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.
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?
Although slow and steady sessions are an important part of training, if performed too frequently, low intensity sessions can lead to a training plateau.
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
||HOW YOU FEEL
||% HR MAX
||Chilling, sitting down, feet up watching a movie
||A walk to the shops to get more popcorn
||A light jog
||A sociable pace, quicker than a job but able to chat
||Comfortable. Got a good sweat on and you feel great
||Comfortable-ish. You feel like it’s a good paced run
||Talking getting difficult. Possible – but not very easy
||Only short answers to important questions possible
||Talking all but impossible
||Talking is impossible. You can only keep this intensity up for 10-15 seconds
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.
||No. of intervals
||% Max HR
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 http://www.scienceinsport.com/marathon-training-guide.
Good luck with your training!