Picking up the pace for your next race

Are you wanting to achieve a new PB at your next race and unsure on how to achieve this?
A year ago, I would have laughed if I’d seen what my PB’s now are written down on paper. I certainly didn’t think I could get much faster and always wondered how I would be able to hit some of the times I’ve been able to achieve this year.
2017, has been a pretty impressive year for me and I’m certainly very happy that I’ve been able to PB at every distance so far!

I’ve certainly learnt a lot over recent months so thought I would share with you some top tips and some of the things you should be doing if you are wanting to get – #StrongerFitterFaster…
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Speed Work

I used to hate speed sessions and would always avoid interval training, taking the easy option and go for an easy run instead. However, you should be including at least one or two speed sessions a week into your training schedule.
For example, intervals work well, find a spot which has a 400m stretch and put in maximum effort for that distance. Take a breather period of around 90 seconds and repeat this 6 – 12 times. Set the repetitions before you go out and don’t quit early because you feel tired. You’ll get the most benefit from those tough hard reps!
Also, running small segments at your target race pace will help your legs get used to the speed and cadence they will be running at during the race.
An example session would be 4 x 5 mins at your target race pace. Make sure you do a warm up and cool down either side of the session and include a 60-90 second recovery between each set. These sessions should hurt!
I often fear these runs, but you get such an awesome feeling once they’re done.

Cross Training

Don’t rely only on running to improve fitness. Try out a new fitness class, spinning, body pump or circuits. It’s good to break up your routine and train as a group. Cross training also helps to prevent injury and keeps you active on non-running days.
I also find it will help to keep you motivated and split up the training week. Do some research on what’s out there in the local area and take a friend. You’re more likely to commit to something if you go with someone else and will help if you’re a bit apprehensive of turning up to something new on your own.
Appoint a Personal Trainer to help show you what to do in the gym and help put a programme together for you to complete on your own. I have clients who are runners and come to me every 3 – 4 weeks. They learn new exercises, I help to correct technique and they then go off and complete sessions on their own. Regular sessions helps with motivation and the education side of why they’re performing movements and how it will benefit them.

Strength & Core Work

Strength and core work builds a solid foundation for runners and should be as important in your running routine as your training runs.
This type of work helps to build strength in your muscles and also improves posture which in turn enhances running efficiency. It’s also another way to prevent injury!
Focus on strength in your legs, hips and glutes. Glute strength helps to take on those dreaded hills. Leg and hip mobility and strength will help in the later stages of a race.
I would recommend at least 1 session a week in the gym or 2 x smaller sessions at home. Again, if you’re unsure on where to start, a class is always a good building block.
At the moment, I run a weekly Core session at Medbourne Pavilion if you are interested in coming along:  https://cleancoachkatie.com/fitness-classes/

Run Faster

I know it seems like it’s obvious, but it’s true. You will have to be prepared to push yourself out of your comfort zone on training runs. Some won’t be easy or pretty, but these runs will be part of the special formula to getting that PB on race day.
For a while, I used to run with others, making runs a social occasion. But I’ve learnt that some sessions I have to complete on my own to get the results I want. The easier runs are where I can go out with the club, either long runs or recovery runs.
Another way is to analyse your heart rate during runs. See what it is and what level you’re pushing yourself to. Be mindful that some watch strap HR monitors aren’t that accurate. On some runs I should be ‘dead’ according to my HR level haha! I’ve recently tried a waist HR monitor which has been far more accurate.
I often feel sorry for those around me during the later stage of races, I feel like I sound like Darth Vader. A real tell-tale sign that I’m really pushing myself.

FullSizeRender 9Structure Your Training

Having a training plan with structure means your training will have a purpose, rather than lacing up and heading out the door and completing a run for the sake of it.
The plan needs to be progressive and each run should help you get from one run to the next. Don’t go out doing what they call ‘junk’ miles. Ensure your training cycle is built leading up to your target race.
Your plan should also be tailored and personal to you and your lifestyle. Not everyone can run the same each week due to work and other family commitments.  People often train at different mileage levels dependent on the time they can commit each week. Some ‘cookie cutter’ plans online aren’t always beneficial to people because of these reasons.
Having a plan also helps to keep you focused and motivated. You’re more likely to stick to a consistent routine if you have a plan written down. It takes the hassle out of thinking what you have to do if the plan is set.
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Have Confidence & a Positive Mindset

A key component to getting faster and one I am still trying to master 😉
If you think negatively, then you won’t be able to achieve the pace you want. However, if you tell yourself you will get faster, then you will. Having the confidence behind you will help to progress further.
Ever remember a time where you’ve had a great run, and then then next is just as good and this pattern continues? Well this is confidence! Believe in yourself and you’re more likely to succeed.
It’s not an easy thing to do, but I try to be as positive as can be in every situation. If you’re in a good mindset before you leave the front door for a run, it’s more than likely going to turn in a great run!

Get a Coach

Having someone behind you to:

  • Motivate you
  • Inspire you
  • Encourage you
  • Be held accountable to…

will mean you are more than likely to get the results you want.
Yes, I am a Personal Trainer and Coach myself, but I also have a Coach. It means that I don’t have to think about my own training plan and someone to push me further than I would do myself.
If I didn’t have a plan and someone to report back to, I know on more than one occasion recently, I would have given up during some runs and had a rest day when I shouldn’t have. But with recent training, I’ve stuck to the plan, almost to the letter and my recent results have proved that having my own coach is one of the best decisions I’ve made for my own training.
I hope that you found some of these tips useful and can put them into your own training to help you get that new PB!
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For more information on running training plans: https://cleancoachkatie.com/running-training-plans-2/ or email cleancoachkatie@gmail.com for package information.