Challenge Facebook page, where you’ll quickly find an army of (funny, empathetic, inspiring) #motherruner teammates. You’ll share training tips, stories of good runs and bad, cheer each other on, and push each other out the door. Momentum comes from teamwork, and these Challenges roll on some serious #motherrunner momentum.

  • Expert, Accessible Guidance. We pop in via email weekly with a newsletter, as well as have a weekly Q+A with Coach MK, gear giveaways galore, and discounts on training essentials. If you hit a speed bump too big for a Facebook or Strava post, Coach MK has weekly office hours for individual questions. We want you to succeed, and want to offer every tool we can to help you.

  • A Training Peaks Account. This comprehensive training tool will help you chart the nearly daily growth of your endurance base. It also sends you a daily email with your workouts for today and tomorrow so you can plan accordingly.

  • Best.Swag.Bag.Ever. As part of your registration, you will receive a package stocked training essentials, including a tube of Nuun, packets of GU, a pair of Balega socks, and samples of SweatX sports detergent. (Shipping of $6.50 on U.S. orders and $15 for international orders will be added to your registration at checkout to cover the cost of getting these goodies to your mailbox.)

  • Optional Celebratory Merchandise: We’ve got a sweet (Run) Like a Mother tech long sleeve, and a range of custom shoe tags—we’re calling them the new finishing medal—including don’t think/just go; and #coachedandloved.

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FAQs

  • How will heart rate-based training help me become a better and faster runner?
    The plans dial in —or simply develop—an endurance base, which will help your running economy skyrocket and make you a capable, strong, injury-free runner. Think of a pyramid; the wider its base, the higher its apex can be without tipping or crumbling. Same with running: the wider your endurance base, the higher or faster you can run.

    Unfortunately, developing the endurance base is the process most non-elite athletes skip when decide to train for a half- or full marathon. They substitute other activities for easy runs or take the “easy” out of their easy runs. Either way, they don’t get the physiological benefit they need to finish the race feeling strong and healthy.

    Most runners devote a lot of energy looking for the Magic Workout, believing it’s something that involves the track and/or really challenging paces. There is some magic in pushing your paces, but only—and this is a big ONLY—if your body has a developed endurance base and is ready for the more intense work.

    I—MK—know plenty of runners who have been logging miles for decades in search of the Magic Workout and can’t figure out why they repeatedly get injured or continually getting slower, despite putting in more and more effort.

    Their Magic Workout isn’t more effort or speed. It’s the easy effort run with a heart rate cap. Over time, those easy miles allow your body to magically transform into a cardiovascular beast—and that is when the true magic can happen.

    (Dive deeper into the physiology of and my perspective on heart rate-based training here.)

  • How do I know if this is the right training plan for me?
    This half-marathon plan fits nearly any runner: beginner; experienced; coming back from injury; just had a baby; irritated by running because of said injury, expectations, aging.

    To thrive in the SUPER EXCELLENT plan—mother runners need just four things:

    1.Be able to currently jog for 90 consecutive minutes. For at least the previous three months, you’ve averaged 20 miles a week. What’s more, we strongly recommend that you have either done the EXCELLENT Half-Marathon or OUTSTANDING Marathon plan within the past year before taking on the SUPER EXCELLENT Plan. Also, over the past year, you’ve also had no major breaks (4+ weeks) in your running, due to injury (boo!), illness (boo again!), pregnancy (yay!).

  • 2. Own an accurate heart rate monitor, and understand you need to wear it all the time while training.

    3. Be ready to devote your body, mind, and spirit to 20 weeks of training. Again, this is a tough plan. During week one, you’ll run for five hours, 30 minutes over the course of five workouts. By week 17, the biggest week of training, you’ll be running seven hours, fifty minutes over the course of five workouts. The longest run distances are two, 180-minute runs.

    Some plan details:
    BIGGEST WEEK OF TRAINING: 7 hours, 50 minutes.

    LONGEST LONG RUN DISTANCES: Two, 180-minute runs.

     

  • I want a PR. Will heart rate-based training get me one?
    It is totally possible. A PR is twofold: running consistently, and knowing how to race. We will help you do the former and teach you how to do the latter. The comment I—MK— get the most frequently from my runners who previously struggled through races is, “I never had to stop! I ran the whole way through!” That alone can lead to PRs.

    That said, the plan isn’t always the problem when it comes to a PR. Sticking to it is. If you run consistently and arrange your life so you can commit to the plan, I’m confident you will blow your mind on race day. It will be an experience unlike any other you’ve ever had.

    But if you look at the plan like a buffet and only pick the parts and runs you like or you continually find the day has ended yet again and you are out of time to run, you will still find a modicum of success. But a PR probably won’t happen. I’m not sure in those circumstances a PR could be expected on any plan. (Not being harsh; just being honest.)

    If you want proof of the beauty of low and slow consistency, look at me. I did not train through my third pregnancy, no running or cardio, NOTHING (I discovered ‘binge-watching’ and Sons of Anarchy…WORTH IT!) from September 2014-May 2015. I started a plan very much like the ones in the Train Like a Mother Club after my six-week post-partum appointment. I made it four weeks before I had a minor surgical procedure that left me prone in a bed until mid-July.

    My first easy run on July 28 was 14:15 pace. I cried knowing the 2014 NYC Marathon was 13 weeks away. I got back on the plan: five easy, effort runs of varying mileage weekly, no speedwork, but no excuses either. I was consistent. I ran 1:51 at the ZOOMA half-marathon in Colorado Springs in mid-October and a 22:38 5K the following weekend. Two weeks later, I ran 4:16 in the New York City Marathon, pacing a friend to a huge PR. I finished with lots of fuel left in the tank.

    To be sure, I have a wide cardiovascular base built on years of training smart, not hard. But still: I am living proof a #motherrunner (of three) can run slow and race fast.

  • I am constantly injured. Why will heart rate-based training help me stay healthy?
    Muscles have memory, but tendons and ligaments do not. I—MK— see runners going too fast all the time who swear to me, they, “feel FINE!” Perceived effort can be shaded so many ways; the heart rate cap will keep you honest and keep your easy effort days easy. This in turn will prevent you from letting those muscles that feel FINE push your tendons and ligaments beyond their breaking points, leaving you with a roaring case of plantar fasciitis, IT Band Syndrome, Achilles tendinitis, or shin splints.

    Heart rate-based training slows you down so that your tendons and ligaments have time to get up to speed; in addition, many of the short strength circuits you’ll do after your runs will encourage all the right kinds of running strength.

  • What are target races?
    Target races are races where we are expecting a critical mass of #motherrunners and TLAM coaches, so you’ll have both teammates and coaches to enhance your weekend! We’ll have a shake-out run, some kind of party-ish gathering, and cheering sections. They are a blast! We will put out a call early in the programs to identify people who will be at the Target Race, so if you need a roommate, we can help you out. (Don’t be shy about attending alone! Truly.)

    Please note: For target races, you are responsible for your own entry, travel, meals, etc. The only situation that doesn’t hold true is the AMR Retreat.

  • What heart rate monitor do you recommend?
    Coach MK loves and uses the Polar M400. So does Dimity. Here a few other Polar monitors with a range of features that we recommend.

    Here’s a little more advice from Coach MK:
    Go for the low-hanging fruit. Translation: You might not need to run out and buy a super-expensive and fancy new watch.

    Did your current watch come with a strap that is sitting forgotten and unloved in a drawer? Grab it.

    Is your current watch heart-rate enabled but you didn’t buy the strap at the time because you didn’t think you needed it? Get the strap that goes with your watch.

    If you’re ready to upgrade your whole system, check out the price of the watch you want. Sometimes the stand-alone strap is pricey enough that it makes more sense to go ahead and upgrade.

    Don’t have a watch because you run with an iPhone? Look at the available GPS apps like Strava, MapMyRun and Runkeeper. All will sync with different heart rate straps, so check prices and pick the combo that works with your budget.

  • Do I need other equipment for this plan?
    We have optional super short routines that involve a BOSU and resistance loops. While they are not mandatory, they are crazy helpful in building glute strength (BOSU) and hip stability (resistance loops)—two areas that are usually lacking in #motherrunners and are the root of many running injuries. If you don’t have access to or funds for a BOSU, don’t sweat it; resistance loops are adequate and are much more affordable. (You can also look for a used BOSU on craigslist, a used sporting good store or at garage sales.)

    We also recommend having a firm foam roller; the more dense it is, the better. (But we admit: It will be a little painful the first few sessions!) Our first choice is the TriggerPoint Grid X.

  • Do I have to do a bunch of calculations or complete a running test to figure out my optimal heart rate zones?
    No.

    Here’s why: When I—MK— started as a coach, I was handed a motley crew of 20 people who were at varying levels of fitness. Not a single one had a decent endurance base yet all were severely overtrained. I was floored. People running less than 15 miles per week shouldn’t be overtrained! Worse, they would absolutely kill themselves on our Tuesday night social (easy effort) runs and swear they weren’t failing the “Talk Test,” or being able to carry on a conversation while you run.

    A big believer in Lydiard’s rule that a well-coached athlete should never be injured, I knew I had to come up with a system that would work for everyone without alienating anyone.* I respect Phil Maffetone’s work and initially told everyone to use his formula (Heart Rate cap: 180-age, with a few exceptions) on their easy effort days.

    This failed spectacularly. Everyone bent the rule, so I set out to write a different rule. I researched all the data and theoretical reasoning behind most existing heart rate training programs, read up on studies of the existing endurance running population in North America, then looked at the success rates of my athletes with their Maffetone formula and reevaluated the verbiage around my ‘rules’ for the easy-effort run.

    The result was a 140 cap on heart rate for easy effort runs. Keeping your effort on or below 140 beats per minute is firmly aerobic territory for most of the population of non-elite endurance athletes and will increase the endurance base and running economy. (Dive deeper into the physiology of and my perspective on heart rate-based training here.)

    In an effort to make sure my runners do as little math as possible, and because perceived effort is not always an effective, we ALL wear heart rate monitors and use 140 as a cap for easy efforts. The cap comes off for other workouts—and there are plenty of times we pick up the pace—but keeping the easy efforts easy will transform your running.

    Exceptions to this rule are people under 20, over 60, and former competitive**/elite endurance athletes.

    [[*I’ve been the fat kid at track club more than once. I HATED it. I make a point to make sure everyone is treated equally and fairly at my group workouts, and have developed a system that ensures no runner is ever left behind our demoralized.]

    [[**By ‘competitive’, I mean, “someone who was ranked in the top 10% at the state level or nationally in track or cross country either in high school or college.]]

  • Does every run have a heart rate cap?
    No. There are bits of speed development sprinkled thoughtfully through the programs; depending on your plan, you will do anything from 20-second pickups in an easy effort run to miles at race pace, and those elements do not have a heart rate cap.

    But the Magic Workouts—the easy effort runs that develop your endurance base and running economy—are capped at 140.

  • Can I do CrossFit/Orange Theory/spinning class/other intense cross-training on this plan?
    Because the plan is designed to grow your aerobic base, we recommend that you limit your intense cross training, which naturally jacks up your heart rate. That said, if you are married to one of the above classes, we obviously won’t say don’t do it; we’ll just recommend that you attend after your run for the day (or use it as your free run), and that you wear your heart rate monitor so you have an idea of how hard you are truly working.

    More moderate cross training like yoga, Pilates, easy swimming, easy biking, etc. is encouraged.

  • Does the registration fee include a race?
    No. The fee covers two training plans (SUPER EXCELLENT + Introduction) and all the support you need for 24 weeks (nearly 6 months!) of heart rate-based training. That support includes an active Facebook page and Strava club, at least five exclusive podcasts, a Training Peaks Account, a stocked swag package (over $25!), and regular office hours where we can help you over speed bumps.

    All these tools will help you have an SUPER EXCELLENT training cycle and race, both physically and mentally. You will have camaraderie, commiseration, and community on a daily basis (and sometimes hourly, if that’s your thing.)

    You will participate in the organized half-marathon of your choice; you can also choose to run a half-marathon on your own, if that works better for you.

  • Wait: So I have to pay for this Challenge and a half-marathon entry fee?
    Yep—and we’ve heard again and again it’s worth it. Staying committed and motivated during the days, weeks, and, yes, months of training can be ridiculously hard, especially if you’re new to heart-rate training. If you can do that—and these programs are all about accountability and inspiration—race day becomes a celebratory victory lap, not a slog full of self-doubt.

  • Can you please explain the shipping charges?
    Within a few weeks of registration, every participant in a Train Like a Mother program receives a stocked swag package with some of our favorite training essentials. Domestic #motherrunners are charged $6.50 for shipping; international #motherrunners are charged $15 for shipping. If you purchase other Train Like a Mother merchandise, there are likely going to be additional shipping fees unless we can ship your purchase with your swag package.

  • What if my target race isn’t in one of the waves you have listed above?
    It’s likely still coming up. Check out the schedule here. If it’s already passed, drop us a line at [email protected] and we will see if we can figure things out.

  • What if I realize this isn’t the right training plan for me?
    We definitely want this to work into your life and your running lifestyle. You can email us at [email protected] within 2 weeks of starting the program and we will set you up with another plan or a credit for an upcoming challenge. We will not be able to issue a straight-up refund.

  • What if I get injured or really sick?
    With a smart training plan, doable strength training, and advice on foam rolling and other self-care, we’re going to do our best to keep you injury-free. That said, if you have an injury or illness that totally slays your training, let us know at [email protected]. We’ll work with you to get you a credit for an upcoming program.

  • Any other questions? Hit us up at [email protected] and we’ll help you out!

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