My approach to running has always been to keep it simple. Internationals and super elite runners very often have personal coaches and are able to dedicate their daily lives to running. Most others have to fit training and racing around family, work, education and social constraints. These programmes recognise these constraints and can be modified to suit each individual’s needs and circumstances.
Key considerations in training plans:
Whatever one’s natural ability may be, and irrespective of age, certain general principles apply.
- Training should be focused on the reason for running, and racing, in the first placeTraining needs to meaningful and related to each person’s natural physical ability
- One can continually improve until optimum performance level is reachedNever train when unwell (or injured) – no matter how slight the problem maybe. You will only make the problem worse and delay your return to normal training
- Never train in adverse weather conditions. You will only waste time and energyQuality of training is always more important than quantity. Don’t do ‘junk’ miles
- It’s essential to keep a simple training diary noting dates, weather conditions, what training is done & how did you feel during, and after, training
Important elements in training:
- Training should always include aerobic work, eg making the heart and lungs work hard thereby making the running engine more powerful and able to operate at a higher level of performanceGeneral strengthening & conditioning of the running body. Arms , legs and the upper body should function correctly and hence be ‘conditioned’ by exercise. General gym work is excellent for general body conditioning
- Good running technique should be constantly developed and applied. High knees, high leg back lift and good arm action are all essential for quality runningDeveloping good foot speed, a good stride and regular cadence. Varying levels of speed should be practiced so one can adjust the running pace to the distance run
- Developing general overall endurance capability is essential
The four major components in training:
These are common to any runner irrespective of ability or gender.
- The Long Run is done at a steady pace after which one should be tired but not exhausted. Depending on the runner’s experience, and objectives, the distance can be progressively increased until an optimum distance is reached. This run can be on / off road
- The Hard Run is run much harder on a hilly route or, much quicker on a gentle undulating route. The distance should be about half the Long Run distance. This run can be done on / off road. One should feel more tired after this run
- The Quality Run is concerned with real speed and can be done on level roads or paths. Alternatively it could incorporate a track session at a local athletic arena
- The Easy Run is primarily a recovery run but still putting miles in the legs. Use it to concentrate on running style and technique. In any given weekly period one should incorporate these 4 runs BUT novice runners, or those with ‘time to train’ constraints can miss out the Hard Run (or Quality Run), if they wish