((Editor's Note: Grete Waitz is the world's most recognizable and successful female distance runner and a 20-year ambassador for the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series. She regularly provides insightful training advice and observations here at www.jpmorganchasecc.com.)
Be Proud of Your Training
Some things are obvious, like staying away from heavy foods just before heading to the starting line. But, in an era when we're bombarded by marketing messages about performance and nutrition, the latest diet, and the "newest" research, it can get confusing.
It is time to work on the fitness goals you have set for yourself. And whether you are in the United States, Europe, Asia or Australia, the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge will be the perfect opportunity to get positive reinforcement for all your hard work.
I'm here to let you know the Corporate Challenge can meet any of your goals for training. Looking to set a PR? Well, the competition in these events is keen, with many sub five-minute milers setting the pace. Looking to race the 3.5-mile distance for the first time? It can easily be done with a winter of training. Is weight loss a priority? A walking program could be perfect for you, and walkers are more than welcome on our starting lines.
Your first priority should be to get fit and do the training. Careful planning and being disciplined can bring you a long way. Having a training routine is important. I know that first hand, because there are days I don't feel like working out. I sometimes force myself to get started on these days knowing that when I first get going it is not bad at all. Nobody has a great day every day. If it's not your day, just go slower or shorter.
I am very proud of myself when I do not give in to bad excuses or laziness. I feel like a winner in my own way. You will too!
The JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge is a 3.5 mile event, or just slightly longer than the most popular race distance in the world, 5 kilometers. It is a manageable distance, but nonetheless a challenge on every level - from simply completing the distance to catching the bug and training to run the distance well. To do that requires both stamina and speed. This time of the year many runners focus on mileage, and I agree. You need a solid foundation before spring and the start of racing season, but you also need to stay in touch with speed. It has been said that it takes the strength of a marathoner and the speed of a miler to run a good 5k. So even in wintertime you should have a speed session per week. I suggest intervals from 400 to mile repeats.
If you currently are running four to five miles on your runs at a comfortable pace and want to improve in this year's event, add some speed work. For example, if your goal is to run sub 22 minutes for 3.5 miles (approx.6:30 per mile average) you should at least once a week run at a faster pace.
Many runners choose to run less during the winter because they live in places where the running conditions are not favorable. If you have access to some indoor training you can maintain your fitness by working out on machines. I personally have fallen in love with spinning, where I do intervals, fartlek and also steady biking.
The majority of the participants in the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge are happy just to be running the 3.5 mile distance and have some fun with co-workers. Speed work may not be in their plans, but they should keep their mileage at a decent level even in wintertime. About12 to 15 miles per week is a reasonable goal if finishing the race is what you are looking for.
Every year we see thousands of walkers in every event and that is great. The Corporate Challenge a race where everybody is a winner and we welcome both runners and walkers. I think walking is an excellent way to get in shape and lose some pounds. Just walking alone won't make the weight melt away; you have to pay attention to what you eat and drink. The key to weight loss is achieving regular "calorie deficit" (more calories burned than consumed on a given day). An average person burns about 100 calories per mile.
I wish you all good luck with your training goals and welcome your questions, comments and success stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.