Many runners get stuck in the habit of running the same distance, route and speed every week. Whilst this is ok to maintain your current fitness level it will not help you to run faster or further. Trying to run further in our runs, will not help us in endurance, not in speed, thus we have to train in different ways to achieve different overall results. With the many parks located around Dulwich, Herne Hill, Clapham & surrounding areas, makes running an ideal fitness regime.
To achieve the best results in our running program, we need to introduce a variety of training strategies. By challenging our muscles and energy system in different ways, it will allow our bodies to become more efficient at adapting during our training. Such strategies, will also have the added advantage of keeping our training fun by experimenting new routes and training regimes.
If you don’t have much time, don’t worry you are likely to get more benefit from a 30 minutes higher intensity interval session than from a 1.5 hour run, although both have their place.
There are 4 keys types of training that runners should have in their training regime:
- Long slow run
- Speed/hill/interval session
- Tempo run
- Cross training
- Pilates and strength training
Long slow run
The long slow run should be your longest and slowest run of the week. The runner can add gradual distance increases to this. WE normally recommend increases of 10% to minimise tissue over load.
Physiological benefits of this type of training
The long slow run helps to build capillary density and increases number of mitochondria in your muscle cells, an important part of our aerobic energy system. This we increase the efficiency and endurance of both our muscles and cardiovascular system. It also primes our bones and tendons to increase their stiffness to cope with gradually increases running distances.
There are many different ways to do interval sessions. These types of training sessions increase your overall speed and power. They need to be hard and short! if you are not out of breath at the end you didn’t do it right! These sessions should last around 30 minutes in total, allowing approximately 5 minutes for warm up and some recovery time in the middle of the session. The fitter you are the shorter the recovery periods you’ll need between intervals and the more sets you can add on.
Begin with: 5 min warm up, run 1 min mod-hard effort: 1 min easy jogging x 5
Progress to: 5 min warm up, 1 min max effort with 90 secs recovery x 10
Begin with: 5 min warm up, 3 x 30 secs moderate effort uphill, walking back down
Progress to: 5 x 1 min hard effort uphill, jogging back down with 30-60 seconds rest in between sets
Tempo pace should comfortably hard. It is the maximum pace that we can be sustained for approximately 1 hour. You should not be able to talk in full sentences but also not gasping for air.
Training in the (tempo zone) means you are working at or just below your lactate threshold (the point where the bodies ability to remove lactate from the blood is overtaken by the amount of lactate being produced).
As lactate increases the body begins to feel tired. Thus, by training just below our threshold we gradually increase it. This delay in the onset of fatigue will help us run further and faster.
Tempo runs should start with a 5 min warm up then aim to run for 20 minutes at the fastest pace you could maintain for 1 hour. As this gets easier you can gradually increase the time in the speed zone up to 60 minutes.
Cross training or non-high impact cardiovascular training, means doing something other than just running! This allows ‘active rest’, in simple terms working different muscle groups to running. Such training strategy will prevent muscle imbalances but also training our running muscles in different ways, which allows greater strength adaptations without overloading the tendons and joints. Non-high impact training options include: swimming, cycling, rowing and cross training.
Pilates and Strength training
I would always recommend runners to add Pilates and strength training exercises to their weakly training routine. Pilates helps to build up your core postural muscles, making you more efficient when you run, and resistance training using relatively light weights and high repetitions allows you to strengthen and tone muscles without gaining muscle mass.
If you’ve got a race coming up, like the Dulwich Park run https://www.parkrun.org.uk/dulwich/ or the Brockwell Park run https://www.parkrun.org.uk/brockwell/ or the Clapham Park Common Park run https://www.parkrun.org.uk/claphamcommon/ such routine would be ideal.