Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Training Plan… for Spectators

11/09/2010  from by Mark Remy

Raise and lower, and repeat after me: 'Woo! Hoo!... Woo! Hoo!'
Raise and lower, and repeat after me: 'Woo! Hoo!... Woo! Hoo!...'

Okay, the New York City Marathon is behind us. Some 45,000 runners finished the race — thanks, no doubt, to months of rigorous training.

Training plans are such an ingrained part of marathon running, most of us barely give them a second thought. We decide to run a marathon; we seek a training plan; we follow the plan, for 14 or 16 or 20 weeks or whatever; we run the marathon. Simple.

But what about the estimated 2 million (give or take) folks who rolled out of bed to watch the marathon in New York on Sunday morning? For that matter, what about any of the gazillion spectators who line the roads to cheer us on during any of the gazillion marathons that take place each year?

Where is their training plan?

This question occurred to me over the weekend, as all those folks lined the streets of New York, hooting and hollering and standing and clapping. Watching them, I thought to myself:

You know what? Those are the real champs. The runners have been training for this day for months now. These poor schmucks on the sidewalks, though… They didn't train one lick. Yet there they stand, shouting and applauding and "raising the roof" for hours on end. They're the ones who are gonna be sore tomorrow. 

Well, spectators, help is here. You never have to go into a race unprepared, ever again.

Below you'll find what I believe to be the first training plan ever devised for marathon spectators. It's a four-week program; feel free to tailor it to suit your needs and level of spectating fitness.

Week 1: Base building. Especially if you're starting from zero — i.e. you haven't done any real spectating since, say, your college years — it's important to start out slow.
MON: 15 minutes standing around
TUE: 5 mins standing around; 5 mins clapping; 5 mins standing around
WED: rest
THU: posterboard sign drills — lift and lower a handmade sign 50 times; warm up and cool down with 5 mins easy cheering
FRI: rest
SAT: 15 mins standing around
SUN: 30 mins spectating fartlek — freestyle blend of standing around, cheering, clapping, and/or raising arms, as you feel

Week 2: This week we'll add some "quality" workouts to the mix.
MON: 20 mins standing around; optional: sip coffee for duration
TUE: rest
WED: cowbell repeats — ring a cowbell for 90 seconds, recover with 30 seconds easy "woo-hoo-ing" repeat 8 times ; warm up and cool down with 5 mins easy cheering
THU: 20 mins standing around
FRI: street-crossing sprints — stand around for 5 mins on sidewalk; wait for break in traffic; sprint across to opposite sidewalk; repeat 10 times
SAT: rest
SUN: 45 mins standing around with sign

Week 3: Time spent cheering and standing around will peak this week.
MON: rest
TUE: 30 mins standing around with sign, plus intervals of screaming (e.g., "Go!", "Looking good!", "Woo hoo!"), 10 x 30 seconds
WED: 12 cowbell repeats (see Week 2)
THU: rest
FRI: 40 mins standing around with sign
SAT: 15 mins easy cheering
SUN: 60 mins standing around, interspersed with cheering and sign holding

Week 4: It's taper time. This week you'll drastically cut the quantity of your cheering and standing around, while maintaining quality. Remember to get lots of rest, and drink plenty of fluids. The day before your event, sip hot water with lemon and honey to really prepare those vocal cords.
MON: 15 mins easy standing around
TUE: street-crossing sprints (see Week 2)
WED: rest
THU: 20 mins standing around
FRI: rest
SAT: 10 mins very easy standing around
SUN: Race day — stand up and cheer!

1 comment:

Janet said...

I love this. So funny.