We need to keep running into perspective, firstly the health benefits of running are too numerous to mention, we know this, both physically and mentally but we also need to remember that sometimes running doesn’t always go to plan and that’s ok. RunVerity is only 4 years old so even RunVerity members who have been with me since the start, your training age is still so young.
I’ve written about pacing before, we can’t argue with science and running is a combination of art and science, a recipe of training plans, trying different things out to see what results we get or don’t get. This is why reflecting on the last year can be useful, what worked, what didn’t, what can you add in, what can you take away.
However there comes a point when you may want to take your training a step further, instead of just running a race to see if you get to the end you may want to train for a time, to see what you could achieve and push yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit.
We are not elite athletes, however that doesn’t stop us trying to be the best we can be with life’s limitations and commitments to juggle with as well. We all have to pay the bills and most of us don’t have access to our own personal sports therapist/nutritionalist/psychologist but I do try to bring all of these things into the fore for you so that you can achieve.
The following 3 training sessions form the basis of all of my training plans and they can help you run faster. If you keep running at the same pace day in and day out you are going to get very good at running at that pace (you may also get injured due to repeating the same pace each time you run). You may not like one of the 3 sessions as it may push you out of your comfort zone but try and fight your chimp as mixing up the training stops you getting bored and stale.
The golden sessions are
1 Training Pacing Session (Tempo Runs)
2 Long Run
3 Higher-Intensity Repeats (Interval Training)
1 Training Pacing Session or Tempo Run
The training pacing session or tempo run teaches you to physically and mentally run at your target race pace and by practicing your target race pace it enables you to be comfortable so that you pace yourself as evenly and as efficiently as possible.
To get your target race pace, think about what pace your last run was where you were out of breath. Think about what time you would like to achieve your next goal in, be realistic as you can always adapt this pace if it is too hard or too easy for you.
If you are doing a 3 mile run, run the first mile at 45 to 90 seconds slower than your target race pace.
For the middle section of your run increase your pace to your target race pace and get used to how that feels, if you are out of breath and struggling then you may need to adjust your target pace time to a slightly slower time, if they feel easy then you can adjust your target pace time to a faster time.
You then finish your last mile with a moderate 45 to 90 seconds slower than your race pace. You will see on your training plan that there is a tempo run which increases in distance each week and then drops down again once you move into your peak training weeks.
2 Long Run
The long run is all about building endurance for your race. A lot of people struggle with keeping the pace slow on a long run but the benefits of the long run are numerous and also enjoyable. A long run can be anything from 3 miles to 20 miles, it all depends what you are training for.
· Build the foundations from which you can add the extra beneficial sessions which reduces the chance of injury.
· A good base foundation of miles builds up slow twitch muscles.
· Builds the aerobic system
· Prepares the body for the physical stress of running long
· Provided an opportunity to practice fueling and hydrating properly
· Prepares the athlete for the mental stress of running long
Long runs should be completed at a pace of about 45-90 secs per mile slower than your target race pace.
3 Higher Intensity Repeats or Interval Training
Everyone should put hills and speed on their training plan as these develop good running form and speed endurance which is what is needed to maintain speed over a long period of time.
Remember the 4-1 rule, for every 1 second per mile faster than your race pace that you run in the first part of your race you will give back up to 4 seconds per mile in the final part of the run. For example, if your race pace was 10 minute miles and you averaged 9.45 minute per mile in the first part of the run you are likely to find you can only average 11 minute miles for the final part of the run, so the 15 seconds turns into 60 seconds towards the end of the race as the ratio between 60 seconds and 15 seconds is 4:1