I'm officially registered for the Hot Chocolate 5K in Chicago on November 4, 2012. There are several Hot Chocolate races around the country (running as 5K and 15K). If you're not in Chicago, there could be a race coming to a city near you! The lynchpin for me - and probably many of you who race - is the training plan. Sure, I could create my own training plan. After all, that's part of what I do for a living. But, truth be told, I'm not very good at following my own race plans. I managed to coerce my husband into doing the race with me. Fortunately for me, he's almost as competitive as me, but much, much more talented in the arena of athletics that I will ever be. He's one of those people that is successful in any sport that has a score or a time - so go figure.

When I first met my husband, I knew he was an incredible swimmer. His background is so completely different from me. I consider myself a reformed borderline couch potato with new-found love for all things fitness. I did not have much to do with athletics until my early 20s. Even then, I wasn't really committed. That came a few years later. My husband, on the other hand, has been swimming since he was five. He was quickly recognized for his talents, and through his teens traveled the world competing. I don't think I would have impressed him much if we would have met when I was 17. Anyway, after we started dating, I suggested that we go for a run. He was hesitant because running (and I quote) "was a weakness." OK, no problem, I thought. I'd go easy on him. We started running and, he was right, running was not a strength. He was breathing so heavy I thought he was going to have a heart attack. He confessed that he really hadn't spent much time working out as of late, but plenty of time partying it up. That said, he was motivated to kick his training into high gear. He committed. I ran a lot on my own and didn't do the "running date" thing with him again for a few weeks. When we finally did go out for our second run, I was shocked (shocked!) that he was not only keeping up with me, but outrunning me.  On top of that, he'd lost over ten pounds. What the hell just happened? I was confident, feeling good - like I was helping someone get healthier - then the guy totally leap frogs me. Whatever. He was cute.

The Bait & Switch
Long story short, I later learned (from his friends) that while swimming was his strength, nothing else was really hard for him after he trained for a while. To my knowledge the shortlist includes: water polo, golf, soccer (a lethal left foot) and  cross country. So he WAS a runner. I had no idea. Triathlon can also be added to the list. We'll see if 2013 holds anything more for him there. Nonetheless, I was hooked. Here we are over nine years later. Now I'm taking cues from him. He's the one creating my 5K plan.

The 5K Plan
The hammer officially came down earlier this week. My training plan always starts with drills and functional movement. They are so important, and I have seen such a difference in how I feel when I run, I can't imagine training without doing them first. Drills and functional movement open up tight joints, warm up the muscles and strengthens the neuromuscular connection between your brain and your body. I have worked my husband's plans before and know they're effective. They're also challenging. There's very little slow and steady work, but lots of high intensity work.

Run With Me
If you're planning on running a race soon, or just want to see what your body can do, I invite you to follow along with this plan. I'll be posting the workouts every few days for the next several weeks, culminating at the 5K. I will not be running every day, but most days of the week. I'll include fillers, like "cross train," to let you know to do something else that is non-running, or "rest" to let you know there is a recovery day. I'm posting these exactly as he's given them to me. If you have a question, I strongly encourage you to ask on my Facebook page or Twitter. Email is great, but I'm not the fastest in responding.

PS - I'm keeping my pace in the plan. You may be a faster or slower running. Adjust accordingly by dialing down or up the pace, or using your heart rate to guide you.

Day 1
This is going to a nice moderate week:
10 minutes mobility work
(High kicks, hip openers, side bends, etc)
7 minutes running drill
(See 'Day 2')

  • 5x30 sec intervals 1x EZ 1x Fast Run straight through.

Main set:

  • 2 x 8 minutes on 11 minutes Hr 75%-80%  Note your stride count (aim for at least 180 strides /min.)
  • 2 x 2 minutes on 3minutes HR 80-85%
    Traci's note to readers: when you see the above "on 11 minutes" for instance, it simply means you'll run for 8 minutes at the specified heart rate, then recover until you hit 11 minutes, then run through it again. The second interval (2 x 2) has one minute of rest. Make sense?

Cool Down 10 mins drills

Day 2
10 minutes mobility warm up. Think Frontal line, back line and spiral lines.
5 minutes drills through twice

2 times through:

  • 60 fore foot hops, each foot. Focus is foot strength. Take your running shoes off. You can use a jump rope. Tilt at the hips.
  • 15 right knee lift/ 15 left
  • Walking  hurdle step (open up the hips)
  • Heel to butt kicks, 2 x 20 seconds

Goal: Aerobic Stength. It is not flat out. HR should reach 80-85%

3 times through:

  • 1 x 1mile      7.10 pace
  • 30 sec rest  Grab a drink and go.
  • 1 x 1/2 mile   6.50 pace
  • 30 sec rest
  • 1 x 1/4 mile   6.40 pace
  • 1 min rest

Cool Down

Day 3
Cross train. I did a lot of TRX, kettle bell, metabolic and functional work (like lunges, squats, push ups, planks). No running. Cardio, if any, should be non-impact.

Day 4
Same standard warm up. Prepare to run fast. Goal workout: Max Fitness

  • 5 x 30 seconds on 30 seconds off. Get your cadence up to 190 and ready for a fun workout.
  • 1 x 10 minute tempo, 75%-80% max. Goal pace, just under 7min mile.
  • 2 minutes recovery, HR under 55%
  • 2 x 5 minutes 75%-80% max
  • 2 minutes recovery
  • 4 x 2 minute intervals 80% max
  • 1 minute recovery

Cool Down 10 minutes minimum

Wait, don’t leave yet! If you’re not joining me on Facebook yet, now’s a great time. There’s a lot more information on nutrition, diet and fitness. I love talking with my fans and enjoy putting together fitness plans and body-specific meal plans…just for them! If you have any questions or comments, just let me know.