With ten half marathons, two marathons and an ultra, under his belt, fitness instructor and personal trainer, James, knows how what works when it comes to running training plans.
Team ‘ExeterGCC’ runners have started week four of their training plan for Exeter’s Great West Run. A couple of the beginner runners are contending with muscular strains having let enthusiasm get the better of them last week and ran a little too far, too soon – a common dilemma when you start running. A bit of rest of TLC and they’ll be back on their feet next week.
For others, the steady push is paying off and they are working new training techniques into their schedules.
James explains the key to upping speed and strength is introducing three training techniques to running training plan.
James said, “For me, the best part of this Great West training experience is the team working together – everyone is being so encouraging and motivational. Watching colleagues progress from being a complete novice runner to running their first 10k, has honestly been brilliant to see. I remember starting out as a new runner thinking I would never be able to cross that finish line; now I’m here training for my next ultra-marathon in September – a little warm up for Exeter’s Great West Run in October! My running schedule has a few extra miles than you would need to train for a half marathon, but there are three training techniques that all runners can incorporate into their own schedules, regardless of what stage they’re at.
1. A tempo run (a tempo run is a faster run than normal) run at sub-maximal (3/4) pace, usually for 20 – 30
minutes – or for as long as you can and build up towards that time.
2. A fartlek run (a fartlek run consists of speed changes. Intensity can be varied, e.g running uphill, downhill, slow and fast). You will find this will help improve your aerobic and anaerobic system.
3. A long run. It is really important, this is just once a week and you schedule your other runs to allow you to rest for the day before to store all that energy for the big event! The long run should be increased gradually – try to finish feeling like you’ve got a little bit left to give. As my next event is running over Dartmoor, I find the best place for my long runs are either our very own Coast Path or over Dartmoor. For the Great West, why not use the actual route for a few of your long run (except the section to Stoke Woods!) to get to grips with the challenges and the gains – work out which bits you can blast it!
Whilst I’m trying to increase my runs week by week, I also listen to my body. We all have days we don’t feel quite right and it’s honestly okay to take a couple days out to recover – if you don’t listen to your body, you risk falling foul of injury and that can be devastatingly frustrating.
Finally…a mention of fuel. Hydration and nutrition both play a massive part in your training – all the way through. Really focus on increasing fluid intake prior to going out on your long runs – plenty of water in the days leading up to it, will make a massive difference. On the day of your longer run, get started with a high carb low fat breakfast that is easy to digest, for instance, bagels with peanut butter, porridge with honey, seeds and berries etc…a coffee always gives you an added boost to get off to a flying start, plus lots of water. Not everyone gets on with running gels, but if you find one that works for you, they are invaluable. I like to have one every 3 miles or so, to keep my energy levels up. Afterwards, make sure you eat protein-rich food within 20/30 minutes so your body can get to work recovering and repairing to make you even stronger for next time.”
Find out more about the running training for the Great West Run.