SiS Runner

Run Reigate – The SiS Guide to Training

As well as producing some of the Run Reigate team’s favourite gels and recovery drinks, Science in Sport (SiS) also provide a wealth of training and nutrition advice which we’re really happy to share with you.  There are a variety of factors which can make the difference between you making it to the start line of your first half-marathon or 10K, or not!  First up is the most important element in any race preparation – training.  


There are three golden rules you should adhere to, to ensure you give yourself the best chance of starting, finishing and achieving your running dream:

R – Rest and recovery

These are two of the most underrated aspects of training.  DO NOT forget to rest and recover after hard-training.

U – Understand your limits

When it comes to endurance running, there are many things which are beyond your control.  Your “genetic potential” being one of them.

N – Never run on an injury

As tempting as it might be to try and ignore a muscle or tendon niggle, you are likely to make it far worse by running on it.

Training Intensity

Knowing how hard to push yourself is one of the hardest things to do when training for a race.  Your weekly training regime is a tricky balance between slow/steady sessions to build endurance and higher intensity sessions to increase your resistance to fatigue and increase your threshold.  

The question is how hard should you push?

Too Easy

Although slow and steady sessions are an important part of training, if performed too frequently, low intensity sessions can lead to a training plateau.

Too Hard

If you push yourself too hard, either by running too fast, too often or too far, then you are at risk of overloading your body and over stressing it – resulting in injury.

So, how do you gauge what intensity you should train at?

A heart rate monitor is an excellent way to ensure you are training at the right intensity.  If you don’t own one or need a guide, then check out the table below to get familiar with your “rate of perceived exertion”.

Rate of Perceived Exertion

1 Chilling, sitting down, feet up watching a movie 30-40%
2 A walk to the shops to get more popcorn 45-55%
3 A light jog 60-70%
4 A sociable pace, quicker than a job but able to chat 70-75%
5 Comfortable.  Got a good sweat on and you feel great 75-80%
6 Comfortable-ish.  You feel like it’s a good paced run 80-85%
7 Talking getting difficult.  Possible – but not very easy 85-90%
8 Only short answers to important questions possible 90-95%
9 Talking all but impossible 95% +
10 Talking is impossible.  You can only keep this intensity up for 10-15 seconds N/A

Approximate method to work out HRmax – true HRmax vary significantly from runner to runner.

Steady Paced Run (R.P.E. 3-5 or 70-80% HRmax)

A steady pace is just that – a pace which you can maintain for a long time  Steady paced runs will form a large part of your training.  This is the pace you should stick to for all your long weekend runs, as well as a good chunk of your mid-week runs too.  It helps build endurance and encourages the nervous and muscular systems to tolerate long distance running.

As you get fitter, you’ll find that not only will your “steady pace” get faster, but you’ll also be able to maintain that pace for longer without fatigue.

Tempo Paced Run (RPE 5-7 or 80-85% HRmax)

A tempo run is a pace which is a notch or two quicker than a steady pace.  At this intensity, talking is just about possible but you should only be able to manage “short-ish” sentences before need to take a breath.  

Beginners may initially find that a one or two mile tempo run is tough but a conditioned runner may be able to maintain tempo pace for a good eight miles and beyond.  Tempo session are excellent at increasing your tolerance to fatigue and should feature at least once a week in your training schedule.

Fartlek (RPE 6-8 or 85-90+% HRmax)

Fartlek is brilliant training but often underused by marathon runners.  It is based on a steady paced run but interspersed with periods of faster running at random times of your choice.  Vary the distance/time of the fast paced sections of these sessions to mix up the training stimulus and keep you interested.  Suggested times for fast sections can vary from 30 secs at RPE 8-9 to 5 mins at RPE 6-8.

Intervals (RPE 7-9 or 85+% HRmax)

Intervals are very similar to fartlek training. The key difference between them is that they are far more structured.  Interval sessions are excellent at increasing your threshold, thereby teaching the body to tolerate running at faster speeds.


Distance/Time No. of intervals Rest between RPE % Max HR
1 mile 3-5 5-3 mins 6-8 80-90
5 minutes 4-8 1 min 6-7 80-90
800 meters 6-8 3-2 mins 7-8 85-95

As fitness improves – increase intervals, reduce rest time.  RPE will increase towards end of session.

By incorporating all of these training runs into your weekly regime you should be fully prepared for the Run Reigate Half-Marathon or 10K on Sunday 18th September.  To view the full SiS guide, please see

Good luck with your training!


History of the trainer

The Humble Trainer

The humble trainer – where would we runners be without it?  Much to the delight of Run Reigate’s founder Dave Kelly, one of the earliest recordings of organised running dates back to 1829 BC, the Tailteann Games, a sporting festival in Ireland in honour of Tailtiu, the goddess of butter … kidding.  These runners would probably only have had leather or animal strips covering their feet, if anything at all.  Today’s runners have an extensive choice of trainer, depending on their gait, ability and terrain preference.  Here’s more than you’ve ever probably wanted to know about the humble trainer…

Trainers that we know today were originally a British invention (of course), developed in  1832 by a chap called Wait Webster, who designed a process where rubber soles could be attached to leather shoes and boots.  By 1852 the plimsoll was born, widely worn by children.  The term plimsoll comes from the elastic band that joins the upper sole and resembles a “plimsoll line” on a ship’s hull.  Soon croquet and tennis players got in on the act and special soles were designed to provide more grip.  I’ve often had terrible slippage problems whilst playing croquet.  Then another Brit, Joseph William Foster (owner of Boulton which later became Reebok), added spikes to the bottom of the plimmies to make what we now know as running spikes.  

Next up came vulcanisation, a revolution in shoe manufacturing that had nothing to with Spock.  Vulcanisation is the process of melting rubber and fabric together, a mixture that then evolved to create treads and the start of the trainer as we know it – lightweight and flexible.  Goodyear, of tyre fame, started producing these shoes then known as ‘Keds’, in 1892, but it wasn’t until 1917 that they moved into the running field.  

Rudolf and Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler from Germany started making their own shoes in their mother’s wash kitchen, after returning from the First World War and by the Second World War they were selling 200,000 pairs of shoes a year.  Post war they actually used surplus tent canvas and fuel tank rubber – now that’s what we call recycling!  As successful as they were, relationships turned sour during wartime and the brothers parted company, starting their own trainer-battle.  ‘Adi’ started Adidas and Rudolph opened Puma, building factories on opposite sides of the river in their town of Herzogenaurach.  Apparently they never spoke again, which must have made the family bbq’s tedious.

From the 50s onwards, trainers were not just for athletes, as all the cool kids were wearing them too.  “Sneaks” became all the rage, so named because they allowed you to sneak up on someone.  In the 60s Nike was founded in Portland, Oregon.  A combo of Phil Knight, an athlete, and his coach, Bob Bowerman designed a running shoe which was lightweight and comfortable in various running conditions.  They invented the waffle sole, after pouring rubber into a waffle iron… although a great idea, I can’t imagine his wife was best pleased.  NASA also got in on the trainer act, helping Nike develop the first air cushioned sole.

Jogging in the 70s propelled the design of trainers even further as manufacturers developed their comfort and flexibility and recognised the retail potential.  In the years between 1970 and 2012, models of trainers grew from 5 to 3,371.  These days each sport has it’s own preference and style, and in running is then even further subdivided depending on your gait, preferred terrain and running technique.    

With all this choice and modern technology, how do you get the right shoes for you?  We’d recommend a trip to Simply Sports who can help you navigate the spectrum of running shoes and assess your gait and style.  No need to twist my arm to go trainer shopping!  If your shoes are no longer good for clocking up the miles, but are still wearable, there are lots of charities that collect and send them abroad for those in desperate need.  Run Reigate will have a trainer bank on the race day, if you’d like to donate your old ones, even if they’re still moist!

So, that was a brief run through the history of the humble trainer.  A journey entwined with goddesses, croquet, tents, tanks, waffle irons and NASA naturally!

Running Apps

Are You ‘App’y Now?

In the old days people used to pop their trainers on, limber up and head out for a run they’d mapped out.  Many people, like me, will have accidentally run a few extra miles or have included some accidental fartlek training whilst being lost in a dodgy estate with a group of youths watching on in amusement.  Now we have technology.  Clever apps and watches that can track your route through GPS, telling you how fast, far and high you’ve climbed at each mile and offer you coaching advice whilst you do it. We’ve compiled a list of some running apps on the market and what they can do for you: including building post-apocalyptic communities.


New Runner

For those of you who are new to running, there are some great apps that take you from zero to hero.  5K Runner and Couch to 10K, respectively provide 8 and 14 week plans, blending running with walking to help you build up to your first race.  They have integrated Facebook and Twitter communities so you can meet fellow beginners, share your experiences and motivate each other in the first few tough weeks.

In Your Stride is designed to help you prepare for a race.  It creates a training plan based on your current fitness, event distance and target time.  It also adapts as you progress through the plan depending on whether you are exceeding or not meeting your targets.


Experienced Runner

If you are looking for state of the art, there are some great options on the market many of which have features such as GPS, speed and elevation tracking, heart rate monitors, time pacing, friend racing, disco options…  

On Nike+ & Nike Coach it’s easy to see your pace variation throughout and it is compatible with various running watches, meaning you don’t need to take a phone out with you, just synchronise when you get home.  

Map My Run and Runtastic are very similar apps as they both owned by Under Armour.  Runtastic is Google Play’s editor’s choice and features a real voice coach whilst running, personal workout diary, custom made dashboard and training plans.


Community Focused

Strava, originally for cyclists, is now a favourite of runners too, winning the best app at the 2016 Running Awards.  It’s well known for its community feel, as you can join existing challenges and compare your stats with your friends.  It also has personalised coaching, live performance feedback and detailed analysis post run.

RunKeeper has 45 million users worldwide and all the features you would expect.  It’s intuitive, requiring you to input your goals, whether it be to build fitness/stamina, lose weight or increase your speed.  Renowned running coaches then provide advice on how to achieve these goals.  Links with big brands means potential to win kit too – who doesn’t want a free pair of trainers?  


Bored Runner

Zombies, Run!  Am I the only person who had never heard of this app.  Running missions whilst fleeing groaning zombies.  You are always the hero, the faster you run the quieter they become: slow down and you’ll hear them breathing down your neck.  As you run you collect virtual supplies which can then be used at home to build your own post apocalyptic community.  The audio drama feeds in between your own playlist.  That’s a whole new kind of fartlek training.  Imagine the variations you could have: whinging kids, your in-laws, that terrible one-night stand…

If you don’t believe us, check it out here.   You have been warned…

Spotify has introduced a running feature where it reacts to you, matching the speed of your pace to a beat tempo.  Rock My Run also matches your movement to the music it selects for you and has some great playlists to keep you motivated on those longer runs.

So which one are you going to chose to help your Run Reigate half-marathon/10K training?    If you see any of the team sprinting through Reigate High Street screaming that there are zombies chasing them, don’t panic … yet!


Simply Sports Socks

Simply Sports – Planning your run, wholesale.

With every running event you get a build up in excitement and the nearer the day of the run the more the nerves are jangling and the greater need to address those last minute details. Do I need new socks, have I got enough Gels, checking what time must I leave for the tenth time! It’s what we all go through as runners every time. It is the same for us at Simply Sports, with every event we get to enjoy our customer’s feelings and it is a great buzz for all the staff.

However, our preparations start over 9 months earlier when we plan and place orders for the following season. Yes it is that far ahead, 2016 is done and dusted and we are now working on 2017!

Even something as simple as socks are ordered well in advance and might involve a meeting in Munich at the Sports Trade fair, trips to London and Birmingham to see various suppliers, we go through the same process of choosing our socks except that the numbers are slightly bigger and we have to travel a bit further. Oh and once we sign on the dotted line there is no changing our mind, we are committed so have to get it right.

As race day nears, whether it is a local Parkrun or the London Marathon we make sure we monitor on a daily basis our stock of the essentials and with the Run Reigate Half marathon and 10K we have even more focus with the race packs. For Run Reigate the excitement is fantastic, we feel every nerve, every twinge that our customers tell us about and the wonderful community spirit that this event creates, our staff love it and always ask months ahead if they can work during the lead up and on the day of the event.

Afterwards, we take stock, are we happy with our performance, did we enjoy it as much as last year and most importantly how did our customers get on. For weeks afterwards we hear tales of the day, the tough bits the atmosphere and then it is on to the next event.  There is nothing like a great local event and Run Reigate is one of the best in the country, officially one of the best!

Then the phone rings and it is Alex Wilson of Hilly Socks asking to book an appointment to go through our sock requirements for 2017! Now where did I leave that crystal ball?

Adrian Pointer – Simply Sports, Reigate