Three weeks and counting: Great West Run

Sep 9, 2019 | Jenni Ashford

The finish line is almost in sight. Exeter’s Great West Run is now only three weeks away and the training plans are reaching their final stages for the runners from Exeter Golf and Country Club.

With the miles racking up week by week, the runners are reaching their peak mileage, before tapering begins at the two week stage. Most of the runners have exceeded 10 miles and are regularly incorporating hill and sprint intervals into their training plan.

Personal Trainer, James, came 14th in a trail marathon across Dartmoor, with new runner Martyn coming in 20th in the 12K version! Well done to the two of them!

Here’s an overview of the issues being raised by the runners with the PT team – and their advice!

Increasing lung capacity: increase cardiovascular activity with sprint intervals, short tempo runs or underwater swimming

Shin splints: compression sleeve on affected leg, during and after training. Flat runs will help.

Tight hips, hamstrings, glutes: conditioning yoga with Howard at the club is the best way to keep supple, flexible and even increase the stride.

Stamina on longer runs: hill repeats. Recommended location – Ludwell Valley 3/4 repeats.

Boredom: vary your routes – add in hills for the mental challenge, that will definitely stop the boredom

Speed: sprint intervals are the way to increase speed overall – aim to reduce the stop time in between sprints and lengthen distance of sprints.

Distance: to keep going for longer distances, make sure you run three or four times a week and vary the style, one long distance, one tempo, a hill / sprint interval session and a recovery run makes for a well balanced week – this will ensure your lungs and legs get stronger.

Tiredness: it’s really important to listen to your body. If it is (genuinely!) telling you, you need a break, then you should take it. A day or two off is not going to ruin your training – in fact, if you use that time to eat well, sleep and stretch, some R&R will make you feel raring to go.

Nutrition: now more than ever, it is vital that you eat the right food to fuel your runs and aid your recovery – changes in diet WILL help improve your performance. More on this to follow.

Breathlessness at the start of the run: warming up is key to controlled breathing – 2 or 3 miles is a good warm up session.

Technique: working on your running technique will make your incline segments more efficient and therefore faster. Remembering to use your arms will propel you up the hill – over-exaggerate them and it takes the pressure off your legs. Also keep an upright upper body rather than leaning forward, will keep your lungs open.

Feeling queasy / stitch: make sure you eat well before a run – and that what you eat is appropriate. Easily digestible carbs will keep you fueled without making you feel nauseous when you push the miles. If you have a stitch, push your fist under your ribs as hard as you can while still running – or a tip from Jessica Ennis – breathe out heavily on your left stride! If it happens regularly, taking a Rennie or two before a long run is a good way to prevent tummy troubles!

Find out about PT running plans

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