Jo Pavey's Training Tips
Training for any distance requires a good structured training programme. This will keep training more consistent, help to avoid injury and enable more improvement. Have a long term goal to keep your motivation. This could be to run a marathon or to run your first 10K. Along the way plan some short term goals such as a 5K or a lower key event. Training with others also helps to make running more enjoyable and sociable.
To get the most out of your running you will need to carry out different types of training and train at different paces rather than purely just going out for a run. It’s also useful to include some strength and conditioning and core stability work.
With busy lives everyone has different time constraints on how much time they can devote to their running.
Ideally a training week should incorporate 2 faster running sessions, a long run and a rest day.
The long run is particularly important for marathon training. It allows adaptation to time on the feet and coping with impact fatigue. Long runs also teach the body to store glycogen. Build up the length of the long run very gradually. For a marathon you may want to build your long run up to 18 miles and if possible up to 21 miles. It is best to carry out your longest long run 3-6 weeks before your marathon. Any closer and it will affect your recovery for the big day.
The faster running sessions can take the form of repetition sessions, hill sessions and tempo runs. When considering distances from 5K and 10K through to marathon it is important not to neglect endurance. Pure speed work can be useful, but it is really the icing on the cake as you will never be able to use your speed if you are too exhausted before the end of a race. It is useful if you can use a track for some workouts, but it’s not always totally necessary. Just find a good cricket pitch or trail. Road work is part of preparation for a long road race but be cautious about doing too many sessions on the road.
Examples of sessions
R = Rest between sets
r = recovery between reps
(3R) means 3 minutes rest between sets
(3r) means 3 minutes recovery between reps
An example of a set and a rep is 2x4x800m which is 2 sets of 4 800m reps.
Start with 2 x 5 min and build to 5 X 5 min with 2 min recovery
Start with 4 x 3 min and build to 10 X 3 min with 1 min recovery
Start with fewer reps but build up to 10 min (3r) 7 min (3r) 6 min (3r) 5 min (2 1/2r) 4 min (2 1/2r) 3 min (2r) 2 min (2r) 1 min (60r) 30 sec (60r) 30 sec all with decreasing recovery.
If you can use a track, try 2 x (4 x 800) with 2 min recovery and 5 minutes between sets. Or 2 X (8 X 400) with 45 secs recovery and 5 minutes between sets. After completing one of these sessions, have a 5 min recovery then try 3-4 X 200 to add a bit of speed. For all workouts, make sure you always do an adequate warm up and cool down.
Hill sessions are great for improving leg strength and speed in a functional and dynamic way. Try 15 X 45 secs hill with a jog back recovery for speed. Try 8 x 2 min hill with jog back recovery for endurance. Build hill work up sensibly and avoid hill training if you have a niggle.
A tempo run is an important type of training to include in your schedule. It can be used as one of your faster workouts, or for experienced runners it could be added to the schedule. The aim is to run at a heart rate somewhere in the range of 75-85 % of your maximum heart rate or a pace that is comfortably hard. This type of training helps to improve your race performance by improving your lactate threshold, allowing you to run faster for longer.
The above are just a few pointers for thinking about in your typical training week. In future tips it will be good to discuss a certain topic in more detail. Remember any training schedule needs to be built up gradually and for beginners a base period with lots of steady runs is needed before tackling more challenging workouts. Also try to be flexible, listen to your body. Make sure you take your rest day and take additional rest if you need it. Slogging yourself when you feel a niggle or you feel ill will only make you need more time out in the long run.
Author: James Gunn
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