Running: 6 Golden Rules2018-09-17T12:23:24+00:00

Running: 6 Golden Rules

Training Tips to Achieve Your Race Goal

Whether you are new to running or have been running for some time, the following are the Personal Touch Fitness golden rules to get the best race results.

RULE 1: Weekly mileage goals

Build-up to run a total mileage between 1 and 1.5 times the race distance each week

But not in the first week! That is likely to increase your injury risk. Your total mileage depends how much you are running already. Don’t make sudden changes to your training programme. Increase your weekly mileage by around 10% each week – even if it seems relatively easy.

Start to understand distance and pace if you already run several times per week. There are many tools available to do this such as apps, websites and even an old fashioned map!

Always seek medical advice prior to commencing a training plan. Speak to the Personal Touch Fitness team for advice or tips. Remember this is only a guide and you should listen to your body and flex plans to suit abilities.

Eventually, when you are confident about completing the race distance, your weekly plan will include 3 or 4 runs totaling 1 to 1.5 times your chosen race distance. For example training for a half marathon will mean increasing your mileage to run between 13 and 20 miles each week. This should include a long run, an easy or recovery run, an interval session and a hill run. Make sure you include rest days in your plan. It is advisable to have a rest day before you do the longest run of the week.

RULE 2: One long run getting longer each week towards your race distance

One longer run each week is vital for your race preparation. This builds up endurance. It teaches your body about conserving energy and increases your confidence for completing the race distance.

Plan what works for you. Many runners schedule long runs around their daily life by running to/from work, run home after visiting friends or even using it as a chance to get out and explore! Use a website or app to help plan an enjoyable and ideally traffic free route. See the Personal Touch Fitness website for our review of Runkeeper for the iPhone. Follow these tips:

  1. Have a gentle run or day off the day before your long run
  2. Plan to eat slow releasing, good carbohydrates the day before but don’t eat more than normal. Leave about 2 hours after eating to start your run and have in mind what you are going to eat directly after your run. You have a 2 hour window to replenish the body with a healthy meal to optimise recovery
  3. Consider taking water and a glucose gel if you are running for more than 60 minutes
  4. Charge your iPod in advance (Note: *we recommend playing music at a low volume level if running on roads or busy outdoor areas)
  5. Wear appropriate hi-viz clothes – make sure you cover up on cold days
  6. Don’t be afraid of flexing your run – take one-minute walk breaks or even shorten your run if you need
  7. Have a rest day or gentle recovery run the following day

Always seek medical advice prior to commencing a training plan. Speak to the Personal Touch Fitness team for advice or tips. Remember this is only a guide and you should listen to your body and flex plans to suit abilities.

RULE 3: Include one interval session

Interval runs or speed sessions are misunderstood by many runners. They increase your ability to run at higher speeds for longer by improving how your body uses oxygen. Complete a high intensity run once a week and your body will become more comfortable running at a faster pace.

Intervals involve fixed time, 80 – 90% intensity bursts with controlled slow jog recoveries. They need to be approached carefully and only when you are confident about the race distance but want to improve your times. Listen to your body and stop immediately if you feel any discomfort, tweaks or strains – these sessions are the most likely to cause injury if you push too hard.

Start by running at high intensity for a one minute burst and one minute jog recovery. As you improve increase the length of the high intensity element up to 4 or 5 minutes. Work on bringing your heart rate down with a slow jog as quickly as possible after each burst.

Always seek medical advice prior to commencing a training plan. Speak to the Personal Touch Fitness team for advice or tips. Remember this is only a guide and you should listen to your body and flex plans to suit abilities.

RULE 4: Include one hill run

They are a fabulous way of combining different elements of your training into one run. Different exertion levels, gradients, hill lengths and inevitable downhill sections give your ankles, knees and hips a greater ability of dealing with the duress of training for race day.

Don’t look for the steepest hill and sprint up. You are not training to be a mountain goat. Look for a mixture of steady gradients. Even the flattest areas of London have enough inclines and declines to add variety to your run.

Look forward to the sense of achievement at the top and the exhilaration of the downhill. Try to maintain your cadence uphill by shortening your stride length. Be careful on the downhill not to increase your stride length and maintain muscle control to minimise injury risk.

Next time you might enter a race with gradients?

Always seek medical advice prior to commencing a training plan. Speak to the Personal Touch Fitness team for advice or tips. Remember this is only a guide and you should listen to your body and flex plans to suit abilities.

RULE 5: Don’t forget to include one cross training or stretching session

he key to a successful race is to minimise the injury risk when training. Include an alternative workout or stretching session in your weekly training plan. The variety will aid your recovery and build core strength. Both of these will help you in the latter stages of the race.

Here are some alternatives to running:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Cross trainer or Arc
  • Bike
  • Any class
  • Stretching

Listen to your body. During your training it is normal to feel more tired. An optimal training plan should leave your leg muscles aching but not painful. Maintain consistency in your training but don’t force yourself to stick to a plan. Be flexible and don’t worry if you miss a day of training. If you do one of the alternatives from our suggestions don’t push too hard but rather use it as a means to use some different muscles and introduce fun and variety to your training.

If you suffer an injury give it plenty of rest to recover. If you are in any doubt make sure you seek medical advice before continuing.

Speak to one of the Personal Touch Fitness team if you would like to know more about your options.

RULE 6: Take it easy in the week or two before the race with only light runs

If you have managed to follow a training plan, put in the miles and it is now two weeks before the race – well done! You have achieved the hardest part of running a race. Now your final preparation prior to the start will make a difference to your performance.

This part is all about tapering your training up to race day. After all the training to get into optimum race condition this period may feel strange. No more long runs but don’t stop altogether. Stay sharp by planning to do light intensity or race pace runs at shorter distances.

This time is all about recovery from training, repairing any muscle damage and stockpiling energy.

In the week before the race start to prepare your body – clear your diary of social events or late nights the week before and aim to get a good night sleep every night. Two days before start to increase the ratio of complex carbohydrates to protein in your diet. Foods such as porridge, rice and pasta are ideal. Avoid alcohol and drink lots of water.

Prepare your gear the night before. Read the race booklet, check where and when you need to be there. Check the news for travel and weather information so you know the conditions in advance.

Lastly, enjoy the day. Arrange viewing points on the run for your friends and family to support you. Watch out for the pre-race adrenalin and don’t start out too fast. Thirty seconds too fast at the start will cost you a number of minutes at the end. Good luck and save enough energy for a big finish!

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