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Structured Training, with Variety

• “Apply the three R’s: Regularity, Regularity, Regularity” – Trevor Faulkner
• Be consistent with the three critical training sessions: Tuesday intervals, a tempo run and a longer run
• If you work your body every week with speed work, you’ll improve it
• Intersperse tough sessions with easy runs but don’t just clock up “junk miles”. “If you run lots of slow miles, you just get good at running slowly!”
• Do regular long runs, preferably in the hills
• Make sure every session has a purpose
• Don’t be afraid to train with people who are faster than you
• Most people will instinctively know what their weaknesses are; be brave and focus on improving them rather than avoid them
• Do a repeater every month to measure performance (such as the first session in the month at the
club or a particular Park Run)
• Have rest days, even active rest days, they’re part of your training programme
• Be sure to take the pressure off mentally as well as physically
• Set up your training and racing in a way that you can really enjoy it
• Keeping a diary is a good thing – not just uploading from a watch. The narrative is also important – the feelings and critique
• It’s never one thing but a series of things that makes the difference – you can kick on when lots of little factors combine. It’s normally the cumulative effect of a consistent and sustained period of training that makes the difference

If you want to see results, put in the Hard Work

• “I didn’t train as hard when I was younger as I do now and I regret that. If I had my time again, I would” – Mick Fairs
• If you want to achieve your full potential, give it the focus it needs
• Any training session, especially the Tuesday intervals, will give back what you put in, so really put the effort in to improve or retain your performance
• Break habits and the mould: trotting out the same times for your training runs when you know you can do better … 
• Train with someone who’s faster than you
• It is possible to train harder than you think
• You need to make the sacrifices and put the training in when you could be doing other things. Unless you put the effort in, you don’t get the results
• Make it a personal challenge. Motivate yourself with your own goals
• Avoid CBA – Can’t be arsed – deploy mental resolve!
• Be competitive in training sessions as well as racing – motivate each other in both
• Try to compete against someone of a similar standard in the reps
• Have the discipline to do it. Especially in winter months and training on your own –
it requires dedication

But Enjoy it and Keep Motivated

• “You run faster if you smile” – Ian Smallwood
• Don’t stick to the same routes. Challenge yourself to explore and do different routes and different races
• Be patient. Mostly improvement comes gradually
• Make sure you take time to enjoy running and whilst taking it seriously, don’t get too het up on times
• Be nice to yourself If you’re 30 seconds down, it only matters to you
• Don’t measure yourself on one race. We all have bad days. Move on and focus on consistency
• Just relax and enjoy it. Take a break if you feel like you’re trudging

Be at your Best for Races

• ”Masterpacejudgment”- Bill Heaton
• Plan your training to get to peak fitness for a particular race in your calendar
• Understand the correct amount of training for you. If you under-train, you can get a good race. If you over-train, you’ll be tired and won’t get the best results
• Taper before long races
• Understand energy sources and how to maximise how you use them
• Run in heart rate zones, to control effort in longer races
• In races with laps, do a fast first lap, then speed up!
• New runners, don’t get obsessed with long distances. Park Runs are ideal for novice runners. Half marathons and Marathons can be tackled successfully later as a more experienced runner

Focus on Overall Fitness and Balance

• ‘Age is ajusta number. If you think you’re old,you are old” -Simon Fenton
• Run as much as possible off-road. Take part in the cross country series. Not only is it good training
but it’s great for team spirit and camaraderie too
• Train in the hills and take part in fell and trail races
• Take time to stretch and warm up to avoid injuries
• Listen to your body – pay attention to niggles and be truthful to yourself If it really hurts, do the right thing
• Have regular massages if you can, see a physio and get advice
• Make sure there’s plenty of variety in your training, which will help you to avoid injury
• Balance your exercise e.g. cycle, run, swim (especially as you get older!)
• Cross train to build up your core strength
• Do regular strength training to avoid injury and to help endurance. If you do a desk job, do exercises to build your glutes
• Don’t up or reduce training too much – make small increments – don’t try too hard. Build consistency. If you grow a muscle too fast, it can cause an imbalance
• Be careful to achieve a balance and not to over-train. If in doubt, use a heart rate monitor
• Run with head up and shoulders back, but focus on the route 5 metres ahead, especially off road
• If you want to get faster, try to eat a healthy diet and have a positive mental attitude
• Eat sensibly without fads. Nutrition is important for short and long-term fitness

About the author: Catriona Marshall

Member of Wilmslow Running Club

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